In a men’s world, they said ‘I can do it’
To celebrate the month that honors the women, we talked to some of them who are involved in the gaming industry in Romania. They opened their hearts and told us how is it to build your career in a world that is seemingly meant for men only, spoke about their activity, sacrifice and satisfaction. The ladies who so graciously answered to our questions were Andreea Ion – Protocol & Marketing Manager at Casino Metropolis Bucharest, Cristina Bădoi – Sales Manager Newton Slots, Leliana Pârvulescu – Doctor Psychologist, Andreea Tobă – S.C Intergame Select S.R. L. and Gabriela Manu – Baum Games representative.
Let’s now start with a question specific to the month of March, the month of women. What are you special desire for this time of yours?
Andreea Ion: The exact thing I wish to any woman: happiness. A relative concept for each of us, happiness is our goal in life.
Cristina Bădoi: First of all, I would like to thank you for the invitation to answer to your questions.
As for the question, I want to be joyous about the privilege of being a woman…. And because I love spring and this season starts with the month of women, I want myself be in good health and fully enjoy this beautiful time of the year.
Leliana Pârvulescu: I just love this season. It is like a rebirth every year. A lot of sun, flowers, mild wind breeze and a fairy-tale ambience. I wish I can smile every day, to see happy people around me, so I can send them my positive energy.
Gabriela Manu: I wish we all have a beautiful spring. Some warmth, not only for the nature, but also for our souls. To love each other and to respect. And one more thing: to enjoy the most important things in life all the time, the health and love of our closed ones.
How is it for a woman to be involved in a sector that seemingly should be handled by strong males?
Andreea Ion: A challenge, an extra reason to improve myself all the time, to learn, to fight.
Cristina Bădoi: Along my career, I held certain management positions in areas that were meant to men, exclusively. The most recent was General Director of SC SIRV TITU, a railway car repair company, a position that is taken by men at the national level…So, I am used to it. I like being challenged and I have proven that women can fill in any position as well as men, iff they handle it with great seriousness and professionalism.
Leliana Pârvulescu: It is a demanding situation. I am not even thinking that I should prove something in a men’s world as a woman. And I never had the feeling of having been discriminated. Everything is about to succeed to learn respect and admiration for your work, seriousness, involvement and professional training.
Andreea Tobă: It is not a surprise that this sector attracts more men, in various positions: leaders, employees, clients. While this branch is becoming stronger, we will see more ladies/women who will have a say-so. A clear example would be Mrs. Michelle Cummins.
Gabriela Manu: Sincerely, I don’t have a clear idea about other fields, I have been in gaming for so long. I practically grew up here. A woman can find her place anywhere, provided she wants that. It is not the field, but motivation and the pleasure to work matter. We should not turn into men to have good results. I know a good number of competitive women in difficult management positions. Even at our company, some of my colleagues fill in management position and their results are as good, if not better, as their male counterparts’.
Why did you choose this line of work? What was the reason behind it?
Andreea Ion: I am here thanks to Mr. Nicu Lascu, General Manager, who believed in me, granted me trust and gave me the opportunity to work with a team of professionals in gambling.
Cristina Bădoi: I did not choose a certain activity, but I can confess that I love the production. This is where I started after I had met Dragos Buriu, through a mutual friend. Even though he was at a young age, he was a serious, intelligent and perfectionist. I admit had no much information about this sector but now I find it captivating and always developing.
Leliana Pârvulescu: Because this is an extremely interesting. First, the professional motivation, then because I am an expert in studying the human behavior and everything that is related to behavior in a certain circumstance fascinates me. The atmosphere in the gaming rooms is one of the most challenging. It involves most emotions that a person goes through, from ecstasy to enjoyment, to confrontation, etc. And for a psychologist, what can be more exciting? Second, I met two wonderful people, Mr. Liviu Popovici with Romanian Bookmakers and Mr. Dan Iliovici from Romslot, with whom I started working on the ‘Responsible Gaming’ project that promotes the responsibility in gambling.
Andreea Tobă: The gambling industry is veiled in a mystery that people in all the social strata feel attracted to. While some of them satisfy their curiosity by crossing the threshold of a casino or a gambling room to play, I started working here, in this sector that initially intrigued me.
Gabriela Manu: The choice is not mine, it was my husband’s, twenty years ago, when we brought the first slots from Austria. At the beginning, it was a little strange, but now I like it…really like it. I cannot see myself doing something else.
How did the perception of the women involved in specific male activities change after the 1989?
Andreea Ion: It definitely changed, and it is absolutely justified by the fact that we have proved to be as strong, skilled and a reliable partner as them.
Cristina Bădoi: From my experience, I can tell you that Romania has changed its opinion about the business woman. I really believe that our results are given credits to and the difference between the male and female manager no longer exists.
