The Humans of smrtPhone
This month’s featured “smrtie” is the backbone to our product development process, Product Manager Mihaela Rosu.
Here, at smrtPhone, everyone knows me as Mihaela Rosu.
Not everyone knows that my name isn’t just Mihaela, my name is also Mădălina. In Romania, when kids are born, they get a regular name and a saint name. Mihaela is my saint name. When I joined the professional world, I decided I should go with a professional name and I asked to be called Mihaela. Everyone outside of work calls me Mădălina, and for the first few months I would forget to answer when someone called me Mihaela.
Miha is the nickname for Mihaela and Mădă is the nickname for Mădălina, so now I answer to four names. My husband calls me by another name – Mandarină – so maybe I have five names!
Title / Role in the Company
My official title is Product Manager. I was told that my job is to be “the glue between all of the departments.” I am the person who is in the middle of everything, in touch with everyone. I have to know what the development team is doing to coordinate with all of the other departments. I make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to adding new features or products. I manage all of our Roadmap, Technical Tasks, and Feature Requests. Anything that involves changes, updates, or fixes to our product suite.
It’s a very interesting and varied job. With a team so large, it’s a lot of communication. I have to really focus to make sure everyone is informed at all times. And it isn’t just about telling them what’s happening, it’s also about knowing what they are working on, understanding their point of view, seeing their mission within our larger mission. I like the organizational part. I am a very organized person and I enjoy it.
How long have you worked for smrtPhone?
I’ve been working on the smrtPhone products for six months, but I have been collaborating with [smrtPhone Partners and co-Founders] Alex and Vlad since 2013. Next year will be 10 years! I originally joined their company Swift as a copywriter. I was there when REIvolution was created, and that’s when I started working with Real Estate Investors. I was part of the team that built the software company from scratch – we developed internal processes, how to manage clients, how to handle tickets, all of it.
What’s your background?
My dream during university was to be a translator. I studied French and English. I thought being a translator would mean having responsibility and importance.
Before finding a job as a translator, I had to make money so I put it out on the internet that I am a writer and would accept projects. In high school, I wrote a lot of stories and entered contests.
I didn’t really know what copywriting was, in a business context. But, I put it out there that I can write and that’s how the team found me. I started doing some projects here and there.
I did eventually get a job in a translator’s office, but I was more of a secretary, going back and forth. I worked there while I was completing my master’s degree. And then I realized that my view on a translator’s job is not what I expected. It was not as sophisticated or glamorous as I thought it would be. Even though I learned a lot from the experience, it was not what I wanted to do.
Over time, I started working with Vlad and Alex more and more until finally it became a full time job. When I started working with them, I knew nothing about technology. I was a writer, and I wasn’t familiar with the technical parts. At the end of the day, every day, Vlad would take time to teach me how to use all of the technology. Then, while the company was evolving, Alex walked me through the story about CRMs, processes and how to use the tech tools to help our clients. And I learned, day by day.
That is the story of how my life changed. Now, I am doing things that I never even could have imagined back then. I am very grateful for this chance and all this journey.
What was your first job?
I started teaching children English in my first year of University. I started with 8 and 9 year old kids, and since then I have worked with people as young as 5 years old and all the way up to 43 years old. Teaching has been my passion since I was very little. I would go to school, learn my lessons, and then I would come home and become the teacher to my toys. I would sit them up and teach them the lessons. I looked for formal teaching jobs – but the system was really difficult to break into. It’s very complicated.
I still work with kids and tutor in English for the fun of it.
What do you like about working for smrtPhone?
I like the team. I have always liked the team, since the beginning, it was the same with REIvolution. I like the way we are, as a family. I like the fact that if you have an issue, at any time, everybody is willing to help you. And it’s not out of obligation, it’s because they genuinely want to help you.
It’s a place where you can develop yourself and grow, from all angles and very important you are appreciated for what you are and what you do.
Describe smrtPhone in 3 words:
Friendly. Helpful. Family.
Is there a particular moment/project at smrtPhone that stands out and makes you feel proud?
There have been so many over the years! One from my smrtPhone era: When I started, I had to understand all of the processes, how everything works, and the main tools I’d be working with like the Roadmaps and Technical Tickets. After I had a sense of it, we were able to take a step back and ask: How can we do that differently and make it better?
I’m so proud of the way we’ve reworked the Roadmap. We’ve built a machine, with all of the processes and protocols to keep it running smoothly. I knew from the beginning that we cannot expect to make changes overnight. It’s taken time, understanding, and patience to see what’s happening and where we can make it better. We examine it and say, okay, we can improve here or there, or at least try. Or we try something and then it hits the real world and we have to make adjustments. We’ve taken the whole thing from strategy to execution, and I’m proud of how far we’ve come.
Another thing I’m proud of is the way the team pays attention to client needs. I am very involved in this process. We listen to our clients and we do our best to make sure they are happy. We always want to acknowledge the importance of our clients. Our goal is to build the product so it is exactly what they need.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to walk a lot. Except not when it’s cold! I like to read. I like to spend time with my friends and family and play board games. I like to play with my cat. I like to watch TV series. I enjoy traveling, too, of course. I love visiting new places. But sometimes I also love staying in bed and reading or staying on the sofa and watching Netflix.
Name something that is on your “bucket list”
What I really want to do someday is go to New York City and see the big tree in Rockefeller Plaza. I love Christmas. I love everything that is related to Christmas. I love making presents and start preparing them in October. And then I start the list for next year in January. The tree in New York City is iconic from movies, and I would love to go there.
But also, I would love to travel the whole world. I don’t need a lot of luxury. I just want to understand the people and the places.
What is a fun fact people might not know about you?
Most people don’t know that I still teach. I also have a blog of children’s stories that I keep up when I have time. I have always written children’s fantasy stories.
In the 9th or 10th grade, I participated in a competition with one of my stories. It was in honor of one of the queens we had. I won third place/Honorable Mention. And it was so fun because we got to travel to a castle in Bucharest and one of the daughters of King Mihai gave us the certificates. We had juice and cookies, made by the royal cook.
Even though I haven’t written in a while, when I do, I always try to craft a story from which someone can learn something. In the About Me section of my website, I write about how, in a world where we are surrounded by technology, it is still important to tap into our imagination. We should all take time to pick our heads up from the screens and be children again and dream a bit.
You can read Mihaela’s stories and her About Me here: https://taraluimedlin.com/ – use translate in your Chrome Browser to see it in English.