Advantage

Cool girls rent!

At Fjong, the main rule is «she invests». With over 150 women on the owner side, they bring sustainability and sharing economy to the fashion world.

Cristina Zgherea

Position: CFO

Employer: Fjong

Executive MBA in Global Business

In Fjong, we try to get people to change the way they consume clothes, based on a vision of sustainability.

Even before Cristina Zgherea was ten years old, she had been in and out of the emergency room with broken legs from play and activity countless times. The young girl was rarely afraid to test or explore the world. Originally from Romania, Cristina came to Norway in adulthood through demanding jobs in international groups, the financial crisis, and the willingness to try. The latter became crucial when she chose to go from a large organization to a small technology company in the scale-up phase.

- The only constant in life is that everything changes. Being exposed to a smaller and more dynamic environment like here in Fjong makes you more familiar with change, Cristina explains the job change.

What is the link between your MBA program and your current position?
- One of the study gatherings was at Berkeley, with a focus on entrepreneurship. We were going to make a business case in groups, and I managed to convince my group that renting out handbags is a fantastic idea! In research for the case, I came across Fjong, and it turned out to be the start of a relationship that led me here.

What made you choose an Executive MBA at BI?
- Taking an MBA is about so much more than just subjects. I wanted to expand my opportunities, something an MBA does. Both through new competence, but just as much through being forced to reflect, being exposed to close collaboration without a hierarchy, and being presented new opportunities. In a small country like Norway, networks are also critical.

What kind of leadership ideals did you get from BI?
- I learned a lot about myself as a leader through reflection and understanding of my personality. Also, relational leadership was a significant focus, how I, as a leader, can create close and valuable relationships with those around me.

What makes your industry and your company rewarding to work in?
- At Fjong, we try to get people to change the way they consume clothes, based on a vision of sustainability. Many people who buy clothes - especially fashionable clothes, wear the clothes very rarely. If we can contribute to fewer people buying clothes to have them hanging unused in the closet, but rather divide and rent so that each garment produced is used several times, then we are helping to make a difference.

How have you gotten so many women to invest in you?
- When we were to bring in new capital, we chose to run public financing where we set up everything ourselves. We announced it to our members and on social media, and we ended up setting a Norwegian record in both public funding and the proportion of women. 83% of those who have invested in us are women.

What challenges do you spend the most energy on as a leader?
- The most challenging thing in my job is to make sure that everyone stays focused, and agrees on the importance of focus in everyday life where we try to be fast and innovative.

What has been the biggest challenge in your professional life?
- When I moved here, I gave myself little time to take in the experience beyond working life. I ignored the fact that we are all just human beings and that it takes time to adapt to local cultures.

What are you most proud of having contributed to?
- I simply believe it is that I have been seen as a professional and reliable no matter what industry I have worked in. I think it is about having universal skills and being an active contributor to where I am.

Which of your personal qualities have you benefited most from in your work?
- My curiosity, reliability, and the ability to never give up. But what I have developed the most in recent years is patience and the ability to really listen to those surrounding me.

What is the most important experience you bring from your studies?
- I learn a lot about working with people in a system where everyone is equal. As a student, no one is above or below each other; all collaboration must take place on an equal level. It is exciting and provides a different type of interaction.