Lyubomira Petrova is a Chief Marketing Officer at UltraPlay, Bulgaria, who tells us that she did not choose her career because the career chose her. According to Lyubomira, one of the most important characteristics of a successful Chief Marketing Officer is adaptability, because it is at the heart of the company’s successful story.

Let’s meet Lyubomira Petrova, a Chief Marketing Officer who has been working at UltraPlay for more than 4 years. Lyubomira shared with us that she hasn’t chosen her career simply because her career chose her. During her 3rd year at university, while obtaining her bachelor degree in Media and Journalism she gained a lot of professional experience. Then she was introduced to the Public Relations niche which caught her interest. Right after university, Lyubomira started working as a PR specialist in the gaming industry and 8 years later she is still in the industry, with grown expertise as a marketing professional. She says that one crucial characteristic of a successful Chief Marketing Officer is adaptiveness because being adaptive is at the heart of every success story in a company. She also added that we need to be ready to step out of our comfort zone and take on new challenges. As a marketer in a leading IT and iGaming company such as UltraPlay, Lyubomira shares that the sources she follows are a lot. On one hand, she needs to stay on top of the marketing trends that are extremely dynamic. On the other hand, the iGaming and IT industries are also at a fast pace of development especially now. Lyubomira also adds that in the IT industry, innovation is strongly present in product development and implementation. This requires every professional to follow the innovative approach in presenting their message to the company’s target audiences. Lyubomira thinks that the problem of gender inequality is still relevant in Bulgaria and globally, however, she is also optimistic about the change which is happening with every single initiative or discussion on this topic. Lyubomira is currently participating in several initiatives in the industry, such as Global Gaming Women, All-in-Diversity. She recently talked in a Diversity and Inclusion discussion panel that happened on International Women’s Day this year. Lyubomira strongly believes that everyone is capable of achieving a positive change in society or in its own world, by doing things wholeheartedly.

“Being adaptive is at the heart of every successful story in a company.”

Favourite clothes?

Business casual.

High heels or flat shoes?

Depends on the occasion.

What is THE thing that you must have in your bag when going out?

My cell phone.

Can you share something specific about you that we can’t find on LinkedIn?

I used to play volleyball for over 10 years. I have been a team captain of my hometown volleyball team during high school and enjoyed this period of my life wholeheartedly. I have always been a sports person. Now, this once semi-professional hobby of mine turns into long hours of playing volleyball on the beach during summertime.

Have you encountered any challenges in your career in connection to being a woman?

On the opposite. I have been lucky to start my career and be mentored by women leaders, but still, I find that men have always been the supporting and uplifting part of my career development. This is also the case in my current position at UltraPlay. I have been with the company for over 4 years and I grew a lot both personally and professionally. A great part of my journey goes to the
Founder and the CEO of UltraPlay who believed in me in the first place and have given me so many different projects to express my knowledge and skills. Even though the gambling industry I have been in from the very beginning of my career up until now can be described as a masculine one, it has changed a lot in the past few years. Now, we see many women leaders in the C-level positions and in the Board of Directors who lead their companies to new heights and set standards in our industry. I believe it is
a matter of your skills and knowledge that can describe who you are as a professional and a leader, not your gender.

Do you know how many women work in your position?

Generally, I believe positions don’t matter that much. What’s more important is the real voice that these professionals have in their position. A leader could be anyone in a business organization who is aligned with its mission and vision and leads the way to his or her colleagues. Any contribution to the company’s culture and well-being can be appreciated by the team and placed into the success story of the business.

Do you think that the problem of gender inequality is still relevant in Bulgaria and globally?

Yes, I do, unfortunately. But I am also optimistic about the change which is happening with every single initiative or discussion about this topic. I am participating in several initiatives in our industry, such as Global Gaming Women, All-in-Diversity, and recently talked in a Diversity and Inclusion discussion panel, organized by Hipther Agency, that happened on International Women’s Day this year. I am privileged to have this opportunity to meet and discuss these issues with like-minded people, but we have to remember that we are there, because someone else couldn’t, and we have to talk on their behalf. So, I am also grateful for you asking me this question as it means there are still things to be done, and we have the platform to discuss them. As Melinda Gates said in the Unlocking Us podcast by Brene Brown:

“If we accelerate women in these key industries, we can absolutely change society:

  • Finance power and influence
  • Tech shaping our future
  • Politics shaping policy
  • Media the storytellers”

Which policies does your company encourage regarding gender diversity?

For UltraPlay’s understanding being diverse means recognizing, valuing, and taking account of people’s different backgrounds, knowledge, skills, and experiences. It is also about using those differences to create cohesion and an effective workforce. At UltraPlay we make sure each and every person at the company is supported no matter the background, which also reflects in how people do their job, what is their commitment to the company’s business, to our clients, and the internal initiatives we regularly do. We constantly support a wide variety of initiatives, but I must say that we have been enlarging our commitment to the Corporate Social Responsibility program of the company field in the last year.

Do your male colleagues treat you differently?

