Ana Zelenkov, recent winner of Nintex’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) solutions engineer of the year, is a Technical Channel Manager, supporting our partner community throughout EMEA. When she’s not working, she pours her time into a UK-based charity supporting children in need in Bulgaria.
Ana’s background, and role, are quite the international combination. After growing up in Macedonia, Ana moved to Bulgaria for university. Her studies turned into a career and before she knew it, ten years had passed. It was near the end of her time in Bulgaria that she met her Abu Dhabi-based husband to-be, also Macedonian, while on holiday, and they decided to converge their paths in London to start a life together.
Ana’s role at Nintex is even more multicultural than her background. Supporting Nintex’s partner community in an incredibly diverse geography of languages, cultures, and requirements, Ana works all over the world, from her home office, every day.
“I learn a lot from our channel partners,” she says, “and so many teams at Nintex. I have had the opportunity to build great community, the flexibility to be creative in how I work with our partners, and the freedom to do different things and work with different types of people. I love the challenge of knowing the culture, the tone, and how people communicate. Every partner is unique.” Ana’s been able to define this newer role for Nintex herself, based on observations of what’s working and what’s not and personalizing for the nuances of each partner.
“I have had the opportunity to build great community, the flexibility to be creative, and the freedom to do different things with different types of people. I love the challenge of knowing the culture, the tone, and how people communicate.”
It’s Ana’s success in navigating the wide variety of organizational and cultural nuances across the partner network she supports, and her care and passion for fostering partner relationships and making their experience with Nintex the best it can be, that recently earned her the honor of Solutions Engineer of the Year at Nintex for her region. Nintex EMEA Presales Director, and Ana’s manager, Cosima Von Kries, shared, “Getting on stage to celebrate an amazing fellow woman in tech, my teammate and friend, Ana, was the best moment in my entire leadership career.”
But this isn’t the whole story of the connections Ana fosters, or the breadth of her engagement in a global community.
After having moved to London, Ana and her husband became interested in building and giving back to their community and came across an organization called ZOV. “The culture I grew up in, in Macedonia, isn’t one in which charity and volunteering really exist, so I was never introduced to the type of commitment and work involved in giving back to my community,” shares Ana. “Kids are the future of the world and giving them the opportunities that I had while growing up is important for me and my family.”
ZOV is a UK-based organization supporting children in need of care in Bulgaria. In Bulgaria, more than one in three children live at risk of poverty or social exclusion and many of them live in institutional care. ZOV plays a crucial advocacy role in supporting the state’s deinstitutionalization policy while offering continued educational, social, physical, and psychological support for disadvantaged children. “My husband and I both have connections with Bulgaria. We feel strongly about the cause and have spent the last six years trying to meaningfully help a community. We have the privilege of contributing to the improvement of this situation for Bulgaria’s orphaned children.”
Ana and her husband visited the Bulgarian care homes during their travels there and participate in their creative and educational programs, leveraging Nintex’s two days of volunteer leave annually to help make this happen. Ana’s described volunteering time with care homes as fulfilling, yet distressing experiences, sharing “It takes some time to recover.”
“We feel strongly about the cause and have spent the last six years trying to meaningfully help a community.”
In addition to their volunteer work, Ana’s family also financially contributes to support summer holidays or parties and uses her company match to help with Christmas gift donations. Additionally, she engages her friends and broader network in the UK to run an annual event to raise awareness and donations for ZOV. “We get involved wherever we can,” Ana shares. “We’re even currently preparing their regular newsletters and building their new website.”
While the Zelenkovs’ children are too young to join them on their charitable travels, it’s important to Ana that her kids grow up with a giving mindset. “We let the kids know how we’re involved and what we’re feeling when we return from the care homes. And at home, we encourage opportunities to volunteer or fundraise and engage our kids in really understanding what’s behind it – what we’re giving back to and why.”
Ana’s passion for this organization, especially the focus on teaching the children how to be independent, educate themselves, and find work, is palpable and has helped drive some incredible outcomes. “Last year,” she shares, “100% of the kids we supported at university through ZOV completed their studies and found jobs, and many who study come back to the care homes to volunteer.”
“When I make other people happy, especially the kids that need it the most, I am fulfilled.”
And the next chapter for ZOV, and Ana, could stand to make even more impact.
“We’re currently working to provide help to the families before they consider sending their children to care homes in the first place. The program’s still fairly new, but with the right support, this could, over time, make a huge difference to the lives and outcomes of these kids.”
Ana doesn’t need much to be happy and her work with ZOV fulfills her in a way that little else does. “When I make other people happy, especially the kids that need it the most, I am fulfilled.”
Whether it’s her multinational upbringing, the global culture she experiences at Nintex, the multicultural understanding she develops and provides her channel partners, or the impact she makes with her charitable work, the difference Ana is making is felt – quite literally – across the world. Always with a giving spirit, a service mindset, and a commitment to excellence.