Success Stories


Elena Bashkehayova, Marketing Director at Sirma Solutions

During Women’s Month, we are giving the spotlight to a few remarkable women from the Sirma team, as they share their professional stories and journeys in the tech world.

Elena Bashkehayova graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Administration and Management and a Master’s degree in Regional Development from the University of National and World Economy. She obtained her postgraduate qualification in Digital Marketing at General Assembly New York City and Advanced Digital Marketing at SoftUni. Over the years, she has headed the marketing divisions of Sirma ITT, Sirma Enterprise Systems, and has been part of the Sirma Solutions team since 2017, and Marketing Director since 2020.

What inspired you to become part of the tech industry?

It was a good accident and subsequently an opportunity that I received. I loved mathematics and was passionate about it, but I had a fear and misunderstanding of black programming screens and never imagined working as a software developer. I was passionate about writing, drawing, and creative work. And once I found myself in the tech industry, I naturally combined the things I’m good at. Here the possibilities for creating interesting products are endless, but to reach a wider audience, you need people who are good visionaries and who can understandably explain complex technologies.

Tell us about your career path and how you got to your current position at Sirma?

I ended up at Sirma quite by accident, after a spontaneous lunch with a friend of mine who worked there at the time. I was initially attracted to the company because of its energy and people. My interview was with the founder of Sirma, Yavor Djonev, and I will never forget his words that it is not important which university I graduated from, but how I can react in different situations, how fast I learn, and what soft skills I own.

I started as a trainee in a holding company that did not have a marketing department back then and I, without any practical knowledge, started to develop it. Over the years my work started to get noticed and given the holding structure of the company, I worked in different subsidiaries and under different managements. I climbed the career ladder slowly and gradually, trying to upgrade my knowledge through different training every year. I wanted to upgrade my digital marketing skills at a time when there was still a paucity of information on the subject in Bulgaria. The company believed and invested in me and sent me to study in America.

I built on my knowledge by reading specialized literature, monitoring big brands, and analyzing their marketing strategies. I took the initiative and wanted to make changes happen, in units and areas that were not part of my daily tasks. The phrase “it’s not my job” did not exist in my vocabulary as I wanted the company to evolve along with me. Fortunately, this dedication and initiative of mine did not go unnoticed by the management and I was asked to lead the marketing department of Sirma.

As a Marketing Director, I am responsible for the market positioning of Sirma locally and internationally. My team and I work on the overall media positioning of the brand, as well as its positioning as an Employer of choice on a regional level. Over the past three years, Sirma Group Holding has made a strategic move and acquired several companies. A big part of my job is to help them on a marketing and strategic level to integrate into the Sirma brand. Often during my work with them, new ideas for products and services are born, and so together we grow and develop.

Tell us about a typical working day for you; the projects you work on; the challenges you face.

Our marketing department works for almost all the companies in the holding and we have to be aware of the trends and changes in the industries we serve and keep an eye on the competition daily. Often in one day, we have to discuss trends in the fintech segment, write a presentation on cloud services or cyber threats, discuss an upcoming invention in the insurance sector, organize internal training, etc. We also work closely with our international sales units, which face us daily with the consumer and cultural specificities of the different markets.

What are your main sources of inspiration and how do they help you in your professional development?

The results. Everything my colleagues and I achieve inspires me not to give up. Especially when I see that the decisions I have made lead to real business for the company. The truth is, to get to this point, everyone on the team worked pretty hard. Marketing is an extremely dynamic sector. New channels, platforms, and advertising methods are emerging in months and competition is fierce, everyone wants to stand out with something unique and different. This constant challenge of being on the “crest of the wave” takes me out of my comfort zone and motivates me daily.

How do you think different perspectives (female/male) contribute to the development of technological innovation?

I work mostly with men. I’ve noticed that they are very good at looking at the big picture and being very optimistic when making specific decisions. Women are people of details, we like to think about everything, the possible consequences, and minimize the risks. Perhaps these qualities often characterize us as the “weaker sex,” but the truth is that we are extremely sensible and even if we are making decisions or implementing a project a bit slower than men, we have thought about all the subtleties. In my opinion, the symbiosis between men and women in the team is simply a must.

What advice would you give to aspiring female professionals just entering the tech industry?

Invest in yourself and your knowledge. The technological world needs a dose of beauty and a “tap” with heels.