Well, yes, but in a positive way. Let’s say they don’t allow me to lift heavy suitcases, which is very appreciated from my side. We used to travel a lot for industry’s exhibitions and conferences all around the world with long flights, changing flights. I am thankful for having amazing colleagues who do the heavy work. 🙂

Do you think that a woman’s appearance and charm affect their professional success? (example: does it makе communication easier?)

Yes, but I believe that a man’s vision and charm affect his professional success. This is a very special trait of the people who achieve their goals in general. Charismatic people have something in common for sure – they communicate more easily and effectively.

How do you combine personal and professional life? Do you have any rules that you follow?

One year ago I would have probably had a better answer to give you. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and the total transformation of our everyday life such as working from home, shopping from home, educating children at home, socializing at home, and so on and so forth, I would say that we have been put in a challenging position simply as individuals. If there is one rule I continue to follow, that is keeping my schedule on paper. This gives me better structure and organization of my daily and weekly priority tasks in both fields.

Read More Inspiring Stories for Women in Tech in WRTech here.

Which sources do you follow and can you recommend some of them to our audience? (example: podcasts, pages, influencers, vloggers, etc.).

As a marketer in a leading IT and iGaming company such as UltraPlay, the sources I follow are a lot. On one hand, I need to stay on top of the marketing trends that are so dynamic. On the other hand, the iGaming and IT industries are also at a fast pace of development especially now. COVID-19 truly accelerated the digital transformation in terms of how we spend our time as individuals and professionals. This situation also opened so many new channels for us to stay connected, to have new resources of information, and to share knowledge and experience with one another. But let’s mark a few sources that give me inspiration in both spheres: The Akimbo podcast by Seth Godin. Each episode tells a story of a person, a business, a customer, or a certain moment in time and breaks down the lessons into how we (and our products) connect to people. Brene Brown’s “Unlocking us” and “Dare to Lead”, as well as Simon Sinek’s “A bit of Optimism” – check them out. I do follow a lot of media in the iGaming industry such as iGaming Business, as well as their podcast, which will be supported by UltraPlay throughout 2021. Asia Gaming Brief has a strong focus on the Asian market and its developments in terms of gambling regulations, eSports developments, and last but not least is a long-term partner of UltraPlay. In terms of the IT industry, I am following the trends concerning the employer branding sphere, so I follow the leading media channels covering this sector in Bulgaria – DevStyler, Dev.bg, HiComm, and many others.

What are the most important characteristics of a successful Chief Marketing Officer?

If there is one thing to mention, this should be adaptiveness. We have all experienced the global pandemic, and we still have to think about new ways to engage with our customers. I believe every business had its own challenges to overcome in the past year. Being adaptive is at the heart of every success story in a company. Let’s just give you an example from my current role. For a long period of time, we planned our marketing activities around the industry’s exhibitions and events as they were mainly filling our sales pipeline. This is not the case now, as there are no face-to-face events for over a year now. In order to overcome these challenges, we dived deep into the online channels our target audiences now visit and use on a regular basis. By knowing who your customers are, what they need at the moment, and how we can actually answer their requirements and support their businesses, we can both answer our challenges – theirs as our clients, and ours as a business. You also need to be ready to step out of your comfort zone and take on new challenges. I say this from personal experience, due to the fact that three years ago I started as a PR specialist at UltraPlay and became the head of the marketing department at the company. And you really have to love your job, take responsibility for the processes, your team, and the results you are gaining.

What made you choose to develop a career in the IT industry?

As there is a saying – it chooses me. Up until my 3rd year in the university, studying Media and Journalism, I experienced the Journalist profession in several national media, and also being an editor in the University newspaper. It was an exciting time. Then I was introduced to Public Relations and it caught my greatest attention. It’s the moment I decided this is going to be my thing. Right after university, I started as a PR specialist in the gaming industry and 8 years later I am still in the industry, with grown expertise as a Marketing professional. It’s always been my thing to communicate, build brands, promote key messages to target audiences, and have an interest in the tech side of things. The IT industry is dynamic, exciting and it offers many challenges in terms of building a strong employer branding that attracts the company’s talents.

What are the things that inspire you the most personally and professionally?

Making an impact with your work and the relations one can make in a company or industry. I strongly believe that anyone is capable of achieving a positive change in society or in its own world, by doing things wholeheartedly.

What are the main things that differentiate the classic PR and Marketing from the PR and Marketing related to the tech field?

In my opinion, there are two areas in which marketing is established as a leading factor in an organization. On one hand, creating and positioning the company’s products and services in order to establish the brand as reliable and competitive. In the IT industry, innovation is strongly present in product development and implementation. This requires us to follow the innovative approach in presenting the messages to the company’s target audiences. On the other hand, employer branding is essential in our work. The industry is very competitive in terms of reaching out to the talents a company wants and needs. I believe that people today choose their next career according to the spirit, culture, and development opportunities that a company offers. In this regard, successful employer branding is among the main priorities of marketing and HR professionals in an IT organization.

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