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Breaking Expectations: Lepaya’s Visionary Leaders in Transformation

Breaking Expectations: Lepaya’s Visionary Leaders in Transformation

Written by:
Georgia Hobbs
Reviewed by :
Date created
March 2, 2023
Last updated:
June 26, 2024
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5 min read
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Key takeaways

• Growing up in post-Communist Romania, Lavinia Mehedințu was inclined towards stable jobs, yet her parents encouraged her entrepreneurship.

• Lavinia is the co-founder of Offbeat, a platform connecting learning professionals, fostering positive change in Eastern Europe's learning community, and driving profitability.

• Her leadership journey involved breaking expectations, stepping into a leadership role, and dealing with pressures as a founder and team leader.

• Lavinia's role models and influencers, along with her self-awareness and understanding of her audience, have been crucial in her success as a people-centric leader in transformation.

• Lavinia's creation of Offbeat reflects her passion for helping people develop and learn, making her a leader in people and business transformation in 2023.

“I was born and raised in post-Communist Romania, which impacted the mindset I grew up with. We weren’t nurtured towards entrepreneurship, but rather towards securing a stable job and keeping it for as long as we could. Luckily, my parents saw that I could do more and they were always part of my support system.”

We identified 30 leaders in people transformation. These leaders are the catalyst for people growth and fresh revenue streams in tight markets. But each nominee has their own unique story behind their leadership. We’re taking a closer look at one of the leaders who made this list to understand their success in people and business transformation.

Lavinia Mehedințu

Lavinia is the co-founder of Offbeat, a community-based platform that connects and develops learning professionals. But finding her way to a senior learning position and founding a company meant Lavinia had to break expectations.

How did Lavinia bring positive change to people in the eastern European learning community while building a profitable business that reflected her passion?

A Passion that helps the World

“The first time that I had to think seriously about what I want to end up doing was in high school when I was preparing for uni. And for different reasons, mostly pushed by my parents, I first chose to be a lawyer.

But in between, I was participating in an international exchange where we were talking a lot about doing what you love and the importance of being passionate about your work. When I went back home, I said, ‘Okay, I definitely have no passion for becoming a lawyer.’ Then it was all about exploring and experimenting until I found that thing that I’m good at, that the world needs. That ended up being learning.”

Starting Offbeat

“When I became a people manager at my previous company, I could see the lack of skills and knowledge when it comes to L&D.

And on the other hand, I also wanted to learn as an L&D leader, so I started with a newsletter for learning professionals with all kinds of cool resources. And then the network just expanded. It started opening doors for me and I got to meet amazing people from all over the world.

For me, when I was thinking: ‘What can I do next? How can I build Offbeat?’, social learning was very important. I naturally ended up on the path of community building, and bringing people together. So that’s what we’re doing now.”

Stepping into a Leadership Role to help the Wider Community

“It wasn’t something planned to become a leader. Although in my early career, I would see people managers as these gods leading teams of people.

When my team restructured, my former people manager said: ‘Okay, you can do this, you have what it takes.’ But I think what convinced me was this higher impact that I can have on the team as a leader.”

Leadership Pressures of a Learning Founder

“Being a leader of a team brings different pressures than being the founder of a startup. And I think if you’re doing both, the pressure comes bottom up and top down.

When I say top down, I mean everything that has to do with investors, staying up to date with constant market growth and your decision-making process has to be so quick to compete in this marketplace.

The bottom up pressure is that people expect you to be a certain way. They expect to be listened to, they expect to be seen and for their strengths to be used.

Sometimes the two just crush you from both sides and if you don’t know how to wiggle yourself out of different situations, it can just burn you out.”

Lavinia’s Role Models & Influencers

“I was lucky enough to have a whole spectrum of people managers: some were very focused on people and others more so on business. I had something to learn from each of them.

Even before being a founder, the CEO of my previous company – eMAG – was inspiring. The way he communicated his learnings with us and how he set the vision for the company was very inspiring to see at a young age

When I became a founder, my network had other founders that understand what I’m going through. And I’m lucky enough to have founders in my network from the EdTech space. Apart from understanding the leadership pressures, they understand very profoundly the pressures of building something in the education space.

On the other hand, I also intentionally connected with founders building for other markets. While they might not understand profoundly the problem I’m trying to solve, they still have deep insights about building something out of nothing.”

The most Dangerous Leadership Attribute

“I think the need to control everything. You need to be very aware when you’re building a startup what you can control and what you can’t control.

On the other hand, when you’re leading a team, it’s very dangerous because people don’t like to be micromanaged and they tend to lose motivation.

Also you can’t be efficient enough, flexible enough or fast enough in the market when you want to control every small detail. I think that that’s very dangerous on the business side, on the people side and even for yourself because you quickly burn out.”

Versus the Most Powerful Attribute

“The first one is understanding very intimately who you’re building for. I’m lucky enough to build for an audience where I’ve been so I can speak the same language. I understand the challenges very well because I’ve had them. So constantly being in touch with the gaps and problems your audience has and trying to build your solution for those challenges is extremely important.

On the other hand, self-awareness is important because when you’re a founder, it’s confidence crushing when you put yourself out there and expose yourself.

Having self-awareness leads to confidence because I know that I am bringing something to the table and having that in your journey as a founder is extremely important to keep your motivation.

So customer acumen and self-awareness are a good combination.”

A People-Centric Leader in Transformation

Lavinia’s story has one recurring thread: building a community to help transform and inspire people.

From rejecting a career path as a lawyer to the founder of Offbeat, Lavinia has fixated on helping people to develop and learn. And her leadership role was a step to broaden this impact and fulfill her passion for learning.

By building a network outside and inside the learning industry, Lavinia had the support to grow as a founder and a business. As well as having a real connection and understanding of Offbeat’s audience to build meaningful customer solutions and accelerate Offbeat’s growth.

The people from Lavinia’s network have built her awareness of leadership dangers and powerful attributes to build Offbeat’s community. As a leader, Lavinia isn’t controlling people but rather giving them the space to perform, grow and impact Offbeat’s organizational goals.

Lavinia’s creation of Offbeat today is a community of growth, wide impact, connection, her personal identity, people support and learning. Making Lavinia a leader in people and business transformation to be reckoned with in 2023.

Discover all 30 leaders in people transformation who are helping businesses reach organizational targets here.

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About Lepaya

Lepaya is a provider of Power Skills training that combines online and offline learning. Founded by René Janssen and Peter Kuperus in 2018 with the perspective that the right training, at the right time, focused on the right skill, makes organizations more productive. Lepaya has trained thousands of employees.

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