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Mara Steinberga

Mara Steinberga

Mara is a Global People Business Partner at Bolt

  • Location: Riga, Latvia 

  • Corporate title: Global People Business Partner 

  • Company: Bolt Sector: IT 

  • University degree: MBA with focus on HR @ Turiba University, Latvia and Master's Degree in PR @ Turiba University, Latvia

How does your usual day look like?

Even though I normally work remotely from home, my day still is pretty packed. I wake up at 06:15 every morning to get my kids ready for school. Once they are off at 07:20, I have some quiet time to tidy up the house after the morning madness, feed our lovely Cane Corso dog Rocky, hug my husband and then off I go to my home office. As in our company we don't use e-mail for daily communication, I open up the Slack app and browse through the messages. During the day on average I have 4 meetings with either my stakeholders or with various People teams. In between the calls, I collect my steps by running up and down the stairs to either get a snack or let our dog out for a run.

The end of the day is normally around 18:00 when the kids are already back home and we can start the evening madness with dinner prep, school work and some quality family time. As the days start so early in the morning, our night time wash-up routine starts at around 21:15 and then some nice book reading time and lights off before 22:00.

However, if I have to travel to Tallinn office in Estonia, my day looks completely different and most of the time I spend engaging with all colleagues in person, creating positive synergies and loading up on quality time with my beloved teammates. Plus, a never changing tradition - Indian food in my hotel room bed + a chick flick movie. Absolute bliss!

What are the things you like the most about your job?

I have always loved being close to the business and being a business people partner gives me just that - I get to interact with the senior stakeholders of the business and work together with them to create the best working environment for their global teams in 40+ countries. Making a difference globally is what gives you a never-ending sense of accomplishment.

What are some of the skills you utilise the most in your day-to-day at work?

Collaboration skills are extremely essential in my day-to-day life as my role is to serve as a bridge between the business and the people domain. My ability to create strong synergies allows both the business and the people team to achieve the set goals together. And it is so refreshing to invest your time in these high-value relationships that give such great output.

What was one of your happiest days in your career and why?

My happiest day in my career was hands-down a Christmas event I organised in my previous company - it was during the Covid pandemic when big gatherings weren't allowed, but people were allowed to go and work from the office with relevant precautions in place. So I organised a day of Christmas cheer, where in the morning a live brass was welcoming each employee as they entered the office with Christmas songs, we had tasks organised throughout the day that people had to finish in order to participate in a lottery and we had a Santa Claus who went around the office to give everyone gifts. It was such a warm and loving day that I still remember with a huge smile on my face. It was a difficult time for all and I was extremely happy to make this happen.

What was the toughest career decision you ever made?

The toughest but at the same time the most rewarding decision that I had to make, was to leave my previous job. I was emotionally burnt-out and depressed due to previously mishandled trauma that completely drained me. It all started with Covid pandemic as I was working in the aviation industry and my job security completely tanked, in parallel I had my mom pass away unexpectedly and then 2 months later my grandma died in front of my eyes. I never really dealt with grief properly, so I just jumped back into work and shifted my career path from aviation safety to Human Resources. Within a very short time frame grief, trauma and emotional heaviness caught up with me and I lost my drive.

Thankfully, I mustered up the courage to put my mental well-being in the forefront and left my job without a plan B after having a wonderful realisation while being in Malaysia with my beautiful family - nothing else matters, but the ones that you love. Time for myself and my family, therapy and a healthy work environment has gotten me to a place I wish to stay forever - in a peaceful place.

What is something you had to learn to become better at your work?

There is one quote that I will forever cherish and it was shared with me by one of my previous managers who I deeply respect and the original author of the quote was Voltaire: “Don't let perfect be the enemy of good”! At first I didn't really get it, but now as I have matured in my career, I understand that at times perfectionism can actually harm your quality of work, so it is ok to deliver good results. Such a mindset also is so much healthier for your mental well-being.

How did you get to become a Global Business People Partner?

As I mentioned before, I had a career shift 3,5 years ago from aviation safety to human resources. I always felt that I have what it takes to work with people and build up a strong culture. I am thankful that in my previous company I got the chance to make such a drastic shift without previous experience. In aviation you have to learn fast and that is why I got up to speed with everything HR-related within a few months - I went to university to study the topic in parallel as well. Having worked closely with the Board members, I knew exactly what it is like to work with senior stakeholders, so when a job opportunity came up from Bolt to become the Business People Partner for the Rentals and Delivery senior leadership, I didn't think twice to jump in on the new adventure. Best decision I have ever made and I have to thank my manager at the time who saw the potential in me and gave me this opportunity despite me not having all the qualifications in my CV.

