Tanya Kantor, Acting Country Manager Baltics at Volvo Financial Services (VFS), was the company’s first employee in Bulgaria when she joined in 2001 as a Customer Financing Representative. Since then, she has had a variety of roles in different countries, including Country Manager in both Bulgaria and Ukraine and Credit & Operations Manager in Poland. During her career she has experienced a lot, from building the VFS Bulgaria business, to facing the financial crisis and recession in Ukraine.
“It has been an interesting journey and I’ve moved around a lot,” smiles Tanya. “But I am used to change – I’m from Bulgaria so I experienced the collapse of the Soviet Union Bloc and all the opportunities and challenges that came with that. Everything used to be state-owned in Bulgaria, so I saw companies starting from nothing, going through that transition and all the uncertainty that went with it – this experience helps me to better understand our customers.”
A chance encounter
In 2001, Tanya was working for VFS in Bulgaria, doing everything from preparing quotes to meeting customers. At the same time, Laszlo Kantor, a Service Technician at Volvo Trucks, was also working at the site, on a Short Term Assignment (STA) from Hungary.
“Laszlo was in Bulgaria helping to train local colleagues in the workshop,” says Tanya. “I met him as a colleague a few times during the couple of months he was over, and then he went back to Hungary. Then, a year or so later, I was in Budapest for a long weekend, so I sent him a message to see if he wanted to catch-up over a coffee. We were just colleagues at the beginning, but then we started to see each other once a month and began a long-distance relationship. One thing led to another, and the next thing I knew, we were discussing moving in together and what country we should live in! By this point it was 2003 and I was the Country Manager for VFS in Bulgaria, so he applied for a job in the Volvo Trucks workshop and moved over to Bulgaria to join me. I guess you never know when or where you’re going to meet someone. Volvo brought us together – this really was a chance encounter that changed our lives!”
Tanya and her husband have a 15-year-old daughter, and like a true international family, they speak multiple languages at home, including Hungarian, Bulgarian and English. Tanya also speaks Russian and some Polish. “We are an international family, so we communicate in an international way too,” laughs Tanya. “I think our definition of home is different than most peoples. Home is a wider place for me, it’s wherever my family is, the location doesn’t matter. My husband, daughter and I have moved countries together and we will always stay together. You can make a home anywhere, it’s the people around you that matter. I have great support from my family and that’s what has allowed me to make these changes and moves in my career.”
“I’m proud to be a woman of VFS.”