Becoming A Boss: Condé Nast Senior Strategy Manager Faces Off Negative Cultural Practices

27 Feb, 2024

Senior Programmatic Strategy Manager, Teodora Tepavicharova, highlights the importance of blocking out the noise, backing yourself, and stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Top trumps alert! What are the three cards you’ve played to help you get where you are in your career? 

Being Proactive. I didn’t wait for someone to give me a seat at the table just because I graduated with a first class degree or had experience. I have always been open to opportunities and never limited myself in terms of industry, company or job role because I knew there was always something new I could learn. 

Stepping out of my comfort zone. I find this can be one of the biggest challenges formany people, but I find that there is no greater reward than developing your skills and becoming good at one more thing- because it usually pays off in more ways  than you think it will. 

Being respectful and kind to others. It ought to go without saying that but it’s not always obvious to everyone.Treat people as you would like to be treated.

Ballsiness, being the bossy boots, Machiavellian ruthlessness - why do many women feel that they need to act tough to succeed? What are the real hallmark signs of good female leaders?

Perpetual scepticism. As women we tend to be much more empathic compared with men, as well as being more focused on problem-solving and resilient in the face of adversity. Despite this, we often lose out in the race to become leaders.This is perhaps why women think they need to act tougher, so they can earn more respect.

In my opinion, the real hallmark of good female (and not only) leadership is authenticity, empowerment and clear vision. Treating people well and listening. I think all these qualities often come more naturally to women.

Who has inspired you in your career? Why? 

I am very fortunate to have amazing role models within my family and I wouldn’t be here without their constant support. I look up to many people within the Media Industry, both junior and senior leaders, however, I have found my biggest boost has come from people working in other industries, for example, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, and writers. This gives me different points of view that I can then draw on in my work, life and career. 

If you could wave your magic wand and right one wrong in the workplace, what would it be and what would you do? 

Eliminating misogynistic, sexist, racist, homophobic, bullying, harassment and all of their derivative behaviours from the workplace. Unfortunately, I am not the only one who has experienced these in a work environment, and honestly, each time it is equally shocking. For 8 out of 10 women, these are recurrent in the workplace. Aside from the fact that this behaviour does not belong in the 21st century, it prevents women from reaching their full potential and can stop us chasing our goals. Not to mention the effect on mental health and self-esteem. 

Saying that I would also like to highlight that 8.2 million UK employees feel they’ve been discriminated against on the grounds of their gender, not just women, which is also alarming.

Unfortunately, these not uncommon behaviours are inherent in some organizational cultures, and sometimes even cultivated and  praised. This is why we need more policies and clear reporting mechanisms in order to hold each other to high standards. I am very disappointed in leaders/managers who know about the existence of such behaviours in their organisations/teams and do nothing about it. 

The route to success is never smooth. What tips, professional, personal, and leftfield, would you give rising stars, if you were starting out today?

Professionally, don’t be discouraged if your career path is not linear. When I was starting, I was always given examples of successful people who made it in their first or second workplaces, so my mind was very much fixed on the idea that the first or second job I got would be where I made my mark. So when the reality hit even before my career had a chance to start, I felt very disheartened. But I quickly learned to look at the setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. The only time you are allowed to be disheartened is if you haven’t tried. 

Personally, trust your instinct. No one has better intentions at heart for you than you. If you are doing the right thing for yourself, do not care about what other people have to say.

Leftfield, smile more.

Join our mailing list

Speaker updates, ticket giveaways and exciting opportunities - don’t miss a thing and be the first to know about what’s happening at MAD//Fest

Stay in touch

Follow us and keep up to date with recent activity including new keynote speakers etc...