Meet Mariya, our Senior People Operations Manager in Bulgaria

Our People and Culture team is dedicated to growing the Tide team and ensuring our Tideans have the best environment and tools to evolve and develop in their careers. We’d love for you to meet the people behind the People and Culture team– so here’s our Senior People Operations Manager in Bulgaria: Mariya!

👋 Hey Mariya, great to chat with you today! Can you introduce yourself in a few sentences and share a little bit about your background?

👋 Hi! I am Mariya Kaya, Senior People Operations Manager and the first Tidean in Sofia.
It has been two decades since I entered the People Administration and Company Operations field. My superpower is multi-multi-multi-tasking 😊 and I really love to be the one who makes things happen.

Before that, back in 2000, when I was just a teenager coming out of school, I was sent to Greece as the first ever European Volunteer from Bulgaria! They called me… the test subject! There I managed to learn the language in two months and I fell in love with travelling. I spent the following 6 years roaming around until I decided it was finally time to settle down. I found a 9 to 5 job in a big consulting group and that’s where it all started. 🚀

It’s an honour to meet Bulgaria’s first Tidean! ⭐ That must have been an amazing challenge! It has been 4 years since then, tell us how have you crossed paths with us?

In my previous job I mostly worked with banks and financial institutions, so when my employer was forced to change its business direction as a result of market conditions, I started to look for new opportunities in the financial sector. It was a tricky moment in my life but I realised that’s when I realised that my interest in tech was a strength. So when I saw a job opening in a Fintech company it all came together. It sounded like exactly the right role for me: the mission was to manage and coordinate the establishment of a branch of a UK company in Bulgaria. On top of that, I immediately fell in love with the mission – helping people [entrepreneurs] do what they love. After a couple of on-line interviews I was ready to deep dive. 

Our Sofia office now counts 300+ employees! 🔥 Can you imagine?! We are not a Start-up anymore. This phase is behind us. Tide has landed in India as well and has contractors all over the world. 

And I am really proud of what we have accomplished with the People Team. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be so successful and I wouldn’t have survived this challenge. We are supporting each other thus creating an excellent company. We are friends. 💙

The team at our Sofia Christmas party

You are considered a Tide Oracle within the Sofia team. How would you describe your role to someone who isn’t familiar with it? 

😍 Oh, yes! We should change our team’s name to Tide Oracles!
So, there it is: I am managing all office facilities and the administration of the branch. This is a multidisciplinary responsibility and it includes tons of communication with suppliers, vendors, building managers and our own employees. Operative finances and payroll are also on my task list. There is a lot of talking, fast decision making, walking around etc. 

I know everyone. We are like human search engines. Virtually, for 4 years I haven’t seen an instance when our team was not able to answer a request or solve an issue.

What does your typical work day look like, then?

I start early in the morning, checking my calendar and answering Slack messages while I drink my coffee and do my make-up 😊. Leading several conversations simultaneously is not uncommon. There’s always something urgent to do, so prioritising is my saviour. 

We know you are very active in our internal volunteer organisation called the Culture Club. Tell us more about it!

The team at our Sofia Summer party

We are a group of like-minded people from across the organisation and our mission is to provide emotional support for our community. The last couple of years were really tough and the isolation got the better of most of us. So, once a month we get our heads together to organise activities with charities, games, quizzes, office meetups (whenever possible), challenges and cultural activities. We found a way to make all of this happen online. Happily some of the action is now slowly returning to the office and Tideans once again meet in person. And as you know – our hybrid policy enables us to work outside the office so everyone can choose whether to join or not. 

What is your secret to managing it all? 

Never leave a message unanswered and always carry a notebook! ☝

What’s something that happened recently at Tide that made you smile?

I received a really touching thank you email from a colleague who had accidentally caused a mess with some work-related files which then took hours to fix. It made me smile, because it takes courage to admit a mistake and ask for help. It makes you feel appreciated. You have to stay open-minded and know that everyone is different and has their own speed and way of doing things. 

What is the best piece of career advice you have received?

Many years ago I thought it was a given that everybody liked me 😊😊😊 And then one day I realised that this is impossible. People are just too different! Assuming that they were like me was a huge mistake. This was one of the saddest moments of my life. Thankfully I was still very young then. I had a boss who told me that professional friendships are very important, but are nothing like the personal ones. This advice changed the way I keep my work-life balance.  

You must already know a lot about the engine room of a Fintech company. What advice would you give someone who is looking for a role in our sector?

This is the future – go for it! 🚀

It is an uncharted territory full of innovation. I wouldn’t hesitate and on top of that I am a non-tech, so to speak, not a developer or an engineer, and found my place. Check out our open positions here: 

What is your favourite employee benefit and how does it support your wellbeing?

I am not a sportsy, BUT – the Multisport card is just the thing for me, because it also covers loads of Spa and Wellness opportunities. Aaand I love it!

Finally, when you are not at Tide, what is your favourite thing to do? Any hidden talents?

Mariya and her family

I am a true Gemini and the sentence “I want it all and I can do it all” is literally tattooed on my heart. Whatever you can think of – a singer, a cook and even a certified professional painter. I also love to write novels, poems and song lyrics. I lived in Greece, Spain and Turkey and got married in Istanbul before moving to Sofia. My husband and I have a really funny 7 year old son – and they both make my day. 😍

Valentine Hutchings

Valentine Hutchings

Head of Community and small business enthusiast

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