PR and Communications Professional Konstantina Markova (’98): Change Is the Only Path to Growth and Development
Konstantina Markova (’98, BA) is a well-recognized PR and communications professional with extensive experience in the Bulgarian media industry. Markova, who holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from AUBG, has held a number of high-profile management positions at some of the country’s most reputable media. At present, she serves as the Communications Manager of the media cluster comprising Bulgaria ON AIR media group, Bloomberg TV Bulgaria and Investor media group.
She took time out of her busy schedule to reveal personal insight on career success as well as share her experience at AUBG.
What have you been up to since graduating from AUBG? What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments during this period?
I’ve been in public relations and communications for 16 years, most of them in the media industry. Right after graduation I started working for a tech publication as an editor. I switched to PR soon after that. First I worked for a boutique PR agency - ASK, servicing the IT sector, for six years. Then I spent nine years at bTV Media Group - a very important period in my life, both professionally and personally. Honestly, at the end of it I was eager to plunge into a different sector and try something new. Then I got an irresistible offer – to join the fast developing media group of Bulgaria ON AIR, Investor and Bloomberg TV Bulgaria. Taking this job was the best decision I could ever make – here I am fully utilizing my experience in media, I am learning something new about a variety of business sectors every day.
Something very important marked my experience all these years. I realized early enough that no matter who you work for, what the work environment is, and what you get as an attitude, you work for your own professional name in the first place. Even if you don’t proactively seek references, you get them anyway from every single person you interact with while doing your job - coworkers, managers or employees, business partners, project team members, media (in my case), other stakeholders…This way of thinking helped me stay motivated and a 100 percent devoted, no matter what. And my greatest accomplishment is that the people, who have been professionally important to me in different ways, and whose opinion and judgement I truly value, would work with me again.
In the meantime, I have also been building a big family, but I wouldn’t call it an accomplishment. It is something I have wanted and have been very lucky to get.
How did you become interested in your professional field and what do you enjoy most about your current career position?
I took my first PR job because I wanted to work for the biggest local IT exhibition BAIT EXPO. After that experience I had no doubts about my professional path.
What I enjoy most now is that I am part of a new beginning, and that I am working for the synergy between TV and online media. Bulgaria ON AIR is in a very interesting and challenging period – since last autumn it is developing as a national polythematic TV after four years as a business channel, and communicating such a transition is different from anything I have done before. What makes it easier, though, is that the change is very well-accepted from a great number of viewers looking for an alternative to popular television. Bloomberg TV Bulgaria is a phenomenon on our market - a business TV channel, following Bloomberg standards, which opened my eyes to the world of finance and economics. For the first time I realized how very exciting this world is, full of beautiful logic – and I am happy to work for spreading out the word that economics directly concerns the lives of all people, not just a narrow group of suit guys. The variety of websites in our digital group Investor, all leaders in their segments, gave me a chance to get to know and work with experts from many industries, such as finance, real estate, lifestyle, healthcare, sports, children, teenagers, etc. But what I enjoy most about my job is the people. I have very smart colleagues - excellent professionals and great talents. People make a huge difference when a company is in the process of intense development, with limited resources, and everyone should make the most of their abilities and potential.
I am also very thankful to the management of the media group, trusting me to take as much initiative and responsibility as possible and at the same time giving me invaluable support when I need it.
In what ways have your AUBG education and experience had an impact on your career and who you are today?
I believe university education is just the basis of what we learn throughout our careers and lives. I also think what we learn is our own responsibility, and not so much of the university, especially when education is virtually accessible everywhere today. What had real impact on me at AUBG was not the education itself, but rather the whole environment and culture. They taught me three very important things, vital for my professional performance – work fast with the highest quality, multitask, and always look at the big picture, not just your narrow field of activity.
What have been the biggest challenges in your career?
My biggest challenges are probably those we all meet today – get the best possible results with the least financial and human capital investments. But you know what? The gratification is much bigger when you achieve high results in a more difficult situation. When it’s easy, everyone can do well.
I’ll give you an example. In the past couple of months we had to communicate six priority projects simultaneously. And it’s just my colleague Lilyana and me in the communications team for now. We had to be very, very resourceful and discover opportunities even where they seemed impossible to find. Sometimes the exam comes before you even start studying for it. But the result is more rewarding exactly in such situations.
Please describe any significant relationships you might have with fellow AUBGeers.
I haven’t worked with many AUBGeers in the media sector, but I would point out Simona Nedyalkova as a significant professional relationship. She was part of my PR team at bTV. She joined us right from the university bench, with no experience but with great potential, and she plunged into the work action very quickly. Of course, I have close personal friendships with several other AUBG alumni. We work in different sectors, some of them live and work abroad, but we would be professionally useful to each other whenever an opportunity comes up.
Do you have a favorite or funny story about your time at AUBG?
I remember I was fired from my student job at the Writing Center because the professor reasonably suspected me of editing all the essays of the students coming in for help. We were not supposed to edit anything, just give guidelines and recommendations. But I was really, really sorry for the BA majors who would always choose Calculus over English Literature but couldn’t skip the mandatory courses. I helped them my own way, obviously against the rules.
That story reminds me how much I have changed since graduation. I wouldn’t do this now. I believe everyone should achieve on their own merits, otherwise success would be fake, and I can’t understand who could ever be satisfied with it.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I’ve been married for 13 years, and we have two sons and a daughter. My life is mostly family and work, and luckily, both my husband and I are not big fans of travelling – we spend most of our time in Sofia, and we are taking long walks in the parks almost every weekend.
I watch television a lot, because it’s something my job requires, and I check the internet and the social media all the time, because I can’t afford to miss anything.
My best form of recreation is reading. I also love writing, editing, i.e. dealing with text. I love the written word.
I love good TV series – I watch them online, always legally!
In general, I am also very interested in politics, football, intellectual property rights and Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism.
What advice would you give to younger alumni?
Work hard and achieve on your own knowledge and efforts. Choose a job or initiative you are really passionate about. If you lose motivation, don’t get sloppy with your work – you will not punish your employer, or client, but only your good name in the profession. If you lose motivation irreversibly – just quit, make a change. Change is a wonderful thing and it is the only path to growth and development.
What would you tell prospective students who are considering AUBG as their choice for the future?
AUBG is a great first step in your life as responsible adults. It will give you a lot, but how you are going to make the most of it remains your own responsibility.
Interview by Despina Koleva-Hristova