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Ana-Maria Velica: Every human beings deserve happiness...

July 17, 2023

In 2022, after a 20-year international career, she decided to leave the corporate world to pivot her career into entrepreneurship. She has lived and worked in 3 cities in Western Europe: Hamburg, Amsterdam and London. She has held leadership roles in diversity & inclusion, procurement and supply chain in 3 corporations: British American Tobacco, Heineken and Nestle.

Although, between 2009 and 2011, we worked for the same corporation we have only been talking online for a few months.
Thanks to the interview below, I learned that Ana-Maria Velica is also guided in everything she does by courage, the pillar on which I base my life.

Let's listen to Ana's insights.


- Who is Ana-Maria?
I am the 3rd daughter of my parents, I come from a Romanian family of 5 children with a mother who dedicated her life to bring us up and a father who had a successful military career. I got the courage values from my mother and the passion for growing careers from my father.
My dream to build an international career came true 15 years ago when, supported by my Australian mentor, I found the courage to apply for international jobs. I got my first job in Hamburg, Germany and a promotion with the company I was working for at that time. So ever since, I've been blessed to be building my dream career in beautiful international cities and working with global brands like Vogue, Heineken, Kit-Kat, Nespresso.
My career in procurement, supply chain and inclusive leadership span 4 countries and several industries, so I consider myself a global citizen. The passion I have developed for procurement, specifically for negotiations came very early on in the corporate times, when I was in an junior assistant role and I got asked by the C-suite team what career path would I choose.
I remember saying that I would love to work with my colleagues who negotiate all day and who conclude contracts with suppliers. Who would have known that moment would set the first stone of what was yet to come: two decades of career in procurement and supply chain up to leadership positions in cities like: Hamburg, Amsterdam and London.
It was Maya Angelou who said: 'In Diversity there is beauty and there is Strength'. I love Diversity of all kind: diversity of people background, diversity of thought, diversity of opinion. Life and world is more powerful and more beautiful where there is diversity;  this is something that comes naturally to me. My values are rooted in courage, integrity and diversity and that's something that has helped me navigate my life. Not only that I had built international teams, but I have friends from all over the globe with very diverse backgrounds. After all, I believe in a world where everyone is equal regardless their color, sex, age, nationality, disability or sexual orientation. There is huge value in having a diverse mindset that opens up new avenues and creative horizons. Every human beings deserves happiness.
After two decades in career management, procurement and supply chain, I felt it was the right time to follow my fire in the belly and create my personal purpose with social impact. So last summer I started up my own mentoring practice: Green Apples Career™ is a transformational mentoring consultancy hub offered to organisations and to under-represented groups. At Green Apples Career™ we accelerate the DE&I efforts of organisations to motivate, retain and attract talent. At Green Apples Career™ we're on a mission to double the mentoring capacity of fast-growing organisations by equipping people leaders with the critical mentoring skills they need to bring out the best in their people and boost their results. Our clients are diverse and global as mentoring people can be done fully remote. If people need an experienced career mentor, they can find us at

I am a huge fitness fan, I like resistance and strength workouts and have a fitness Instagram account open to public for inspiration and advocacy. I believe in a healthy lifestyle which is all about having a healthy mind, a healthy body and a healthy soul. I am a proud mamma to a beautiful 5 years old Turkish Angora cat, Chocolina who was recently promoted as the Wellbeing Manager at Green Apples Career™.

- What made you get to where you are now?
My parents brought me up with strong family values which I take with me every country I travel.  As I said, my values are rooted in courage, integrity and diversity and for me I always remember where I come from and where I go to, and more importantly Why. I am truly grateful to be very fiercely driven by what is ethical, by integrity in everything I say and do. I always stand up with courage for what is right for me. If I witness discrimination or bullying in the workplaces, I stand up for those who's voice is not heard. My values combined with hard work made me get where I am now, the woman I am becoming every day, a successful entrepreneur in London and a good global citizen.

- What do you consider to be the most important achievements in your life so far?
Being healthy, having a rich life, having a beautiful family, being able to have a social impact with my business and being able to help people grow successful careers these are important achievements in my life. For me, at the end of the day what really matters is when I look in the mirror and I see myself evolving, growing every day into the person I want to become.

- What are some of the challenges you face as an entrepreneur?
There are too many (smile :)) Being an entrepreneur in London in times of recession and global crisis, is an act of courage. I wake up every day following no rules, no standard routines, I just follow my business plan with courage and strong beliefs. The first year of doing business in London to establish myself as a brand in a large sea of coaches and mentors, has been very challenging. Especially when there is no limitless capital behind, the only ongoing capital being the expertise, the passion and the strong results that have been achieved already in a very short time since I started up the business. Another challenge is the mindset change: it's a huge shift from being full time employee to being entrepreneur. I need to keep going, regardless the no's and the nay sayers who don't believe in what I do. Sometimes, the entrepreneur journey feels very lonely as not many people will celebrate your successes. The biggest challenge is to find hope inside yourself, to believe in yourself so much to find the strength to ignore the nay sayers and do what you are meant to do.

- How do you define courage?
Courage is one of my core values, I was brought up with courage by my mother who dedicated her life to be the best mother to her children during comunist times. My mother has been my mentor who I look up to when I need to find courage in taking decisions daily. Courage is the result of the fear you experience when you overcome obstacles. To me, courage means to go the extra mile, to stand up for what is right, to empower other to raise their voices, the courage to say NO when you feel disrespect or not valued. The courage to challenge yourself to become better every day. Some people are born courageous, others need to practice courage with help from mentors, family or friends. Courage is a a value that can be learned and practiced. There are 4 types of Courage: Moral courage - the courage to stand up for one's beliefs in the face of overwhelming opposition. Intellectual courage - challenging old patterns and assumptions to make changes, Disciplined courage - staying steadfast in the face of set backs and failures. And Empathetic courage - acknowledging personal biases and intentionally moving away from them.

- What makes you happy?
There are simple things that make me happy like a beautiful morning black coffee, or breaking a sweat after a good workout. Or surprising my family with a visit, playing with my cat, going out with friends and helping people succeed in their careers.

- Something else you want to share with us?
Say NO to Discrimination and YES to your Dream Career!


Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoy it and got some inspiration for the days of June, the month of cherries as we call it in Romania!
If you want to learn more about me, follow me on instagram page and / or my website.
And, please do not forget: Stay Kind, Courageous, Authentic!
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