Head of North America and Europe
As the Head of North America and Europe, Petra Barna has hosted events in 4 different continents and has brought many new clients for The Ortus Club from all over the world.
Now based in Europe, we had the chance to ask her what she enjoys the most about her challenging role.
Tell us about your current role at The Ortus Club and how you got there.
I am the Head of North America and Europe and my journey with The Ortus Club has been extremely exciting since day one. I had been working in Latin America, in a role that was similar to the one that the founders of The Ortus Club had previously. I decided to leave my position in search of a more stable life based back in Europe when a recruitment firm called me up, offering me exciting new opportunities. All the roles were outside of Europe, so I wasn’t too keen.
Then one day, they presented me with an opportunity at The Ortus Club and it sounded very compelling. I decided to go for the interview even though I thought I wasn’t senior enough for the role.
I remember it was Easter, my sister was visiting, and we were leaving town for the day. We were sitting on a train and my phone rang, I had been selected out of all of the candidates! I don’t get stressed very easily but this offer made me very nervous, as it was really bad timing in my personal life and I knew it would be a huge move heading to the Philippines to start this new challenging role. I toughened up, said yes and never looked back. I believe it has been one of the best decisions of my entire life.
“I toughened up, said yes and never looked back. I believe it has been one of the best decisions of my entire life.”
What first made you join the Ortus team?
It sounded like a perfect opportunity, where I would learn a lot. I had already worked in sales and was interested in continuing to do so. The Ortus Club was looking for someone who could bring their business to Europe, create an office for them on this side of the world, and help their team expand globally. I was also excited to move to Asia for a while to learn the basics before moving back to my beloved Europe. Little did I know at that point how much potential, growth and fun was awaiting me, and how much I would fall in love with Asia.
What do you like most about working with The Ortus Club?
I feel like I have a lot of independence, and autonomy to do my work how I see best for the company. I love having a client-facing role and the constant challenges involved in managing sales. I am very quantitative and results-driven. I love looking at my numbers and the revenue the whole sales team or I have generated in the given quarter. We have been growing immensely, and I see no limit to it. I love what we do, how we do it, and who we are as a team.
A lot of things changed for businesses all over the world this year, especially in the events industry. Do you think your role changed as a consequence? How?
This year has been challenging for all of us. Our business model has completely shifted. It was astonishing to see how well we could continue our operations. Still, I ended up in another continent far from the rest of the team and found the adaptation particularly challenging. I absolutely loved every aspect of my role before, the travelling, the human interaction and being able to host our events all over the world. As that was not an option anymore, I focused on the other aspects of my role and made great progress in areas which did not have my full attention before.
This change has led to being offered to become the Head of Sales of the company, which came with new responsibilities and challenges. I am still learning a lot about this role and growing into it, but it was a fantastic opportunity for my career. Furthermore, as I was back in Europe, I could already start opening up our European office. Once it was internally approved, we put everything in motion, and in less than two weeks, we set up our new office and team in Rome.
What’s one thing you are excited about, thinking about the future of Ortus?
I am very excited to see how far we will go in the next five years, as I know we have endless opportunities and our services are unique. I truly believe in what we do, and the team we are building is doing an outstanding job. Building the new office and team has been a captivating change. I am looking forward to seeing how we develop and grow from our new European base. But the thing I am most excited about is going back to hosting real life events, hopping on and off planes and welcoming the C-level to our physical events again.