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HomeCAREERSAna-Maria Masoud: From Mathematics and Law to IT and Intelligent Automation

Ana-Maria Masoud: From Mathematics and Law to IT and Intelligent Automation

Ana-Maria Masoud is the Country Manager for Tquila Automation Romania. With over 20 years of experience in digital consulting, transformation, and innovation, Ana-Maria brings extensive leadership expertise. She previously served in leadership positions at companies like Cognizant, IBM, and CGI. Ana-Maria’s background includes a passion for mathematics and law, having graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Bucharest in 2001 and the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science in 2004.

C&B: Describe your professional activity!

Ana-Maria Masoud: Currently, I am the Country Manager for Tquila Automation Romania.  My role involves overseeing the company’s operations in Romania, managing local teams, developing business strategies, building and maintaining client relationships, and ensuring financial success. Tquila Automation is an American startup founded in 2020 specializing in automation solutions. We offer services related to Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and digital transformation. The company provides automation solutions to expedite business processes, enhance efficiency, and drive innovation.

Before joining Tquila Automation, I served in leadership positions at notable companies such as Cognizant, where I held the Service Line Sales Service Specialist position.

C&B: What is the story of your career progression?

Ana-Maria Masoud: I began my journey in 2002 as an RPG programmer on the AS/400 system. RPG (Report Program Generator) is a high-level programming language primarily used for business applications. It was introduced in 1959 for the IBM 1401 and has since evolved into various versions, including RPG II, RPG III, RPG IV, and RPGLE (RPG IV extended). This was already old in 2002, even though I was young then, but that was the IT industry in Romania. I remember we had only 2 or 3 companies in the field, and they were mainly outsourcing to Western customers.

Over the years, I transitioned into leadership roles, such as program manager at HP, team lead, service delivery manager, people manager at IBM, delivery director at CGI, and sales director at Cognizant.

All those experiences help me in my current role as Country Manager for Tquila Automation Romania. In this role, I oversee operations, manage teams, develop strategies, and ensure the company’s local success.

I have pursued further education throughout my career, including participating in an INDE EMBA program. I strongly believe in continuous learning as a mandatory mindset for any professional in the IT field, and not only.

C&B: What were your childhood/adolescent dreams, and what are they now?

Ana-Maria Masoud: Like any child, I greatly liked stories and developed a passion for history. As a small kid, archeology fascinated me, and I wanted to dig for artifacts and uncover mysteries. Later, during second grade, I discovered my passion for mathematics and even had some remarkable results at school contests. I still like mathematics, and I have discovered now that I have not lost my problem-solving skills as I help my children with homework from time to time. Probably, solving math problems will always bring me joy, and sometimes, at retirement, I will have more time to do that )

In high school, I dreamed of becoming a famous lawyer, maybe inspired by Hollywood movies and my natural spirit of justice. That’s why I enrolled in Law School at Bucharest University and graduated in 2001.

However, in my 2nd year of law, I realized that what I wanted to do in life was more related to mathematics than law, so I enrolled in mathematics and did both in parallel.

In conclusion, my 3 main passions/interests from childhood/adolescence were in chronological order: history, mathematics, and justice. In my current role, I think I managed to use all of them in different proportions, mathematics being privileged, and I feel each one was a solid brick that shaped my personality and career path.

C&B: What are the life and work principles you follow?

Ana-Maria Masoud: As mentioned previously, I strongly emphasize the importance of lifelong learning, and I believe education should extend beyond formal schooling. Nowadays, we have so many ways to educate ourselves, and it will be a pity not to invest in our growth and development.

In my professional role, I focus on helping clients adopt agile working models to enhance productivity and effectiveness. I advocate agility, and I believe that in modern times, making good decisions fast is a strong differentiator and the key to success.

C&B: Have the pandemic and economic crises influenced your professional life?

Ana-Maria Masoud: Yes and no at the same time. In the IT industry, I have been working from home since 2005 and remotely with external clients since I started my career in 2002 when I worked for some French and Swiss companies.

However, during and after the pandemic, the proportion between working from home and working in the office changed dramatically. In the past, I used to spend 4 or 5 days per week in the office, but now I spend a maximum of 1 day per week in the office.

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of technologies such as AI and automation, and the IT&C sector has shown resilience and growth despite the economic downturn, contributing significantly to the GDP. This influenced my career curve as new opportunities arose, and now I’m working in the automation and AI fields.

C&B: Can you share any amusing situations from your professional experience?

Ana-Maria Masoud: A few years ago, I was invited to an interview for a management position. I went there, and a guy was expecting me at the desk and inviting me to an interview room. He started introducing himself and presenting the job for which I was invited. I listened very patiently for about 20 minutes (he also shared some slides and described the job with a lot of the details). Sitting there, I started to become confused, and when he finished, I mentioned that I might be the wrong candidate for the wrong job. Ultimately, we realized there was confusion among the candidates; he was expecting someone else for another job. To exit from this embarrassing situation, he invited a colleague in charge of the job to which I applied, and we continued the interview from there. He also remained in the room, so I do not know if the expected candidate for his job appeared or if he took that interview.

C&B: You have a potential client/partner or employer in front of you. What’s the sentence that convinces them?

Ana-Maria Masoud: I would emphasize our differentiators: intelligent automation expertise, quality (we obtained a 4.8 score from 5 on customer surveys), and ROI for the customer.

Tquila Automation specializes in intelligent automation, leveraging cutting-edge technologies to help businesses operate faster and wiser. The company received a multi-million dollar investment from Delta-v Capital, highlighting its potential for growth and innovation. Tquila Automation offers RPA solutions, mimicking human activities and tasks on computers or virtual environments, enhancing efficiency and productivity. The company collaborates with industry leaders to provide comprehensive automation solutions, ensuring clients receive top-notch services.

The sentence will be: “Working with us, you will save x hours of hard work, and you’ll gain y millions by automatizing repetitive processes.”

C&B: What advice do you have for beginners or those who are undecided?

Ana-Maria Masoud: My advice for them would be to explore various options, seek guidance, experiment, and stay open-minded.

And probably the most important advice would be not to be afraid of mistakes. Mistakes are a very valuable resource for learning and evolution. I made many mistakes in my life, and my career was like a rollercoaster, but I never despaired or considered that things could not be changed.

C&B: What is your opinion about society and its evolution?

Ana-Maria Masoud: I believe that we have entered an exponential evolution, and humankind is not prepared to face such a fast pace of change.

I was born in a communist country, and during my childhood, we had no mobile phone, no internet, and only 1 TV Channel, and the society was very different than the modern one. Romania (and not only) looks entirely different, now we have so many ways to spend our free time and all our relationships and working styles have changed dramatically. I see some good changes, such as freedom of speech, but also some bad changes; people spend less time connecting and much more time on the internet or gadgets.

Not to mention how society looked when our parents were kids during the 50s or 60s.

I believe technology and ideas evolve much faster than the human brain, which has remained almost unchanged since the early stages of evolution, and this fact will probably lead to many turbulences and challenges in the coming years.

Climate change will also be an important point on our agenda in the future.

I hope humanity will find answers to all those problems and adopt the best solution, as it has done multiple times.

In conclusion, I predict volatility and uncertainty will continue, and people will probably face more psychological challenges than in the past. Climate change will become a number one threat in the coming years. However, I am an optimistic person, and I firmly believe that humanity will identify solutions to all these problems.

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