“If my team is happy, our customers will be too.”

Georgia Tsatsa

Store Manager

Store Manager

If store associates are happy, customers will be happy too. That’s the belief that drives Georgia Tsatsa, Retail Manager at one of Alfa Beta’s stores in Athens. “I want my colleagues and our customers to enter and leave the shop with smiles on their faces.”  
Seven years ago, Georgia was working in another company’s HR department when she learned about a traineeship at Alfa Beta. Until that point, her career had been somewhat ‘coincidental’. When she graduated with an economics degree, the Greek economy was in crisis. Needless to say, this made it extremely difficult to find a job in her domain. She enjoyed her HR role, but also knew it wasn’t the right fit for her. “When I read about the traineeship, I was immediately interested. I was obviously familiar with the Alfa Beta brand and realized that working for such a big company could open up a world of opportunities for me. One aspect of my job at the time that I didn’t really like was the fact that I wasn’t really learning anything new. I was convinced that I’d have a better chance at developing myself professionally at Alfa Beta.” 

The traineeship served as a year-long dive into the organization. The experience is very hands-on: trainees spend the entire time working in all the different departments of the store. “I loved it from day one – the interaction with the customers and my colleagues, the store’s dynamics, everything. A store is such a lively place; it’s like a person who’s constantly on the move. There’s always something happening – a problem to be solved or a challenge to be tackled. I’m the sort of person who’s always moving too, so I immediately felt right at home.”   
When she started the traineeship, Georgia thought it might be a good way to possibly get back into the finance domain one day. But as the training progressed, her goals shifted. Six months into the program, Georgia was promoted to assistant store manager – an opportunity that’s usually only given to trainees at the end of the year. “I was incredibly excited and proud. From then onwards, it feels like I kept developing both personally and professionally, and that continues today. When I was offered a position in AB’s finance department two years after my promotion, I didn’t have to think long about my answer: it was an obvious ‘no’. I wanted to stay right where I was: in the store.”  


That’s because Georgia thrives in the store. But she doesn’t want to be the only one thriving; it’s important to her that all her colleagues feel just as happy. Ensuring this can obviously be challenging from time to time. Recently, Georgia was assigned to a new, bigger store, which means managing a bigger team. “There are 52 people in this store’s team and they’re a great bunch. Age-wise, the team is very diverse too: the youngest person is 20; the eldest is 62. It’s my number one goal to make sure they’re all content and are enjoying their work. If the team is happy, our customers will be too! I want everyone – both our customers and my colleagues – to enter and leave the store with smiles on their faces.” 

Leading by example 

How does she achieve this goal? “Prioritizing personal contact is key to establishing and maintaining relationships with customers and my colleagues. I try to greet every customer in the store and I’m always double-checking that they can find what they need and are having a good shopping experience. Interactions with colleagues obviously go beyond simply greeting them in the morning and saying goodbye at the end of the day. I try to really connect with everyone: I ask them how they’re doing, how their family is and whether they’re having a good day. I want the team to know that I’m there for them if they need me. Plus, I really work with them: I stock shelves and pack goods right alongside them.

I believe it’s very important to lead by example: you will always see me with a smile on my face, for instance. People often ask me how it’s possible for me to always be smiling, but my happiness actually comes from within – I’m generally a very positive person. Of course I have bad days too, but I leave any negativity behind when I go to work.”   
It’s probably fair to describe Georgia as a bit of a workaholic. The store is open for six days a week from 8am to 9pm, and she is generally there for five of those days, sometimes for up to 10 hours a day. “My colleagues regularly joke that I might as well move a bed into the store so I can sleep there too. Before my son, Grigoris, was born, I actually might have considered it,” she says, laughing. “But since he’s been around, life has become completely different. I still love my work, but I miss him when I’m not at home. On my free days, I really try to switch off from work and devote all my time, energy and attention to him. I’ll be honest, it’s not always easy. There are occasions when I think about work while I am playing with him. But then again, he’s always in the back of my mind when I am working. My mind is actually constantly in two different places,” says Georgia with a smile.”  


Name: Georgia Tsatsa (1988) 
Started working at AB Vassilopoulos: February 2016 
Studied: MSc Banking and Finance (University of Piraeus, 2015)  
Living with: My husband, George, and our son, Grigoris 
Hobbies: Swimming and traveling. George and I traveled a lot before Grigoris was born – we visited New York, Singapore, Dubai, Bali and many European countries. These days, we travel only within Greece, but luckily, it’s such a beautiful country. When Grigoris is slightly older, we hope to start traveling more broadly again  
Wake me up in the middle of the night for: Vanilla mastic ice cream 
Favorite holiday destination: Crete 
Life-changing event: The birth of Grigoris 
Biggest source of inspiration: My family 
Best advice I’ve ever received: ‘Always be yourself and keep smiling’

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