Leliana Pârvulescu: I could say that, slowly but surely, the society got used to the idea that a woman can do exactly what a man does, that she can work side by side with him and that her involvement in these male activities is even beneficial. Of course, there is a switch in the roles, unimaginable 20 years ago. There are home-stay fathers and their wife works on a construction site, strongly managing an entire team of workers. Or families where the wife is the only bread winner. But this discussion needs more time…maybe on a different occasion, different topic.
Andreea Tobă: It is true that a woman’s voice takes longer to be heard. But since we have successful female entrepreneurs, women filling top management positions within prestigious companies, I want to believe that the woman will not be any longer perceived as only wife, mother or housewife.
Gabriela Manu: I would say that it changed to the best. I cannot believe that people still look at the gender of somebody, if they are professionals in their business. This belongs to the past, or at least this is what I want to think.
What are the men’s reactions when they meet a lady or a woman who works in the gaming industry in Romania?
Andreea Ion: With no modesty, I think they have liked it, so far
Cristina Bădoi: I participated in some meetings and exhibitions and, yes, the female presence is small when it comes to the management positions in this line of business. The reactions are positive, I personally never encountered any hostility; on the contrary, I received appreciation.
Leliana Pârvulescu: There are mixed reactions. Sometimes it is trust and admiration, other times curiosity and lack of trust. But I really think that this is the usual combination where male employees are majority. I never had the feeling of being rejected, but I enjoyed understanding and cooperation.
Andreea Tobă: It is more a question to be asked to a man…but I think it depends on the context. I never had any negative reactions.
Gabriela Manu: Mixed: some take me seriously, some take their time for that. I am patient with the latter category and we eventually get along.
How much sacrifice is involved in the gambling business work?
Andreea Ion: I would not call it sacrifice, would not go that far. I love what I do. If some compromise is required along the line, I would strictly refer to the non-stop schedule of a casino that is open 24/7.
Cristina Bădoi: This business demands a lot from you, it is non-stop. As in other field, performance asks for efforts, namely sacrifice. At a personal level, I reproach myself with spending too little time with my son.
Leliana Pârvulescu: I could not say that it involves more sacrifice than any other business where you do your job gladly, professionally and with commitment. I am very much attracted by this line of work, as I said before, and I love being involved pretty much in everything related to gambling.
Andreea Tobă: As in any business, this one also involves dedication – sacrifice is not a correct label.
Gabriela Manu: Sacrifice is usually connected to the business dynamics. There are longer working days, travelling, deadlines, etc. I am lucky that my husband understands it, maybe because he is more involved than I am.
What are the biggest satisfactions in your business?
Andreea Ion: In February 2012, Casino Metropolis Bucharest opened for the business. We turned one year together, we went through hard times and also beautiful ones. I have the satisfaction that we are the first ones on an extremely difficult market.
Cristina Bădoi: The biggest satisfaction I have when I client to whom we have sold a part of our products comes back with new orders and become a regular client. This means that we fulfilled all his exigencies.
Leliana Pârvulescu: Satisfactions …galore! I have the opportunity to do my job in a special environment and, along with my co-workers, I am glad that whenever a person, either a player, a worker, equipment owner who encounters problems or unpleasant issues, succeeds when he finds out everything he needs and manages to overcome the situation. Gambling is a pleasure, relaxing activity, similar with drinking a cup of coffee with a friend or playing ninepins, etc. I feel satisfied when gambling image is getting better, to which I have brought my contribution. Equally, the ‘Responsible Gaming’ project gives me pleasure when I see the results of awareness in gambling.
Andreea Tobă: The greatest satisfaction is when your ideas are turned into successful projects.
Gabriela Manu: Satisfaction happens when I see that our slot ‘Dracula’s Games’ is more and more appreciated. I feel the best when a client who has bought our product, comes back with a new order. The satisfaction of our clients is a top priority for us, Baum Games is in fact our partner, is a value that we promote in everything we are doing.
How do you see the future of the gaming industry in Romania and what are your complaints?
Andreea Ion: We need support, an optimum legislation for the development.
Cristina Bădoi: What makes me happy is that the people in the gaming industry in Romania have understood that it is the player whose needs must be satisfied. To this end, it is necessary to have modern rooms, gaming means be qualitatively superior and the software originality is mandatory. As in any business in Romania, legislation is lagging behind and leaves room for interpretation.
Similarly, the people involves, organizers and authorities, need to take a correct stand against those in the underground market. This was one of the most heated topics to be discussed at the Romanian Gambling Conference you have organized.
I hope to see things going on the right track and being perceived as entertainment and pastime.
Leliana Pârvulescu: It will surely develop more, it will be better regulated by objective laws and it will have an image that is closer to what would help the Romanian economy. What dissatisfies me is the image that is going towards negativism provided by the mass-media or by so-called specialists who have no clue about it and yet they are in a hurry to give their opinions.
Andreea Tobă: When the authorities set a legal framework meant for support, and the economic situation will show signs of improvement, the gambling industry will be stable.
