Oana Iordachescu

Head of Tech TA, Wayfair

1. Do you remember a time when you were happiest as a child? Where were you, who were you with and what were you doing?

Most of my happy memories I have as a child are with my younger sister and first that came to mind was the one where we were climbing up the hill behind the house in Romania, getting immersed in the tall forest of whispering oaks and beech trees, singing and screaming from the top of our lungs. Just because it was fun. I think though it was a great exercise where we were also building up our voices.

2. Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?

I’d say that must be my history teacher, he had a last name made of two first names: CrisTudor. Not many loved him to be honest, but he emphasized my love for stories that have connecting dots and always reminded you of the cyclicity of time, plus he looked like a character transported from ancient Greece with a certain joie de vivre. I guess that’s also why I went later on and did a bachelors in History.

3. What habit or behaviour or belief have you recently acquired? Why is it now in your life?

It will sound very millennial, but I started doing yoga and running in the past years, I am not very good at either, but I’ve gained so much, created so much more space in my distracted mind.

4. What are the three books that you would unhesitatingly recommend to others? Why?

I’ll choose some recently discovered gems. Invisible Women, (Caroline Criado Perez) because it’s a peek into a history less known and a manual for how to look at the world from now on. Dare To Inspire, because it’s written by a group of brilliant women ((Allison Holzer, Sandra Spataro, Jen Grace Baron) and from whom I got so much strength and support through our coaching sessions. And The Midnight Library (Matt Haig), because I am sucker for a good blend of philosophy and fantasy.

5. If you wrote a ‘user manual’ for how people should interact with you, what would be the most important point in the manual?

Bring cheese and wine.

6. What is your untrainable superpower?

Critical optimism. And I am not kidding, right after writing this I went to ecosia and searched the term. It’s a thing, apparently. I think it’s confusing a lot of people, it confused me for a while as I seemed many times overly enthusiastic, while other times too negative or doubtful. It can get me in a lot of trouble by not seeming supportive or not thinking things through, but I see how many think exactly the opposite of me. And I can totally work with that.

7. On what topic would you never make a joke? Why?

Oh, wow, so many. First of all, my sense of humour is honestly so poor, my friends would confirm, and it’s not that I am PC as such, but I don’t know what I don’t know… about people and their life experiences. So, things that have to do with abuse of any sorts, they do not make it on my “to joke about list.”

8. What do you think is acceptable today but will become taboo tomorrow?

We’re seeing a marvelous switch, I think tomorrow is today in a way already. It was acceptable to minimize people based on their gender or sexual orientation, it was acceptable to hide mental health issues and push for hyper productivity as the ultimate goal at any cost. It will be taboo to praize and recognize success only through the career advancement lens and not relationships, health, education.

9. What app or tech product have you most recently fallen in love with?

Google Maps. And I am dead serious. Navigation changed forever, but beyond that the perspective on mobility, community, life options seem inimaginable without Google Maps.

10. What is the best purchase you’ve made recently? Why?

A standing desk. I was on my kitchen table for months and I started realizing the lack of movement since working from home in March (#thanksnothanks steps counters) so the standing desk is guilting me into, well, standing more often. On top of that I really see how body posture influences my level of confidence and energy. So bouncing on some beat from time to time and literally, thinking on my feet is now possible. I regret nothing about this investment.

11. If you were to survive the zombie apocalypse, what role would you play in the new society that would follow?

Hmm, not really sure, I know a thing or two about farming, but I do not have a green thumb. So I’ll probably find survivors and figure out a way to tell their stories, equally important I might say.

12. If you could invite any 3 people - living or dead - to your final dinner party before the end of the world, who would they be and why?

I am just going to consider that my friends and family are there already, so the 3 extra would probably be Georgia O’Keeffe, because her art brings me a certain serenity, like some cosmic blanket of peace, Ruth Bader Geinsburg, because her work has had this butterfly effect for women advancement specifically and human rights in general and Beatrice Fihn, because her insta account keeps on being so lovingly human, while she relentlessly embarks on the “Abolish Nuclear weapons” quest and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. I think we’ll have a blast… if they bring cheese and wine.

13. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?

“Whatever got you here, won’t necessarily take you further.” A reminder that we constantly need to learn, stay flexible, pay attention to what’s needed, versus what we’ve been doing before.

14. Can you give a work example of a lesson you had to learn the hard way?

A few years ago, as a recruitment lead in Booking.com I was on the brink of burnout. Weighted down by insomnia, daily little breakdowns and a brain incapable of making good decisions, I was feeling very isolated, misunderstood and inefficient. I was also probably quite annoying to be around… Uncomfortable to think about this time I found myself in, driven by overthinking and not asking for help, but super grateful for those who stuck by and helped me see that I was never really alone.

15. What is the optimal number of people in a team, with you in it? What roles are those people playing?

Depends on the team really, the Agile 4-7 always seemed attractive to me, but then you have so many types of teams and scopes for them. With the roles each can play I clearly recognize how cultivating a T-shaped portfolio of skills and the diversity of backgrounds, personalities, communications styles makes us more curious, tolerant, creative, humble and performant. I love being in a team where people take the role they are good at and they thrive in (makes them happy and others learn easier from them), while having the opportunity to wear many other hats and stretch, experiment.

16. Have you ever been the weakest member of a team? How did you handle it?

Probably more than I’d like to think. Back in my agency years, I was pretty uninterested, therefore quite bad at business development. I loved seeing it in my colleagues, such an energy rush, but for me, as Marie Kondo would say, it did not spark joy. So I got really good at key accounts and made sure I developed that (much needed) stable revenue stream for a recruitment company.

17. .What changes to our industry would you like to see post-Covid19? What
changes do you think we will see?

There are a few topics that have seen so much progress, in some places 10 years worth of progress especially on flex work, remote work, remote interviewing, collaboration practices and technology. This somehow is acting as a slingshot for everything Diversity, equity and inclusion. From the raised awareness on so many underrepresented groups to inclusive benefits, mental health support, parenthood, accessibility. I am just hopeful public health, equal access to education and geographical mobility will be supported by adapted policies (corporate and governmental). It’s the only way recruitment will have a sustainable contribution in building amazing communities and shape the future of work.

18. Who will be the winners & losers in our industry in the post-Covid19 world?

They keep talking about this K shaped economy recovery, where some areas as ecommerce, SaaS, technology will pick back up quickly and boldly, while travel, hospitality, entertainment, food services will be sluggish and will need a lot of assistance. This is an important mapping we all need to be doing when deciding what to specialize in and build towards.

I would add that a new type of leadership is being created as we speak. Business leaders are listening to their employees, more than ever and where that is not acted on we will see reactions: disengagement, attrition, pause in innovation and you can translate that in the social and political scene. The winners will be those able to adapt, demonstrate resilience and push change compassionately.

19. What’s the one question that we should’ve asked you, but wasn’t on this list?

What are some things you had to unlearn?

20. Who would you recommend to do the next 20 Questions With … ?

Marta Munk de Alba,as she’s someone i’ve always admired from a distance and would love to learn more about her and her work at Netflix.

Thank you to Oana Iordachescu for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune.

Read more stories from the Brainfood community...

Previous Next
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this