Please see the interview with Nino Mamisashvili – Chief Financial Officer at Pepsi-Iberia Refreshment.
First of all, please tell us about your success story, what stages you went through, what difficulties you faced and what stage you are at now?
First of all, thank you for your interest. I believe that a great deal of work is needed before a special success, however, I consider the main achievement to be the fact that I never stopped on my career path and I always got excitement and pleasure from this journey. I started my career in the international auditing company BDO. After some time, I decided that my heart was drawn to corporate finance. After this change, over the years, I had the opportunity to work in various fields in such big companies as Spar Georgia, Elite Electronics, Pepsi Georgia, etc. It was a turning point in my career when, after several years of work in the Horeca sector, I received an offer for the position of financial director of S.S. Foodmart, Spar Georgia. At that time, the company was in the stage of registration and had a plan to turn the negative shareholders’ equity into a positive one and achieve significant growth for chains operating in the retail trade business. I accepted this challenge with great enthusiasm, although I had no experience in this field before. In 2013, retail trade was just beginning in our country, there was still no such great experience and international best practices had not been implemented in the market. The first correct step was to gather talented and motivated employees in a team, with whom we created all the processes completely from scratch with tireless work and introduced appropriate systems. In the end our efforts were not in vain and the company began to generate ever-increasing positive operating profit. It was a great experience to work with international financial institutions, both in the direction of fundraising and the fulfillment of further established covenants. Over the years, I have touched all areas of finance and business, along with a number of successful fundraising projects, I have accumulated significant competence in the field of commerce as well. I also held the position of Deputy General Director at Elite Electronics, the country’s largest chain of electrical appliances stores. Together with my friend and colleague, I founded a financial consulting services company in 2019 with the aim of helping companies set goals and achieve them with quality financial services. At the same time, I was leading the so-called “merger” project of Spar Georgia. Since 2019, I have been the financial director of JSC Iberia Refreshments – Pepsi Bottler in Georgia, and I enjoy moving to all the next levels with an extraordinary team.
What was the biggest challenge on your career path, an obstacle that seemed insurmountable at first, but you were able to overcome?
I take any next step in my career as a challenge. In fact, what I love most is tackling challenges. I can confidently say that the experience and interests gained over the years have made me a so-called crisis manager. In all crisis situations, undesirable results, difficulties, I began to look for opportunities and to see them logically, which is the cornerstone on the way to turn difficulties into opportunities. If we are specific, from the point of view of that time, the turnaround of Spar Sakrtvelo and Pepsi Georgia was a big challenge, however, if you do everything consistently and planned and you have the proper stubbornness and endurance, the desired result is inevitable.
Experience has taught me that there are no insurmountable difficulties if we approach them from the right side. Often things seem insurmountable and situations seem insurmountable, but at this point my recipe is to sleep with my insurmountable issue, be open to all worst-case scenarios, and then confidently begin to formulate a plan of action to overcome the challenge.
What is your main motivation to keep moving forward?
I am a self-motivated person, my motivation increases proportionally to the challenge. It is difficult to explain in one word the factors that give me strength and energy, the so-called fuel to continue moving forward. Perhaps, first of all, the desire to make the impossible possible, to make significant changes that positively affect people’s well-being, curiosity and the desire for progress. I am a mother of 2 children and I want to be a role model for them all the time, and this requires a lot of work. On this way, you can periodically stop, take a break, it is logical, in order to gather strength to climb further heights.
As we know you are Chief Financial Officer at Pepsi–Iberia Refreshment. Tell us more about your company and your current activities there.
Iberia Refreshments is a member of Revere Group, an international investment company. Revere is a multi-profile investment fund, in the direction of FMCG in certain countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia, it owns the exclusive license of PepsiCo bottling, and is a distributor of Nestle and PepsiCo snacks.
Iberia Refreshments is the exclusive bottler and snack distributor of PepsiCo in Georgia, and also produces its own brand energy drink “Maxx power” and lemonade “Iberia”. I joined Pepsi Georgia more than 1.5 years ago, while the company was trying to move to another stage of its development. The great experience of the members of our investment group in different spheres and the right vision in the direction of both team recruitment and business development were decisive for me in making the decision to join the company. As the company moved to a new stage of development, the top and middle management was largely recruited from scratch. Together with the new team, we overcame big challenges and moved the company to new tracks. By working with the shareholders and the supervisory board, as well as with the newly formed top and middle management team in the mentioned group, I get new interesting experiences every day and I believe that the team is the main driving force that leads Pepsi Georgia to success.
The development plans are quite ambitious both in terms of production expansion and distribution business development. In response to these challenges, we plan to build a new large enterprise and logistics center.
Tell us a few words about your future plans, is there any initiative or project that you are planning to launch?
My immediate plans are related to supporting the construction of the Pepsi factory and logistics center. In addition, in the direction of consulting, I intend to strengthen my efforts to help promising companies to set their goals and achieve them by providing qualified financial consulting services to the market, to make financial resources available to them.
I also plan to continue my development and go through the Executive MBA program, therefore preparation for this is in my plans in the near future.
Finally, limiting ourselves to the traditional question, what would you advise aspiring professionals and young people who are now taking their first career steps?
It is undoubtedly an interesting question. I would advise young people who are currently embarking on a career path to find what they really love and are passionate about and make it their profession. This formula is recommended not only for people in career warehouses. A person may discover late what is closest to his nature, but doing what he loves is such a pleasure that I consider it tantamount to self-betrayal to refuse it. I believe that a person does best only what he loves and is passionate about.
I would advise novice professionals to always strive for the top and put maximum energy and effort into work, not to refuse any unnecessary task, to accept it as a gift that helps them gain and develop universal experience. Hard work may not be directly proportional to career advancement and increased pay, but I believe and know that sooner or later it will definitely pay off.