Gabriela Manu: The ‘land-based’ gaming, as called in the industry, witnesses an interesting dynamics, and this is not solely in Romania. One of the reasons would be the legal changes in the sight. Another one would be the eGaming development; the online version has surged in the last years from a niche has reached now, legally or not, the status of ‘senior’ in the gambling industry. There is still a natural dynamics of any industry, which opens new opportunities. I believe that in this industry the ambience in the gambling room is important and impossible to recreate in an informatics environment. Where would be the pleasure, then?
What do you think about the fact that our publication will have the March issue dedicated to the women?
Andreea Ion: This is the month when everyone spoils us. It is an extra pleasure, a wonderful idea. Thank you!
Cristina Bădoi: It makes me happy when I see that the competitive women are featured in publications about science, business, education, not only on beauty and fashion.
Leliana Pârvulescu: It is a reason for joy. We, the women, are important as lovers, wives, mothers, friends. And I think that we deserve the attention of the people around us. A whole issue of a publication, exclusively dedicated to the women is a wonderful gift for the month of March, for the female readers, on whom name and behalf I thank you.
Andreea Tobă: It is a pleasant surprise. I am looking forward to read it and I know I am not the only voice.
Gabriela Manu: It is a very nice thing. But I prefer that the women in Romania, either mothers, wives, friends, co-workers be celebrated (I mean appreciated and respected) a little every day, not only on March 8.
What do you think about the Romanian Gambling Conference, the international annual event that was initiated and organized by our publication? How opportune and beneficial seems this conference in the blurry context of gambling in Romania?
Andreea Ion: An event like this should draw together both sides: the people in this industry and the ones with the rules, to have a flexibility that will help with the market regulation.
Cristina Bădoi: It is the first conference like this I participated in. The topics and discussions were in full agreement with the issues that the people in gambling are facing. I do not have a direct involvement in the exploitation of gambling, but as a manufacturer I need to keep myself abreast with everything going on. We also help our clients with counseling in what related legislation is about and, hence, we should be very informed.
What I did not like about this Conference was the absence of the Department of Finance, as well as the representatives of the gambling companies, the ones who should have come to talk and do something concrete in order to facilitate their activity. The date chosen for this conference maybe is not the best. In my opinion, to make sure that the participation will be large, I would suggest to have it on one of the days when the E-Arena gaming exhibition takes place, i.e. every September.
Leliana Pârvulescu: It seems to me a welcome event, as all the interested people can receive the necessary information for the optimum development of their activities. I would like to congratulate you for initiative and perseverance. I know that the associations I work for, Romanian Boomakers and Romslot, which promote the ‘Responsible Gaming’ project, this event has been an opportunity to introduce their exceptional project.
Andreea Tobă: It is an initiative worthy to be praised. I hope that the number of participants will go higher in the future. A real dialogue between the operators and authorities is a must. The exchange of opinions would only be beneficial for both sides.
Gabriela Manu: I am glad that our publication has this initiative. The meeting of the entire industry is not only opportune but also necessary at this time. I hope that our next edition will gather together more participants from both sides. This is the only way we advocate for a clear, applicable and fair law that will regulate our activity.
Can a woman balance her work and family and have it all work well? What is the secret behind this success?
Andreea Ion: We both work in this business, we understand and support each other.
Cristina Bădoi: Of course yes. The woman involved in business, a career woman is not a rare bird any longer. The same thing with the man helping with the housework. So…if you really want to achieve something, you will always find time and resources for it. It is all about determination and organization.
Leliana Pârvulescu: Of course. Success comes from a good organization
It is important to do in such a way that you spend time with your family, friends, yourself, to always put yourself in an optimistic and positive state of mind. And you should concentrate and do everything with professionalism. When you are at work, be efficient, do not waste yourself into details outside your business. And when you go home, leave your files at work, do not take them with you. A good separation will make things work perfectly.
Andreea Tobă: I do not think there is a magic recipe. A compromise will always be made. There is a time when the balance is tipping towards the career, but the priorities can change in time. I think that you should do each thing at the right time, to feel all satisfied.
Gabriela Manu: Perfect? No. Very good? Yes. This is something we learn along the way, but not impossible to achieve. Ingredients: goodwill on our part and understanding from our family. I know I am lucky, as I have them both.
Any thoughts for the Romanian women on their happy day?
Andreea Ion: To enjoy everything they love every day!
Cristina Bădoi: I advise them to do all their best for their happiness every day!
‘Happy many days!’
Leliana Pârvulescu: I wish them to smile anytime they can and be proud that are Romanian women. There is a saying – ‘the women in Romania are very beautiful, smart and extremely affectionate.’
Andreea Tobă: Stay beautiful, be ambitious and young at heart!
Gabriela Manu: Happiness, good health, love and smiles with their families, every day or, why not, every second of their life.