The OpenPayd organization has made headlines as a leader within the global payments industry. But there’s one person in particular who’s been essential to the success of the company, and that’s their CEO Iana Dimitrova. As a Chief Executive Officer, she holds the highest executive position in the OpenPayd company, which is, unfortunately, still a rarity on a global level.

In a turbulent age of workplace gender imbalances, many people are wondering what it takes for women like Iana Dimitrova to achieve her position. That’s why this article will highlight her career, outline her approach to business, and share her experience in adapting to and handling this demanding job for all the aspiring businesswomen.

Background and Education

Iana Dimitrova was born in Bulgaria. She got her Masters of Law degree from the University of Strasbourg in 2009, specializing in Technology Media and Telecommunication Law and International Law.

While attending the University of Strasbourg, she also got certified in English Law at the University of Birmingham. Finally, to round up her educational journey, Iana got an Executive Masters of Business Administration in the period between 2016 and 2017 at the London Business School.

Of course, a CEO is not defined only by her educational background but also by her experience. Iana started her career as a legal trainee at Hunton & Williams LLP in Belgium, but in less than a year took a position as a Legal Associate in Penev LLP, Sofia.

After almost two years at Penev LLP.From October 2011, she started working as a Head of Legal Affairs, Digital Wallets, and Managing Director for the Bulgarian branch of Paysafe.

The Advantage and Disadvantage of Being a Female CEO

Reaching the CEO position is a challenge for everyone, but this is especially true for women. They have traditionally faced more adversity when trying to get executive or managerial positions.

Still, Iana Dimitrova did not allow these stereotypes to stand in her way. She found that her being female allowed her to take a more diplomatic stance when communicating with male executives and boardroom members. She created an approach that focused on conflict resolution and no-nonsense delivery of tough decisions.

She also has a uniform approach when interacting with employees, clients, and other people connected to the OpenPayd organization. Her approach is based on the idea of treating every employee and client, regardless of their individual value to the company or their background, with dignity and respect.

This kind of approach made here a focal point for OpenPayd and allowed the startup to continue to grow. To this day, she recommends new CEOs (regardless of gender) consider this when starting their new jobs.

The biggest drawback of being a woman in business, according to Iana, is that you’re likely to be underestimated. It can be frustrating and infuriating at times, but being underestimated can also be viewed as an advantage. No one will see you coming until you decide to take the spotlight for yourself.

How Iana Dimitrova Got the Position of CEO at OpenPayd

One of the crucial factors that led to her quick ascension through the ranks of OpenPayd is her legal background.

OpenPayd is attempting to solidify itself as a strong brand in the online banking sphere. As such, some of the company’s biggest hurdles on that journey are dealing with compliance issues. Compliances are quite challenging to figure out and often change, which is very problematic for a brand attempting to cover a large global market and innovate on the way.

That’s why OpenPayd relied consistently on Iana’s familiarity with International Law as well as her understanding of the legal aspects of telecommunication and media.

Iana Dimitrova’s professional experience and education make her an ideal candidate for this position, especially if we consider that she has spent a lot of time working with people from diverse backgrounds throughout her education and career.

The ability to work in and understand multicultural environments makes her the best choice for the job, especially if we consider OpenPayd’s ambitions to establish itself as a global banking platform.

What Aspiring Female Leaders Can Learn From Iana Dimitrova

When asked about the crucial things women should understand when attempting to reach executive and managerial positions, Iana focuses on two things:

  1. Education – There’s simply no way around this one. To get access to positions that hold more responsibilities and authority, you need the right educational background. Traditionally women have aspired to and have been motivated to aspire to more “feminine” academic pursuits, which is a stereotype most women with ambition will have to break to succeed.
  2. Strength of argument – Your arguments’ strength is what will define you as a professional in your sphere. Your gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality all become inconsequential if you are making a valid argument. You need to know what you are talking about and how to present your point so whoever is listening to you can fully understand the logic behind it.

If you are interested in finding out more about Iana Dimitrova, you can take a look at her interview for IBS Intelligence Podcasts and  Global Leaders, Local Coffee WebShow. Here she talks at length about her experiences with OpenPayd, women’s position in business, and many other things.