From intern to senior leader - Igor's TR journey

When Igor Neumann joined Thomson Reuters as an intern, this is what his desk looked like.

Igor showed this image during Welcome Day at Thomson Reuters Moscow office, and attendees goggled and giggled. Younger generations seemed unfamiliar with half of this stuff. In the span of 15 years, Igor, who began as a Helpdesk Intern, grew into a Senior Leader. Now, Igor runs multiple teams in Russia/CIS and drives Customer Experience & Retention across our Global Growth Organization.

We spoke with Igor Neumann about his career journey at Thomson Reuters. 

What was your career plan (if any) when you became an intern at Thomson Reuters? 

I started my career on Helpdesk in Slovakia and the key goal in my job was simply to help Thomson Reuters clients mitigate issues. But that eventually meant many things! I learned how to communicate effectively, plunged into our products and processes and understood how to navigate in our complex corporate world. 

Where did your aspirations lead you next? 

With time, I went through the new experiences and roles. My plans crystallized more into how to use and grow my potential and passion within our business, how to use every opportunity and challenge I come across to expand my capabilities and skills. So, my career plan was not really about any particular role or business I’d like to operate in, but was more about growth, about opportunities and value I could add.

You have held various roles across several locations. Which was the most remarkable role and why?

It’s really hard to say which particular role stands out. My current double-role of running multiple teams in Russia/CIS and Customer Experience & Retention in our Global Growth Organization has been perhaps the broadest in terms of scope, responsibilities, and exposure. At the same time, all the previous roles brought very important experiences that shaped my career. Be it my first steps with Reuters in Slovakia, the first-time team-leader role in Prague, or the fantastic diversity exposure in Dubai, I would look at it as an overall, blended role with Thomson Reuters!

Nowadays we talk a lot about being not only a manager but also a leader. What do you think the difference is between these two roles? 

I would keep it very simple – for a true leader, I would move the proverbial mountains… A leader inspires you, gives you energy, mobilizes you and makes you think about how to become better, how to go beyond your limits and grow. A true leader makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger and also that you personally matter. 

What have been the major milestones in your journey from Intern to Senior Leader? 

In hindsight, everything seems more obvious. You can always backtrack events or milestones and say, “this is what I did to get where I am.” But if you asked me 10 years ago, ‘what do you need to do to become a senior manager at TR?’ I’m not sure I’d give you a very precise answer.

I rather see it as a combination of all events and decisions. It is about saying yes (or no!) to opportunities, about stretching yourself, about meeting the right people and building your network or about getting a drink with your CFO. Every step in your career matters and shapes your future.

But if there was perhaps one key milestone, I would say it was a realization that, if you focus on your potential, if you perform, develop and live your values, and, of course, build a strong network and personal brand, the opportunities will come to you!

What was the toughest decision in your career?

I think it would be my decision to take a “downgrade” from a managerial role in Prague, to a role of an individual contributor in Dubai. The natural feeling is that your career should always progress upwards (or at least sideways) so this decision was a bit counterintuitive. I wasn’t sure how it would impact my career outlook. At the same time, I felt I should use the opportunity to gain new experience, skills and knowledge about different markets and customers. So, I decided to accept it. And, looking back, it turned out to be a good decision!

You are a Slovak, worked in Dubai, now work in Moscow, leading Customer Experience across Thomson Reuters Global Growth Operation--i.e. from Russia to Latin America to China to Africa. What helps you to collaborate across different cultures? 

It is very easy. We have amazing people around this company and it’s always a great pleasure and opportunity to work with them! But what always helps is to be curious and keep your mind open, to listen and try to understand what others have to say, how they feel. And if you don’t understand, just ask again! With this mindset, you can learn and experience a lot, and it helps you to break any cultural barriers.

Name 3 things that every chosen leader should take into consideration.

I would perhaps mention my own 3 mindset anchors that have been pivotal in my career:

СARE. Put your heart into everything you do, be honest and genuine. When people around you feel that you genuinely care, you’re on a great path of building trust. And trust is the key in our business.

LEARN. Keep your eyes and ears open and use every opportunity to learn – about your customers, about our business and also from people around you. Make learning and development an ongoing component of your career and drive it yourself!

GIVE. Be collaborative, always try to help, share your knowledge and experience. If you give, you create positive energy and empower others around you. And that’s a great foundation for teamwork and growth!

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