March 8, 2020
Balfin Group, the power of women

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” As said from Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The World Bank in its report on gender equality underlines the progress made in reducing the gender gap when referring to Albania and the countries of South East Europe, where full equality has been achieved in the field of education and health. The report also assesses the representation of women in politics and in services. However, the World Bank notes that women face more obstacles than men, especially in building a successful career. According to this report, if gender equality were to be achieved in the labor market, gross domestic product would increase by up to 20%, giving the economy a boost.

Balfin Group represents one of the most important economic actors in the Western Balkans, yet in the European Union market. Balfin Group has set high standards in all segments of economy where it operates but has also made an important contribution on creating value and supporting companies where it is present. An undeniable contribution of Balfin Group is to promote women’s role in the labor market by creating all the space to develop a successful career and reach the highest levels of group’s leadership and society.

Bafin Group is one of the main contributors to gender equality in the operating markets and a space where everyone enjoys equal rights to develop a successful career regardless of gender. The Group itself is headed by a woman (Edlira Muka, Group Executive Director since 2016) and over 48% of senior executives are women. Meanwhile, at Group level, including all societies, about 55% of employees are women.

During 2019, more women than men were employed in all societies belonging to Balfin Group, specifically around 860 women. More than 290 women have also had the opportunity to further their careers being promoted to senior positions.

Meet with 12 of the women who empower Balfin Group.

Enxhi Saliasi is project coordinator by the president of Balfin Group. She already has a 3 year experience within Balfin.
“Despite temporary work experience while studying, the real confrontation with the job market began exactly 3 and a half years ago at Balfin Group. My experience first started at SPAR Albania, in the marketing department. Now after a 3 year period as part of the Group President’s Cabinet, I can say that I have been fortunate to see and know a good part of the whole group’s business, from a different perspective as the strategies implemented as well as daily operations.
The group is known for treating employees and focusing on their growth by promoting them where they perform from time to time, but also giving them the challenge of trying a new profession on completely different features and dynamics. ”

Elda Hysenbelli is Executive Director of Fashion Group Albania, a company that includes brands like Mango, Springfield, Cortefiel, Prenatal, Okaidi, Geox, Women’secret, Parfois, Carpisa and Goldenpoint. After completing her studies in Italy, she decided to return to Albania.
“At first it was very difficult for me adapting to the business environment in the country. There was a big difference between what I had studied and what was applied in Albania. At this moment when I was in doubt for my return in Albania, I was introduced to Balfin Group. It has been a special experience working as a Business Analyst and further involved in Merger and Acquisitions these last 7 years. Working in Balfin means contributing to the realization of important projects in our country as well as in the region. By attending meetings and meetings with the Group’s highest decision-making bodies you have the opportunity to get to know some of the best professionals in the country from whom I have learned a lot and also been inspired. “

Odeta Goga is Finance Manager at Balfin Ltd. She began her journey as part of the Group in 2005, when as a recent graduate of the Faculty of Economics she was given the opportunity to work at the Finance Department of Neptun. In 2010 she joined the first team of the Internal Audit Unit and from May 2019 she joined the Balfin Finance Department.
“Today, 12 years later, within the same Group, I would not change anything from my first choice as I grew up professionally within Balfin. One of the most interesting policies of the Group for employees has been continuous training, serving as an “update” to meet challenges posed by the evolution of business processes. “Talent Pool” has been one of the most special as it has given me the opportunity to develop good knowledge further, improve my performance as an employee, have a new approach to teamwork and its expected results. “

Juljana Përgega, Head of the Procurement and Logistics Department at Mane TCI. She has been in Balfin Group for four years and has had two promotions within that period. Juliana sees accountability, dedication, and adapting to a rapidly changing business environment as the key qualities needed to move up the career ladder.
“Every manager sets a work ethic and set of values for society, and the right example has a significant effect on group’s mindset, both in the quality of analysis and information speed. I believe Balfin Group is an example to follow as it has set high standards in all societies that are part of the group. And that goes also for promoting women in leadership roles. ” declared Juljana.

