It has been quite a long time since the last time we interviewed one of the Agro-Know team members for the blog; this time, we have the pleasure to discuss with Madalina Ungur, one of the Business Development team members and a remotely-working colleague of ours. We only rarely have the opportunity to meet Mada in person, so we asked her to provide her feedback to our questions, which you may find right below!
1. When did you join the Agro-Know team? Any interesting story behind your recruitment?
I joined Agro-Know 5 years ago in autumn 2009, during the early days of Agro-Know. I had moved to Athens for almost a year to study Modern Greek language and live the Greek dream (right before the crisis struck). I had already been working for a few months as a language teacher in a private school teaching English and Spanish to Greek students and doing small translation work for Romanian clients when a common friend introduced me to Nikos Manouselis, the CEO of Agro-Know, who was looking for someone to help him with work on a EU funded project. I said ‘yes’ to the opportunity and luckily it worked well for both sides.
2. What is your role in the team?
My role is crucial (laughs). I am currently involved in business & product development, working closely with my colleagues and clients to deliver great solutions based on our Agro-Know Data Platform, a data-powered ecosystem based on agriculture and biodiversity data curation, enrichment and exposure. What we basically do is work with the best educational and bibliographic data out there to create contextualised, customised discovery services and other types of solutions aimed at supporting a wide range of public and private organisations (such as museums, science centres, research centres, agricultural organisations etc.) and various users (e.g. agronomists, farmers, researchers and educators) make the most out of data. My role and our position as Agro-Know is as challenging as it is exciting.
3. What do you find interesting in your work with AK?
The opportunities for learning and growth in a very dynamic field, the challenge to do big things with limited resources; the opportunities to travel, the exposure to and collaboration with highly respected professionals and organisations worldwide; and of course, the freedom, flexibility and empowerment to try and test new opportunities.
4. You have recently participated in the ECSITE 2014 Conference, a really large event. What were your expectations and what are the outcomes of your participation? Do you feel satisfied about it?
ECSITE is the European network of science centres and museums, linking science communication professionals in more than 400 institutions in 50 countries. This year’s conference was a milestone 25th Annual Conference that took place in The Hague, gathering around 1000 professionals. Agro-Know had a daily presence in the Business Bistro, where we had the chance to present our customised solutions for museums & science centres, exchange ideas and discuss future partnerships. On the last day of the event we had a presentation in the “A voluntary effort: Making use of social participation in science centres“, where we introduced people to our Creativity Acceleration method. We went there expecting to learn a lot, and we were not disappointed. From a business development perspective, such an event is an amazing opportunity to get inspired, explore and test on the spot new ideas with old and new users.
5. What are your hobbies / How do you spend your free time?
I love spending time with my family, so I try to travel often to my hometown of Cluj-Napoca in the NW of Romania.
Without doubt travelling is my no 1 hobby together with all the opportunities it offers for getting exposed to new cultures, languages, landscapes and cuisines. Earlier this spring I visited Morocco, where I spent 3 days wandering through the “Athens of Africa”, the old city of Fes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site believed to be one of the world’s largest car-free urban areas. It was exciting as it was my first time on the African continent. Plus living in the UK for the past 3 years offered me many opportunities to enjoy beautiful outdoors (parks, coastal paths, natural reservations and fauna), lovely pubs and a wide range of free museums, amazing theatre and musical shows. I am very grateful for all that.
6. Where can we find you online ?
Friends can find me on Facebook. I like to tweet under @greenoer about environmental news and sustainability. I also have a LinkedIn account and an Academia.edu profile. People can also find me on the AK Wiki page and contact me by email through the AK website.
7. Favorite kind of music?
I typically go to Last.fm, a music discovery service that streams bands and genres of your choice and makes recommendations based on those. I like almost everything from cheesy pop to classical music. I particularly enjoy Balkan, gypsy and folk music from around the world. I’ve recently discovered an interesting Norwegian band, Katzenjammer, a mix of folk, baroque pop, rock, country and Balkan. It’s a crazy, great mix. Give it a try!
8. Which was the last book you read / movie you watched?
I try to watch films as often as possible before going to bed. Among the recent ones, I recommend Nebraska (2013) Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) and the Italian film The Great Beauty (2013), all three excellent films. In the past few years the Romanian cinema has also released some excellent and widely appraised and awarded films that I also recommend, such as Beyond the Hills (2012), The Japanese Dog (2013) and Child’s Pose (2013), which depict the Romanian society’s social and economic struggles. On this list you can find more recommendations.
I love reading. For the moment, I focus on business development books that help me in my work.
9. Any specific achievement for which you are proud?
I am fairly proud of graduating my MSc with Distinction after 2 years of studies at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol. I am also proud that I have finally learned how to swim on my back.
10. What was the last gadget you bought and why you bought it?
I don’t buy gadgets.
11. Anything else to share with us?
Yes, I am the only full time AK staff member working remotely from abroad, which is something I greatly appreciate. But I also enjoy very much visiting the AK office in Vrilissia every now and then and feeling the warmth of the team. It’s always great to be among the young, active team of AK. The great achievements are better noticed from the outside.