As a teenager, Anna Dimitrova lived through the collapse of communism. Her father, who suddenly lost his job back then, taught her how to look for new opportunities. Exactly 20 years ago, she went to Germany, in order to study. She has been working there ever since. At first, she had a Greencard, by now she has a German passport. Today, Anna Dimitrova is one of the few Eastern European top managers in Germany, holding a high position at Vodafone.
In an interview with the Handelsblatt daily she said she had never run into prejudice because of her gender. But she was discriminated against because of her Bulgarian origin. After studying economics at Sofia University and at Erlangen-Nuremberg University, she did her business degree with the best grades of the entire faculty. But, when she applied, an HR person asked her what she was better at, compared to German applicants. In the Handelsblatt interview, Anna Dimitrova said, she was furious back then, since that question had implied Bulgaria was a backward country.
To her opinion, her birth country is further ahead, regarding gender equality, than Germany.
Asked, by the Handelblatt interviewer, what made her leave the country, she said it was a business idea. In Austria, she had seen how colourful clothing could be, while in Bulgaria everything had been grey, brown and black. She had wanted to work in the fashion business, in order to offer colourful clothing in Bulgaria, after the changes.
Anna Dimitrova finally applied at D2, the predecessor of Vodafone, as a manager for tariff development. The rest is history.
In Germany, there is inequality indeed, when it comes to salaries and high positions in large companies. And there is discrimination against Eastern Europeans. For that reason, an Eastern European woman, taking over the “Strategy and Digital” division of a huge German company like Vodafone, as its top manager, is an exception.