Anila Xhepa is Mane TCI’s first female engineer at the Green Coast Resort in Palasa, which paved the way for other engineers.
“The construction sector has historically been dominated by men and working in a group with only seemingly men is difficult. I have been fortunate to work with some of the best professional colleagues which has made it very easy for me to adapt. I believe there had been doubts at first but passion and dedication at work made it successful. Being the only woman in the construction site, I felt appreciated not only by colleagues at work there but also out of there. This good feeling is related to the Balfin Group philosophy where the employee is a valuable asset, especially the woman. ”

Alma Durakovic is Jumbo’s Operations Manager in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2019 has been a very successful year for Alma and her colleagues, reached a peak in the opening of two new stores in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has been working for Jumbo since 2017, when the first store opened.
“I believe that perseverance and a strong desire to meet all new challenges is the strongest weapon that makes you move forward. Constantly improving our knowledge and continually improving, seeking and wanting to learn more, but also using the experience gained helps us broaden our perspective even when we face a problem. I think the best motivation for every employee is when the team leader leads them with examples of ethics, efficiency, communication, approach to work, and when they show satisfaction achieved results by evaluating their work. It’s nice to bring out the individual and the group and motivate them to be more efficient. ”

Ardjana Cekrezi, Marketing Coordinator at Neptun Society. She has been working for the society for 10 years and resides in Durrës. After the earthquake of November 2019, though shocked by the loss of her home, Ardjana has shown extraordinary devotion to work.
“The morning of November 26 for my family, along with many other families in the country, completely changed our way of living. We found ourselves on the road, frightened for life and without a place to go. That was the moment when I realized how insignificant we are to the universe. Returning to work reinforced my decision making, colleagues’ support and solidarity at Neptun and Balfin Group gave me strength to move on. Neptun had to be ready to serve our customers what they expected from us every year. I had to do my best not to forget what happened, but finding strength to move forward. “

Learta Kusari is Human Resources Manager at Jumbo Kosova. It has been since Jumbo took its first steps in Kosovo with the opening of its first store.
“When I joined the Balfin Group, Jumbo operated only with one store in Kosovo and two more were opened within the first three months. The startup has been intense and dynamic, as over 2,000 potential candidates have gone through the recruitment filter. In Kosovo, so far, Jumbo has a total of 6 stores. Although in most of the sectors in Kosovo men predominate, but in Jumbo Kosovo the opposite is the case. In our country 73% of employees are women, even at the senior management levels, 70% of them are women. This is indicative of a Western culture that Balfin Group itself has nurtured for years. “

Aneta Mitreva Blazhev is the Manager of one of Neptun’s stores in Northern Macedonia. She has been working for Neptun in Northern Macedonia for almost 11 years and in November 2014 was appointed as Store Manager, a position she holds today.
“It is a privilege to be part of a regional and international group working in different countries in the Western Balkans. This is an opportunity to constantly learn and improve my qualities. Work has moments of success but also difficulties. In the face of the latter, the best way to resolve them is by maintaining calm and evaluating well before making a decision. In my opinion, team members need to be confident in their abilities, to feel fulfilled and satisfied by the work they are doing, and to have respect and mutual trust in order to be the best as a team. ”

Kristina Meshkurti, is Neptun’s Store Manager in Durrës. During tragic earthquake of November 26, 2019, Kristina has played a great role in assessing the performance of the store and has shown great emotional support for her team.
“From the moment of the earthquake till now, a part of our staff and me included, don’t live anymore at our houses as the apartments are declared uninhabitable. This has been a very difficult part of my life. It would have been impossible without family and staff’s support, which have helped out through difficult moments. The close bond that I and the staff have established with Neptun, the responsibility and commitment we feel towards the society made us overcome the emotional shock of the earthquake and turn it into a force, working at the same levels as other stores. “

Ina Cenolli is a Merchandise and Event Specialist at Acrem, the company that manages the two largest shopping centers in Albania, TEG and QTU. She is a new employee at Balfin Group, but has adapted well within a short time.
“During my previous jobs I had the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with a good part of the Balfin Group companies, so I knew part of the group structure. I was also familiar with the social policies that society follows and the conveniences of its employees. The moment I was selected to be part of the Acrem staff I was overjoyed. Now that I have some time within this company I can say that I have found a suitable environment for working, friendly staff and many other reasons to be safe and invest long term in Acrem and the Balfin Group. ”

Albana Alla is a Quality Engineer at AlbChrome mine in Bulqizë. 13 years of her 24 years of experience, she has worked in this mine. Albana considers it a privilege to be an employee of the largest mine in Albania.
“Although it is an industry predominated by men, I have been very happy with what I have achieved. Correct cooperation and communication with all mine structures and departments has been our motivation and strength to achieve high results. The biggest investment of the last decade, was digging deeper through Wells no. 9 which will provide new job places. All mine staff have contributed to this AlbChrome and the Balfin Group’s investment, as part of this staff today I am very happy with this colossal investment that extends the mine’s life span by at least 25 years. ”