Sofia Stoimenova

When you were ten years old, what did you think you would be doing today?

I had never looked that far ahead; perhaps because I was just too busy being a child. It never occurred to me that I’d end up a doctor and making a career with the Red Cross.

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?

I would have to say with friends. In this line of work, I have had the good fortune to meet many people from different countries and various backgrounds. Childhood friends from back home in Bulgaria, corporate leaders, dignitaries of countries, volunteers, youth, etc. It has been my privilege to be able to call them my friends. Each individual has helped to enrich my life further.

Tell us what you do at the IFRC. What has your most rewarding experience been?

This year, I started as the head of corporate affairs for the Asia Pacific zone. I have previously worked in various positions within the Movement, most recently (and for eight years) as the director general of the Bulgarian Red Cross. Each experience has been extremely rewarding in different ways, but I think the most exciting time was working with Red Cross youth volunteers. I find our youth volunteers to be very inspiring and engaging.

What attracted you to the IFRC and your position? What is your favourite thing about your job?

After years of working at different positions at my National Society, starting from volunteer to Secretary General, I have worked with many Movement and external partners and have done shorter missions for IFRC. I felt, I would like to engage more, to contribute and bring added value with my experience. My favourite is the opportunity to contribute to NSs development and capacity enhancement. I believe we have not only the traditions and expertise, etc. but we need to be modern, adaptive, adequate to fast changing environment, to influence and partner better and walk the talk.  

What has been your most memorable moment (so far) in your job?

Definitely not only one, most memorable for me are always the moments related to visits to National Societies, meetings with volunteers, staff, leaders, people in need, etc. Visiting the affected people in Philippines some time ago, I was thinking about the growing vulnerability of people in many parts of the world and again how to better translate our strategic documents at the language of our volunteers and staff, how to implement them and how to build networks and partnerships to better address the challenges.

What qualities do you feel are necessary to be a successful employee at the IFRC?

It depends on the position, role and responsibilities. The necessary qualities are adequate combination of competences, skills and values (accountability, integrity, professionalism, communications skills and teamwork, building alliances, innovative, etc.). For example Head of Delegation position is one of the key positions, it requires strong skills and competences in HD, OD, etc…to be able to competently assist NSs and do the job.

What are the positive things about working at the IFRC?

The shared values; understanding of Strategy 2020; high respect of local context, NS Strategic Plans and priorities; high professionalism; applying same standards/speaking one language; openness, support to innovative approaches, teamwork and high commitment in Asia Pacific.


Head of corporate affairs, Asia Pacific zone, Kuala Lumpur