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Adrian Cristea: How to evolve from an introvert BE Dev to an empathic VP

September 19, 2022

He was born on the sunny hills of Vrancea, he went for an Informatics high school in Bacău and then followed a Computer Science University in Iași, with a Master in Distributed Systems. He doesn't remember what he wanted to be when he was a little kid, but he surely remembers that when he opened a computer for the first time it was love at first sight. He was in the 5th grade, and he simply knew that this is what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Well, initially he saw himself in the gaming world, but now he is more than happy to be part of the eHealth revolution that we started at CGM.  

In his spare time, he reads a lot, especially stories like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Ring, he likes to play video games and tennis, and... be the co-owner of Caferamica, a small, cute new café where you can paint ceramics and get your own personalized cups home. Well, he mostly is helping and supporting his wife, the one who came up with the idea of the coffee shop, because he is busy at CGM being one of the newest VPs.  

Let's meet Adrian Cristea better and find out how you can find the balance and the success in your life.

Adrian Cristea, VP CGM Software Romania

„I needed some adrenaline in my life and this role came at the right moment” 

Adi, let`s start with your career path so we can better understand how you become one of the 4 VPs within CGM.  

Well, I started working in IT in 2013, when I was in my 4th year at University. At that time, there weren`t so many IT firms in Iași like today. I started with C++ at a firm, then I tried Java at another company, because it was the next best thing to do.  

A friend of mine told me about CGM Software Romania and how things were done there, so I got interested. I found out that many of my ex-colleagues were here, so I came for an interview. I remember that I was head hunted by several IT companies at that time, and I went for interviews at all of them, but in the end, I decided that CGM is the best option for me.  

After only 3 or 4 months here, I became Tech Lead, then Team Lead, then Discipline Lead, then Functional Lead on BackEnd Area, from September 2020 Head of Functional Area on BackEnd and starting the 1st of August this year, I became one of the VPs.  


What was your reaction when you were proposed to be a VP?  

Actually, the discussions started last year, but I hesitated because I couldn't leave the things just like that on the Functional Area role. I worked really hard on the management, on the projects and on the people and I helped them get out of their shells. This year was one of the most active years and people are more engaged in all sorts of social and technical events, but also in their daily tasks.  

So now I was ready to accept the VP position and to move forward to the next step.  


Have you figured out yet what does it mean to be a VP? What are the things that changed in your life?  

No, I haven't figured out 100% what it means to be a VP. I know that it involves the responsibility to keep on the right track the projects and the people from the Business Unit in Romania. I also know that it takes a good communication, strong relations and that is a long-term process.  

What has changed? The context. And so many meetings. But the truth is that I needed some adrenaline in my life and this role came at the right moment.  


If you had to explain to a non-technical person what it is that you do and what is Backend, what would you say?  

Backend is a very difficult to explain word. Short story: it is the engine that keeps the things moving. Frontend is the beautiful car body, while Backend is the reason why that car is a quality one and why you don't take that car to the mechanic for repairs.  

As for my job, I am a little of Jack of all trades: from code reviews and concepts to guiding people into the right direction. And, of course, let`s not forget the syncs and the eternal meetings.  

Adrian Cristea, VP and Daniel Pavel, Software Developer

I was lucky enough to have worked with Adrian Cristea for a few years and I have seen, during all these years, a dynamic and active person. Adrian is professional, and creative and knows how to tap into a person’s strengths.  

He has more than ten years of experience and can guide you to solve any issue. The most important thing is that he does this with modesty, without making you feel, let's say "junior", for asking stupid questions.  

He is always calm and has "out of bound" patience. He has all the requirements a leader needs, he knows how to do his job, and put all his effort and dedication into everything he does.  

Everyone needs someone like him in their company. I am proud I have the chance to work with him.” - Daniel Pavel, BE Software Developer, talking about Adrian Cristea 

„Working in the eHealth field is really meaningful”


Stepping out of the meetings and looking back to your past, what would you say are the best life lessons that you learned?  

Two important things pop up in my head right now:  

  • To be reliable and to always do as I promised, because a promise is a promise;  
  • It's not just about work, it's important to love what you do and to leave some time for your personal life. It is crucial to work with pleasure in a non-stressful environment, because there is no point in working half a life just to live the other half.  


What are those things that inspire you and motivate you to go on?  

Without a doubt, the people. I am an introvert, and I wasn`t seeing myself in a management position 5 years ago. But I realized that it is so rewarding to help people and to see how they are evolving. Their feedback, their grow, their career path just motivates me to keep on doing what I`m doing.  


Adi, what do you like most about working at CGM?  

Definitely the community. It is the reason why I am here for more than 5 years and why I intend to stay. The people are simply amazing, with an awesome mentality and attitude. Plus, here you have time to learn and grow and it is an environment where you simply feel good while working. Oh, and one more important thing that I like working at CGM: working in the eHealth field is really meaningful.  


Let`s share with the people reading this some things about your team and the project that you work on.  

I have a team of 12 amazing people: 9 developers, 2 Automation Testers and 1 Product Owner. We all work together in solving all the requests coming from the CLICKDOC universe on LIFE Platform, a huge project existing since 2014. 

Ionuț Grigoriu, BE Developer, Functional Lead, Team Lead & Adrian Cristea, VP

The working environment is the key to any growth as it influences the employee's mindset.  

A good atmosphere of the workspace only exists if coworkers create it. Adrian Cristea is that kind of people that creates such a good working environment. Because his combination of the soft skill with technical ones, Adrian is a good coworker that I enjoy working with him.  

He is willing to help anyone succeed and meet their goals by being goal-oriented, good communicator, helpful and reliable.” - Ionuț Grigoriu, BackEnd Developer, Functional Lead & Team Lead speaking about his colleague, Adi Cristea


Speaking of teams, what makes a successful team in your opinion?  

I think that there are 3 things that make a successful team. A successful team is one who is capable of:  

  1. Organizing itself;  
  2. Being rational;  
  3. Encouraging teamwork and helping each other.  


We`ve talked about the past, we`ve talked about the present, let`s see what the future has to offer. What are your plans for 2023 and further on?  

My plan is to understand 100% my role as a VP and to create the connections that I need in order to steer the projects in the right direction. I also want to improve my negotiation skills, and, for the long-term, I want to create a handbook for VPs.  


Now that you`ve taken your doze of inspiration for today, you must know that you can meet Adi Cristea either at Caferamica, either on his LinkedIn profile, from where you can find out more about his work as a VP within CGM Software Romania.  

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