Can you share with us a specific project or accomplishment that you are particularly proud of and why?
There are several:
- Expanding the Moody brand and reputation in the TIC sector as a leading Accredited Certification Body.
- Contributing to the IAF Technical Committee since 2005 as representative and Chairman of EFAC (The European Federation of Associations of Certification Bodies) where I continue to actively participate today, contributing to the development of the necessary rules for the operation of the IAF Global Chain of Trust. Within the IAF I proposed and convened the work on Anti-Counterfeiting since 2010, and supported the start and launch of the Global Database of Certified Companies www.iafcertsearch.org which has now changed the value of accredited certification and has dealt a significant blow to counterfeit certificates. This was a 13-year long project, that tested the persistence and professionalism of all involved.
- Another significant line of work during these years has been my work with law enforcement in the fight against counterfeiting, fraud, and corruption, working with OLAF and Interpol as well as regional law enforcement. This has been a valuable contribution on my part to society and to increase the value and reputation of the services we provide. As a demonstration of my competence, I participated in the drafting of ISO 37001 ANTI-BRIBERY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS at ISO/CASCO, where I have represented EFAC since 2008.
- The other project worth mentioning is my work on the promotion and introduction of PEFC - Sustainable Forest Management in South-eastern Europe, which also took 13 years of effort to achieve-working with the Forestry Sector, governments, and accreditation bodies to develop and launch the national schemes, and to assist the accreditation bodies in starting the provision of accreditation.
- Finally, my long-term commitment to Risk Policy - joining by invitation in 2009 the Australian Risk Policy Institute, and later founding its European sister Institute ERPI in 2015 and working to promote globally a new way of thinking about Risk.
How do you spend time outside of work?
With my family, traveling, wine making, photography. Wine making takes a special part as it engages the soul, as it is a long and delicate process, involving living organisms, it provides necessary relaxation and satisfaction away from a busy schedule and trains you in patience and persistence.
Can you speak of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career and how you overcame them?
I faced both internal and external challenges. Internal includes challenges for myself and my teams - to provide and assure persistence, motivation, excitement, excellence, and professionalism even in a hostile and unethical external environment. External challenges are the geopolitical situation, national political, legal, and economic environment, the level of corruption and governments, in some the involvement of transnational organized crime in corruption and the traffic of counterfeit goods and illicit economic activities, and the slow improvement of the regulatory environment for the sector.
In three words only, what is the secret to your success?
PASSION, VISION, EXCELLENCE.
Can you tell us about your background and how you got started in the TIC sector?
My journey began with a passion for biology, ecology, and evolution, leading me from Bulgaria to the United States for graduate studies at the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota. After a decade there and after completing my studies for International Business I returned to Bulgaria to lead an industrial M&A project for an American client.
There I saw an opportunity to start a business in the TIC sector - certification and inspection and in 2000 co-founded Moody International Bulgaria with Moody International UK. Within 2 years we became the leading Conformity Assessment Body using an innovative approach to help the country introduce management systems certification in government, healthcare, and education. We assisted in the drafting of new legislation that improved the economy in these new sectors, and the introduction of EU legislation, regulations, and directives. Moody International Bulgaria was given the responsibility to manage the global certification operations of Moody under German Accreditation and founded the Moody Academy, managing auditor training in 36 countries and becoming the leading global auditor training organization.
I assumed various leadership positions in multinational TIC sector companies, reaching the level of Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe. I had a rare opportunity to specialize in Strategic Leadership at the University of Oxford, which greatly improved my leadership awareness. In 2015 I took the position of Chairman of the European Risk Policy Institute - ERPI (www.risk-policy.eu) and later Managing Director of an accredited certification body in South-eastern Europe with a full portfolio of certification services. At ERPI, we work on Strategic Risk Policy® and advise governments and MNCs on Risk Policy and Anticipatory Strategy.
I continue to actively participate in the IAF Technical Committee, ISO/CASCO and continue with my convenorship of the IAF TF on Counterfeiting and projects regionally on fighting fraud, corruption, and counterfeiting.
The biggest factor affecting the TIC industry is digitalization-how quickly and efficiently we will adapt to the digitalization of the world economy to provide the necessary new services and improve and modernize the current ones.
Managing Director of NQA Eastern Europe Ltd
In this exclusive interview, we dive deep into Ivan's experiences, achievements, and insights. Hailing from Bulgaria and with a background in biology, acarology, ecology, and evolution, Ivan's path into the TIC sector is a fascinating one. His pivotal role in the IAF Technical Committee, dedication to combating counterfeiting, fraud, and corruption, with tireless efforts to promote sustainable forest management in South-eastern Europe demonstrate his commitment to driving positive change in the world.
How do you prioritize and manage your workload to ensure success?
Empower the leaders within your teams, delegate, and motivate excellence. Appreciate their professionalism, celebrate success and shoulder responsibilities. Then it is easy to oversee numerous projects to successful completion and the workload is not a burden.
EMPOWER THE LEADERS WITHIN YOUR TEAMS, DELEGATE AND MOTIVATE EXCELLENCE.
What do you think is the biggest factor affecting the TIC industry (certification) at the moment?
Digitalization is paramount- how quickly and efficiently the TIC sector will adapt to the digitalization of the world economy to provide the necessary new services and improve and modernize the current ones. The other factors that pose a great challenge are the global Climate Crisis and Geopolitical Risk which are going to affect the global economy and pose an existential threat to Humanity. We still do not realize how significant the TIC sector is to help to mitigate the risks posed by these developments.
The other important point is not to accept the approach "It's good enough..." - believe in "It is Never Enough!"
What is your approach to leadership and team management?
First, a leader must know him/herself. You must understand what drives you, and what ticks you off, and you must be sincere with your feelings and character. The emotional intelligence of the leader is the one MUST for success, for your people to believe in your vision, and in your knowledge to lead them to achieve it. Then you can say – I lead my people and they follow. Trust and loyalty – you must be the first to offer this to your people for them to give back. This is a two-way street. You do not recruit loyal people-you grow loyalty reciprocally with them. The other important point is not to accept the approach "It's good enough..." - believe in "It is Never Enough!" This is the motto of my work and teams, and yes, this is harder, more expensive but truly rewarding for people and more successful in the long run.