Our Meet the Hiring Manager series lets you know the people who grow teams at VMware. You’ll learn about our hiring managers’ career paths and what they look for in candidates during the interview process. This week we’d like you to meet Desi Stoimenova, Senior Finance Manager and Stanislav Ivanov, Senior Finance Manager, AMER GEO.
The teams that Desi and Stan lead are both part of Customer Operations Finance. However, the people on their teams are not the standard Finance professionals most people think of – the ones who always want to cut spending and point out policy violations. Instead, they aim to be trusted advisors to their GTM business partners in helping them make informed decisions about accelerating VMware’s success in the market.
In the Sofia Sales Finance community, they pride themselves on being positive agents of change who thrive on complex challenges and get energized to find solutions for our business stakeholders and their customers. They respectfully celebrate their successes, take accountability, learn from their mistakes, and ultimately have fun.
What is your team’s most exciting project?
It is an exciting time to be in VMware Finance right now. The company’s SaaS transformation journey is on its way. This gives us the unique opportunity to take an active role in implementing a new business model and all related metrics. There is a lot of focus and learning around ARR (annual recurring revenue), gross retention & net expansion, in-quarter renewal, new customer count, etc. It is a collaborative endeavor, and we work together with teams on a global scale – from Palo Alto to Paris to Bangalore to Sydney.
Going through change also means scenario modeling – building a picture with numbers of what the future holds. This is indeed one of the most exciting aspects of our job, what we love most about Finance.
If you can use one to three words to describe your team, what would they be?
Smart, Driven, Team players ready to go the extra mile.
Share some interesting details about your colleagues?
It is a diverse crowd of over 60 people in our Sofia FP&A community. Some of our non-work-related interests might come surprisingly. Among us, we have an amateur chef, a Chinese martial arts expert, a former national women’s football team player, a few singers, many gamers, DIY experts, a carpenter, a yoga teacher and several marathon runners. During the pandemic, we started a few clubs. Our book club is still running every month, with new members always joining us.
Tell us about your career journey to date?
Stan: I started my career in Audit and have gone through various Finance roles – from internal Audit and internal controls to financial controlling and now FP&A. I have gained this experience in diverse industries– public utilities, manufacturing, media, retail, and FMCG. My VMware journey started over 2 years ago and has been the most dynamic and exciting phase of my career to date. I feel privileged to lead a great team of professionals and have the opportunity to learn from an amazing group of peers and senior leaders.
Desi: I’ve always enjoyed numbers and solving problems. So, quite naturally and with a bit of chance, that led me to a career in Finance. My career started in banking; it was an interesting experience for a young professional, being in an established multinational corporation, but not really my environment.
From there, I moved to an FMCG company where I was the finance business partner for several operations functions. This is where I found my passion for finding solutions for my business partners’ problems, challenging the status quo and how things have always been done. I really pride myself on being called creative in how Finance supports the business. On the fun side, I also got the chance to work in both an Ice Cream and a Chocolate factory which I am sure many kids would envy.
Almost four years ago, I started my VMware journey. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The colleagues, the challenges we solve, and the environment are invigorating. There are always opportunities to learn new things, make a difference and create positive change.
How is VMware different from any other tech company you have previously worked for?
Stan: I haven’t really worked for another tech company before, but I can certainly see how VMware is different from any other company I have worked for. What makes VMware a great place to work and grow is the very tangible, actionable way the company manifests its core values. Everyone at VMware is supported to put their best foot forward in making an impact for the greater good of communities, the environment and the world. We have recently seen great examples of putting the service learning program into action – the immense support for Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria, the various Christmas initiatives supporting vulnerable social groups and communities, and long-standing support for local animal rescue and various charitable organizations, to name just a few.
Desi: Similar to Stan, VMware is the first tech company on my resume. I can totally agree with everything he mentions. What I enjoy about the company is how approachable everyone is, even at the executive level. I love that you can come to work in jeans and a t-shirt daily.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learned as you moved upwards in your career?
Stan: Be proactive in seeking and creating opportunities but stay true to yourself. If you have to compromise with who you are to get somewhere, then this is likely not where you want to be. So be genuine, stay authentic – with almost complete certainty, this is the best version of yourself.
Desi: Don’t be afraid to ask for more but stay humble and grounded. It is great to have a plan but stay open for the unexpected opportunities that come along the way.
If someone reading this was coming to interview with you tomorrow, what interview tips would you give them?
Stan: Know who we are and why you want to be part of this great team. Back to my biggest lesson – be genuine. We know nobody is perfect and we all do not have an answer or make mistakes. But we genuinely value integrity and a growth mindset – own your mistakes, fail fast and learn from experience – this is how we all grow. And yes, be prepared to solve a work sample simulation and present your solution during the interview – this is a great chance for you to get a feeling of what it is you will be doing in the role you are applying for.