Rumyana Trencheva ('00): 'Your success will not be defined by the result, but by your personal evolution and growth'
It’s the last day of the week. 15 minutes before our interview, I receive an email from Margit, the Executive Assistant to Rumyana Trencheva who tells me that Rumyana is on another call and will be 15 minutes late. “Mmm, great,” I tell myself. “I have more time to stress out and be nervous.”
The interview starts. At first, there is some trouble with our connection on Zoom, yet, we quickly fix it. Then we both sit and look at each other. Trencheva has a short, blonde, and very neat tuck-behind-the-ears haircut. Her earrings match her white elegant cardigan. She tells me that we can drop the formality and speak in the informal “you” form in Bulgarian. With that, my body relaxes a little and my blood pressure starts to go back to normal.
Trencheva graduated AUBG in 2000 with a major in Political Science and International Relations and a minor in Applied Economics. She wasn’t part of any of the AUBG clubs, but she was an active member of club Underground.
Trencheva started the university in the spring semester, one semester later than her peers. Her goal was to catch up with them. Eventually, she did so and graduated a semester sooner than she was supposed to. “I wanted to graduate sooner and start to work. I regret this now when I go back to my memories,” she shares.
Nevertheless, Trencheva was still connected to AUBG after her graduation as her first job was in the university’s Office of Communication and Computing (OCC). Later, she was also on the Board of Trustees from 2017 to 2020.
Her first destination after AUBG was the NGO Applied Research & Communications Fund. Yet, she left it after a year and a half and continued her path in the private sector. She had worked for Orbitel Inc., Nokia, and Hewlett Packard, until finally she and SAP found each other.
“In the beginning I thought SAP was not my company,” Rumyana recalls, “but we met, and we got along pretty well, and we still do, eight years after.” In her opinion, in order for both you and the company to prosper and flourish you need to culturally share the same values.
Currently, she is the Senior Vice President of Global Partner Organization & General Business for MEE. She leads the commercial activities for SAP in 30 countries including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).
Apart from this professional description, Rumyana describes herself as a positive, responsible and generous person. When she says positive, she means trying to look at the bright side whatever happens. “This could be very difficult sometimes,” she says. “Yet, it is manageable. It might take time, but it is learnable. A person can learn everything, even how to love.”
The best way to overcome a negative obstacle, Trencheva says, is to not concentrate on it. This does not mean that we need to forget it, but that we need to remember the picture is much broader from above. Thus, it is pointless to put all our energy into one single negative experience.
When she says responsible, she means being self-disciplined, being organized internally and having a mental hygiene, orderliness and clearness. According to her nephew, first-year student Ventsislav Trenchev, discipline, diligence, and persistence are what brought Rumyana where she is today.
“Maybe from other people’s perspective I was considered a lucky girl, but this is not the case,” she says. “Luck is just the sum of events that happen to occur in your life at the perfect time. However, luck favors the prepared mind, the open mind, and the alert mind. It favors the hard work. A lot of people consider themselves as unlucky, but they just haven’t put in the effort to move from point A to point B. Luck could be waiting for them at the corner at point B, but they don’t know it because they will be waiting for it at point A.”
When she says generous, she means giving all from herself to herself, and to her relatives, and to her colleagues, and to the world.
“She always wants to give all from herself in every aspect. Even if the situation is unpleasant or difficult, if it is for the best of her family, she will find a way to do it. She would just invest her energy in it,” says Ventsislav.
For Rumyana one of the forms of success is to give. “But in order to give to the others, you first need to give to yourself,” she adds. “You need to give your time to things in order for them to work well. They require devotion and dedication, the same way people require support and affection, and the same way your inner-self requires those things.”
Every morning Trencheva wakes up at six and gives herself one hour for the things that motivate and inspire her. Then she starts giving to the others. At seven o’clock her three children wake up and together with her husband, they make breakfast. Rumyana says that her favorite hours from the day are maybe those from 6 to 8 a.m., when she is with herself and then with her family.
At eight o’clock Trencheva's first video call starts and the rest follow after. At around noon she has lunch, and then she continues to work from her home till 5 or 6 p.m.
Close to her house in Kronberg, Germany, there is a forest through which Trencheva likes to walk in the afternoon as some sort of a break. Sometimes she even has her calls there. After six o’clock she reunites with her family. Later she reads or watches Netflix, “like all people do,” and then goes to bed at around 9 p.m.
Now, giving it another thought, she says: “Actually, everything is nice. I love my work. I love working with people, even virtually. I enjoy every part of the day.”
Living in the moment is important for Trencheva. “We have to be present all the time and just act, rather than think and assume. This overengineering, overanalyzing, overplanning is unhealthy. It stops us from creating, from moving forward, and being beneficial. When your thoughts start wandering somewhere else - you start missing what’s going on here.”
She believes that people should do and act instead of just think and assume. “When you have an idea – do it. Try it. Risk it. Talk it with someone. Research it. But to stay at one place and just think about it . . . oh, no. Yes, you can brainstorm. But filling yourself with assumptions and analysis will only pollute your mind.”
Thus, Trencheva draws back her attention to being productive and hardworking. She believes that there is not an easy and quick way to achieve success. “The more time it takes and the more difficult it is – the more you will learn and gain during the process. Because at the end, your success will not be defined by the result, but by your personal evolution and growth.”
This story is part of a series of alumni profiles by current students for professor Laura Kelly's Advanced Writing for Media class.