What's the career advice to your younger self?

Looking back at my career, I have to say that I am proud of my younger self as she got me to where I am now, but I will say this:”Never, ever let any man tell you that you don't have what it takes! You have everything and more!” I have had challenges in my career when I was deemed as too young or “a woman” in a role that was supposedly meant for a man. So, I am sending positive confidence vibes back to my younger self.

What makes you gracefullyBOLD?

I would like to commend myself for being fully authentic and unique. I have never been the one to fit someone's box, so what you see is what you get. Best compliment I have gotten at work is “You are so not a regular HR person”!

How do you spend your weekend or downtimes?

I would say that weekends are always filled with guests at our home - we have a huge friend circle and we love spending as much quality time together with their families and kids. Apart from that, I cherish the quality downtime and silent evenings with my husband, when our kids are with their grandmother. Not hearing “Mooooooom” 50x per hour is so re-energising and having deep conversations with my husband is exhilarating.

How do you deal with stress and build resilience?

I have never done journaling before, but I have recently started doing it. I am not doing it on a regular basis, but I see that whenever I have too many overwhelming thoughts (both positive and negative), I feel the need to release them and putting them down in a written form is rather therapeutic. Plus, after having such a hard mental breakdown not long ago, I have somewhat taught myself not to stress about the little things anymore as in the long run they don't really matter - that has made me quite immune and resilient.

What would have been your alternative career path or alternative University degree?

This is a fantastic question - hands down I would be a party planner. Ask any of my friends and they can vouch for the fact that the kids parties and the adult parties are the ones to remember.

What are you currently learning or what’s one of the last things you learnt?

I am currently learning to love myself more and not say “No” to my own feelings and priorities. All my life I have given so much love to everyone else around me, but now it is my time to really love myself, so I am taking it day by day.

Who is a (female) professional that inspired you along your career journey?

When going through the recruitment process at Bolt, my final interview stage was with the VP People at the time Kerstin Rothermel. Immediately then and there I thought to myself that I want to learn so much from her, because she embodied confidence, expertise and empathy. That is why I instantly took the chance and asked her to be my mentor when I got the job. She taught me so much and helped me through some tough times not by giving me specific advice, but by asking the right questions and seeing how I will get to the answer myself. She is extremely pragmatic and that is one of the traits that I took from her and try to strengthen in myself as well.

What would you do if you were not afraid?

I would pack my bags with my family and move to a tropical land and start from scratch.

What’s the one question we didn’t ask you, but you’d like to answer?

  • Question: How to you make sure that you are making the world a better place?

  • Answer: I have put myself on a mission that everyday I say something kind and empowering to at least one person - with such a mission I hope to spread kindness and wish that it becomes contagious and is spread further.

The previous interviewee left a question for you! “How do you overcome setbacks and motivate yourself to keep going?”

I think that every setback teaches you something and that is why I cherish every single hiccup, mistake or setback. Don't get me wrong, at first I would have a very strict dialogue within myself as to how I got into such a situation and give myself a bit of a hard time, but at the same time I immediately tell myself: ”Ok, this is done, no turning back, so what next?” And that is how I motivate myself - by coming up with the solution to the problem and not dwelling too much on the issue itself. And after a while I look back and see how that setback has changed the course of my day, week, month or year for the better. That helps cherish every single moment.

One word answers & quick fire round. Let's go!

  • Your superpower: Empathy

  • Favourite restaurant: McDonald's (I'm sorry :D )

  • Favourite fashion brand: Coo Culte

  • Favourite beauty brand: Filorga face creams

  • Favourite perfume: Armani “My Way”

  • Book recommendation: “It Ends With Us” Coleen Hoover

  • Next holiday destination: Ibiza, Spain

  • Your hobby: Gardening

  • Favourite mantra: "One kind word can make a difference in other person's day."

  • Who inspires you? My kids

  • Tea or Coffee: Tea

  • Red wine or White wine: White

  • Morning bird or Night owl: Morning Bird

  • Cat person or Dog person: Dog person

Thank you Mara for sharing your journey & wisdom with us!

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