In order for a customer to remain satisfied and receive financing on time for their business to thrive, the Operations Department must undertake continuous processes. This is how Aušra Zabielaitė, PayRay Head of Operations, described the importance of this department. The financial specialist explained that most people associate working in a bank with loans, while only a few know about the role of factoring. Nevertheless, Zabielaitė enjoys introducing those around her to this service, to which she has already dedicated ten years of her life.
What was your professional journey before arriving at PayRay? My trip to the financial sector has been planned since I was a child. Even before I started school, I would ask my parents to write math problems, which I would then solve and ask my parents to check whether my calculations were correct. Needless to say, mathematics was my favourite lesson. I chose to study banking and I could not wait to start working in the financial sphere. My first job was in one of the largest banks operating in Lithuania. I enjoyed the work, but after spending eight years there, I knew that I was ready for change. Therefore, when I received the offer to contribute to a newly-established bank, I did not hesitate – it was an opportunity to use both the knowledge I gained during my studies and the experience while working at Swedbank. That is how I joined the PayRay team as a specialist in factoring operations.
What are some of the most common myths about your profession? How would you go about debunking them? I have not heard many myths, but I have noticed that most people associate a bank only with loans. Even though I have been working in factoring for 10 years, I could probably count the people I have met who know what it is on my fingers. Nevertheless, I am happy to know all the subtleties of this product, especially since I have been able to use my experience not only to establish the processes at PayRay, but also to create an internal factoring program.
What are your responsibilities at PayRay? I am currently the Head of Operations. Initially, Paulius Jokšas, Executive Director of PayRay, and myself were the first two specialists to put this department together – we laid down the processes, prepared the contracts, etc. We enjoyed completing every step, and after the first financing client our motivation increased even further. As the portfolio our range of services grew, so did our need for employees – so now our department includes a team of nine who all perform after-sales operations. The processes are ongoing as we strive to maintain customer satisfaction and provide timely funding. There is a lot of tension, but my many years of experience in the financial sector have taught me that having a fulfilling job is the biggest motivation. I am responsible for manoeuvring between paying money to clients quickly and implementing all the procedures necessary to manage the funding risks. We strive to be quick and flexible, but we must not forget to ensure quality, which is why the work of this department is particularly important.
What goals are the priorities for you and for PayRay? As a PayRay employee, my goal is to grow with the company and help it become a modern bank that is well-known throughout Europe. Personally, as a manager, it is very important to have a strong and professional team. I believe that employees work well only when they are satisfied in their role, therefore, communication, a positive environment, emotional support and good collaborations are some of the most important things I try to encourage in this department. I am proud of every member of my team and I believe that together we will achieve the most ambitious goals of the company.
What is your professional motto / approach? I may sound like a perfectionist, but I always strive for the best quality results. Both in my personal life and at work, I feel responsible for every task I take on and I try to complete it to the best of my ability. I cannot work half-heartedly, so I give everything I have to my company. When you love your job, it becomes very easy and the results are gratifying.
What professional advice do you often give to your colleagues? My usual advice for my colleagues, especially new ones, is that it is better to ask the same question 1000 times until you are 100 percent sure than to make one mistake due to uncertainty or ignorance. I believe that making mistakes is human, but even the smallest error in the Operations Department can lead to big losses. When in doubt, my team members know they can always ask questions or receive help from their colleagues.
What are your work habits? How do you start your day and what helps you focus? My workday begins with placing a water bottle on the table to make sure that when I get into work, I do not forget to drink a healthy amount of water. Then I look at the calendar and plan my schedule. Some say that “multitasking” does not exist, but it is impossible to avoid in this field of work. My colleagues sometimes joke that everyone needs me, since I know all the answers. However, it is true that I have been working for the company since its inception, so I know more about some of the processes than my colleagues and I have to deal with many tasks and issues every day. Sometimes I feel exhausted, but at the same time it gives me a rush – everyone wants to feel important and competent in their profession. The knowledge that the work will not be performed on its own helps me to concentrate, so I set my priorities and focus on the work at hand. Early mornings and the end of the workday, when things are less busy, are especially good times for this.
How do you like to spend your free time? Do you have any hobbies? What helps you relax and recharge your batteries? Before the pandemic, I had a rule never to take my work home, because for me home is a place where I can relax completely and regain my energy. During the quarantine, I discovered a new activity that involves filling in pictures with paint or small artificial gems. This hobby requires a lot of care and concentration, so it is a good way to relax and distance oneself from any worries. In addition, my home is now decorated with beautiful handmade art. When the weather is good, I enjoy going on walks to clear my head. I also like listening to music while driving, which helps me relax and lifts my mood in a just a few minutes.
What are your current interests? Lately, I have been reading books about psychology and self-analysis. I am also interested in techniques for time management and streamlining, because I often think that I could get so much more done if only there were more hours in the day.
Espresso or cappuccino? Milk with coffee :). Even a very small dose of caffeine affects me strongly, so I have difficulty falling asleep in the evening. Therefore, I rarely drink coffee. My colleagues call my preferred drink “coffee-flavoured milk” because it contains about 3 to 4 parts milk and one part weak coffee. But who knows, maybe someday I will reach the level of espresso?...