Walltopia’s people from around the world – Yuri Volodko
Walltopia has always been powered by Bulgarians. Started out by 2 of them, and 21 years later, our work is made possible by almost 900 in the headquarters and the factories. In the same time, we are almost completely export-oriented. And although we work with local agents for most of our markets, up until recently, it was only us.
Yet, in the last year, our office at Sofia welcomed more foreign employees than we have ever had before, coming from places like Chiliе, Switzerland, Vietnam, Ukraine, Romania and Ivory Coast. We realized that this inevitably leads to changes. On one side, they bring different perspectives and approaches to work. On the other, there is the cultural enrichment – like sharing stories and exchanging local recipes in our lunch breaks.
And while we’re still getting used to switching to English when we speak to be inclusive, we value the presence of people with such diverse backgrounds. That’s why we decided to turn to them – the non-Bulgarian employees, and ask them about their point of view – both at Walltopia and in Bulgaria. We did it to see what could be improved, and to share their experience with the world.
We got some fun, honest, and sometimes unexpected answers. Here’s what they had to say:
Yuri Volodko, coming from Ukraine
How long have you been at Walltopia and what is your position?
I started dealing with the company at the beginning of 2018 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. For a year I had been handling projects in the Middle East working in the team of the Walltopia agent there before I took a decision to move to the company HQ in Sofia. Currently, I occupy the position of a sales specialist in the climbing division.
How did you get to know about Walltopia?
I have been passionate about climbing since 2010 and Walltopia is the leading company in the climbing gym industry, hence my introduction to the company happened quite naturally by just being a part of the climbing community.
What was your drive to apply for a position at the company?
Climbing has changed my life in a very positive way. It is such an amazing activity in terms of health, social communication, lifestyle, etc., that familiarizing the general public with the sport has become my mission. It was a logical solution to start working in Walltopia to help visionaries and advocates of climbing to develop local climbing scenes by helping them to build climbing gyms.
How does being a foreigner affect your work life?
It simply does not. As a salesperson, I work worldwide and in terms of the office life, the team here is very helpful and everybody speaks English.
And how do you feel about living and working in Sofia?
I completely love it from the climber’s point of view, there is such beautiful nature and so much amazing climbing here in Bulgaria. Even though, living in Bulgaria without knowing the local language is quite challenging sometimes.
What accomplishment are you most proud of for your time at Walltopia?
Building good relationships with the colleagues and the clients.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Dealing with Bulgarian Migration Agency…
How has your mindset changed since you came here?
It hasn’t. I was pretty much aware of both working in the company and living in Sofia.
What makes you proud to be a part of Walltopia’s team?
Working in the industry-leading company and delivering the best product to the clients.
Is it essential to be a climber, in order to do your job well?
In my opinion, it is important for a salesman. Being a climber frequently helps in finding a common language with the client and advising a better solution for each particular project.
What do you look forward to on a Monday morning?
For a cup of coffee.
What’s your favorite Bulgarian word?