Work hard, play hard

Keilian Knudsen
Alexandru Miroiu
Published: 21.11.2022

The soul of Pangea.ai’s brand is making human connections. Our tech partners continue to build and strengthen our community’s DNA. We are very proud to have Expert Network as part of our circle, whose unique individuals now inspire and empower all of our team members.

Time to meet the Business Development Manager at Expert Network, Alex!


Why did you join Expert Network, and what has kept you here?

Seven years ago, I was looking for a fresh start in my career, something that would allow me to show my full potential while improving businesses. I was living in Romania, but I was considering moving back to the Netherlands. However, Vlad, our CEO, got in touch with me at the right time, wanting to join Expert Network.

I wanted to join a growing business with an environment that would stimulate me. I had this desire to build a discipline and team from scratch. I knew my skills and what I could bring to the table, and what Expert Network could offer at the time really sparked my interest. So after my discussion with Vlad, I started as a QA Manager.

Apart from analyzing complex issues, visualization and prioritization of business scenarios are indispensable skills in what I do. And when you add to the mix the possibility of working with like-minded people, passionate about what they do, the results we obtained together were great.

What keeps me here is the constant stream of challenges. I need to think creatively in solving problems and work closely with my team and our clients to always be on the same page. It feels amazing when you put together the right plan, and it works to obtain the desired outcome.

Additionally, my work is rewarding because I have a dynamic role. I get to interact with a lot of people, work with all tech layers, start new projects, and take on various challenges. As part of the leadership team, I contribute to the company's future and to the decision-making process and my input is valued.

Just as important to me are mentoring and supporting the next generation of engineers and leaders. I am happy and grateful for the opportunities my role opens.

Working from office

What is your favorite part about working for Expert Network?

If I were to choose my favorite part about working here is being able to influence people’s careers. Imagine that I’ve worked with colleagues who started as juniors, and after a couple of years, they are running an entire discipline in an important leadership role. To know I contributed to that, that I was able to be supportive and offer the right advice to someone, which later on propelled them in their job, is simply amazing. It’s one of the best feelings ever.

Another thing that I find rewarding is the onboarding process with new clients. Fresh beginnings are like starting a new book that I cannot wait to read. It’s definitely a journey, but one that I welcome with open arms, regardless of the challenges ahead.

I am there from the first moment when I have to evaluate a client’s need up until the team setup is established, the roadmap discussed and validated, and everyone is ready to deliver the first requirement.

I enjoy the entire process. At first, I ensure that the customer has a pleasant experience with Expert Network from the beginning. Then, another essential moment is reaching a successful deployment. This is the moment we prove, as a team, that we don’t just talk the talk, but we also walk the walk. Step by step, we reach that level of confidence that enables us to give our best, knowing our client is reassured of our skills and dedication.

What advice do you have for prospective Expert Network candidates?

I will offer two pieces of advice: for new clients and for new colleagues.

What I would say to new clients is that once they decide to partner with us, they truly get a trusted, committed ally.

Many startups or medium-sized companies are looking to expand their business using the correct, innovative technology, or they wish to scale up their team and upgrade their platform. It's a challenge to find the right team to integrate new technologies or to build and extend applications expertly. Finding a tech partner remains challenging, as many lack quality, reliability, focus, and expertise. Yet, when they shake hands with us, all their problems and struggles find solutions. And being in charge of this process, working closely with our customers, and truly figuring out what they need and the best course of action is exciting and motivating. Especially when we receive good feedback, and they feel in good hands with us, sleeping well at night.

Moreover, for new colleagues, my advice is this: have an open mindset, learn constantly, look for improvements in what you do, socialize with your colleagues, and grow together.

Joining our team is not a walk in the park. Our selection process is thorough because we look attentively at all the qualities that would make someone a good fit for us. We have high standards because we all work hard, we are passionate about what we do, and we enjoy learning together. And by favoring quality instead of quantity, we have a good reputation and deliver at a high standard. That is why a new colleague needs to fit our culture, be curious, committed, friendly, and be willing to grow alongside us. Ah, and don’t forget to smile. It always makes for better days.

How do you spend your time outside of the office?

I know that we all want to live rich and meaningful lives — at work and at home — without sacrificing aspects of either. But I do my best to make time for what’s most valuable to me: my family and friends.

For my little girl, I constantly make time to spend with her. We go out to movies together, I play with her, and listen to her stories and her needs. I truly value my father-daughter relationship. I am also lucky to have a supportive and understanding wife who accommodates me working from home, and she makes it easier to divide our tasks and make plans in order for us all to feel valued and supported. Plus, she’s an excellent cook, and I enjoy home-cooked meals, which simply warm my heart.

In my free time, I also meet with friends, some of which have become family. When we get together, we often play board games. Luckily, my friends are super passionate about new games, especially heavy-thinking games like Brass or Kanban. It’s an excellent way to sharpen our minds, bond together, and have fun.

When the weather is nice, I also love playing tennis. I would play with colleagues from work and friends while also enjoying a good workout. Tennis is a passion of mine, and I also enjoy watching championships, Nadal being a favorite of mine.

Whenever I feel the need for inspiration, I get lost in a good book. Lately, I prefer to read in order to learn new things, so I choose books that inspire me on leadership or growth mindset.

Client visit to EXN HQ

How do you define success in life?

I have defined success in different ways over my career. Ultimately, success is about what I’ve accomplished. And I ask myself: How have my actions positively influenced people's lives? How many people was I capable of influencing? What has the impact been from those actions?

So it all narrows down to people and how I am able to support, guide them and help identify a good course of action for them. And it’s not only about work. I also try to be involved and supportive of the people in my personal life. I am part of their story as well, and I do my best to be reliable and helpful to them.

I firmly believe that success is also about not having regrets. Throughout my career, I dared. I made bold moves and decisions because I wanted to explore new perspectives. I wanted to test myself and what I am capable of to discover my limits and my areas of improvement. Making the switch from QA Manager to Business Development Manager, meant I took a leap of faith, but I had a strong intuition, and I knew myself enough to get out of my comfort zone. I knew I was swimming in uncharted waters, but I felt I would bring value to the company and our clients. And even if it was challenging and testing, I continued to learn and grow, and now, looking back, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Our business is expanding, the clients are satisfied with us, and I do what I love.

What is the best vacation you’ve been to?

What is the best vacation? Hmmm, it is difficult to choose because things in life evolve; you discover new passions and appreciate different things.

But if I had to choose, then I would go with a combination of family & friends, my daughter jumping and jiggling in the sun, a bit of Greece, a lot of Barcelona, some wine and pasta in Tuscany and a good book and a challenging board game.

And from the things that I still have to check, I would mention the Aussie experience (ideally including the Australian Open and Nadal) and a good hike to Machu Picchu.


Get to know Alex and the rest of the Expert Network team!

We’re delighted that Alex decided to join Expert Network – it’s been great having them on board! If you have any questions or want to get to know Alex or one of their colleagues from the Expert Network team, we can put you in touch. Don’t hesitate to reach out!

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