Whether he’s traveling to other countries, finding a solution to a difficult problem in his role as a Marketing Automation Specialist at WEX, or flying thousands of feet up in the air during his paragliding adventures, Gjorgji Ristovski faces everything in his life with determination, courage, and a creative and passionate spirit. He’s not afraid to take on challenges and more often than not he finds success in his endeavors. Keep reading to learn more about Gjorgji’s career at WEX, his motivations behind everything he does in life, and his journey in the sport of paragliding.
Gjorgji’s background before joining WEX
Gjorgji is a Marketing Automation Specialist for WEX’s fleet operations in Europe. He is currently located at the WEX office in Breda, Netherlands. He is still fairly new at WEX, starting his job in November 2021. Before joining the WEX team, he worked in the tourism industry for four years as a professional paragliding tandem pilot. After that he worked for almost three years on a CRM team for a business in the United Kingdom, where he was in a leadership position for about one and half years.
He says both his professional paragliding position and his role on a CRM team prepared him for his career at WEX. In both roles he learned the best ways to communicate with people, especially when it comes to having a positive attitude when dealing with mistakes or other challenges at work.
“In my CRM role I learned a lot about the business world, like how to communicate with senior leadership teams and how to communicate with peers. And what it’s like to work in a marketing tech career.”
Gjorgji’s role at WEX
As a Marketing Automation Specialist for WEX’s fleet operations in Europe, Gjorgji is the marketing operations team’s dedicated resource for Marketing Cloud. Marketing Cloud is one of the company’s marketing operations tools. People come to Gjorgji with requests about streamlining processes and email development. He also works on projects with the U.S. team and an agency with whom they contract.
On a day-to-day basis, Gjorgji works on projects involving email development and targeting audiences based on certain criteria, mainly using Marketing Cloud. He also works as a business analyst for system migrations, learning the intricacies behind all the different processes at WEX so he can figure out how to improve and automate them. Along with understanding the technology behind these processes, he also has to communicate with everyone on the best ways to improve these processes so they align with everyone’s goals.
Gjorgji says that as his understanding of the WEX business and tools grows, the capabilities and responsibilities he has have grown as well. His role has continued to expand and develop throughout his time at WEX.
“I really like my job at WEX. It’s very challenging for me, but at the same time it gives me a lot of work-life balance. I haven’t been at WEX for very long, but from day one it was a welcoming and supportive environment. It’s a positive culture, I’m confident that my colleagues will understand me and I will understand them, and we are all respectful of each other’s time.”
Working as a team to overcome challenges
Every day Gjorgji looks forward to working with his team at WEX who help him achieve his goals at work and support him through his projects. He enjoys the daily challenges he faces in his role as a Marketing Automation Specialist, and whenever he’s faced with a bigger challenge his team willingly steps in to help with the extra responsibilities “Each day is like an expedition into the marketing cloud tool or into the business processes that already exist or need to be developed.”
Staying social while working remotely
Gjorgji takes every opportunity given to him to gather with other WEXers, Over the past year he was able to meet with his entire WEX team for a couple days for strategy meetings. He’s enjoying getting to know more WEX employees through volunteer activities and holiday parties as well. Working remotely can make connecting with coworkers challenging, so Gjorgji embraces work gatherings as much as possible.“We work so much from home now, but every time we get together we get to know the people we work with better and it keeps work interesting.”
People-first leadership was new to Gjorgji when he joined WEX
One of the main challenges Gjorgji has worked through during his time at WEX is getting used to a different style of leadership than what he’s experienced working at other companies in the past. “This job was a bit of a culture shock for me when I first started, especially with the leadership team I worked with. I was coming from a prior job where there was more of a task-oriented leadership style in place and working at WEX has been a dramatic shift to more of a people-driven leadership culture. It’s been different, but it’s interesting to learn this style of leadership and see how it works at WEX.”
Gjorgji has enjoyed the experience of working for a company that puts its employees first and he feels like this approach is a defining facet of WEX’s culture. While it’s different from what he’s experienced at previous companies, it’s a welcome change for him.
“From my experience, WEX puts people first, and the leadership team doesn’t shy away from communicating that. And not only communicating it, but showing that with their actions. This culture really fits for me and the people-first leadership style is one of the things that stands out to me about WEX.”
Gjorgji’s passion for travel outside of work
Gjorgji leads an active lifestyle outside of work. After moving from Macedonia to the Netherlands, Gjorgji and his girlfriend found a new passion for traveling. Almost every weekend they go to different cities around Europe to explore and experience a new setting. And most of the cities they visit are accessible by car, so road trips with friends have been an exciting new adventure for Gjorgji. His favorite place to visit so far has been Bruges in Belgium. He says he didn’t get to do much traveling when he lived in Macedonia, so getting to know new cities and experiencing different cultures has been an incredible opportunity for him, and it’s a great way to unwind after a busy week of work.
Getting started in paragliding
Gjorgji loves to do outdoor activities on the weekends, whether he’s cycling, running…or flying through the sky! Ever since he was a little kid, Gjorgji has been interested in flying and his favorite toys growing up were always airplanes. His interest in paragliding peaked when he was a child and a group of paragliders came to his hometown. He didn’t know exactly how he was going to learn to fly like that, but he knew he wanted to try. When he turned eighteen, Gjorgji looked up paragliding clubs in his city and signed up for one and as soon as he started, he showed a natural talent for paragliding. Because he learned the techniques quickly and easily, his instructors and team took notice, encouraged his natural skills, and helped him improve. Paragliding quickly took over his life, and his love and talent for it continues to grow.
“I think I always had a competitive side to me. So, I figured I could compete in paragliding and slowly move up in the competitions. I had a lot of failures along the way, but I always enjoyed the flying.”
Gjorgji’s paragliding success
Gjorgji has had an incredible amount of success throughout his years as a paraglider and paragliding instructor. He’s participated in numerous competitions as a professional paraglider and gained his biggest achievement yet, reaching the national level team.
In 2019, Gjorgji competed in the world championships for the Macedonian team. In 2022 he qualified again and had his most impressive result so far, placing in the top five for one of the races.
“I’ve shown that I’m part of the paragliding world and I was able to prove to myself that I can be better than average in a high-level competition, which gave me a level of satisfaction and achievement.”
Flying through the sky
Gjorgji has also started a glider/sailplane course, which he says has reignited his passion for flying. Since sailplanes are similar to paragliding, he feels like he’s learning about paragliding all over again while still getting to try a new activity and have an adventure. He’s looking forward to seeing how much he learns about sailplanes over the next couple years and everything he’ll get to experience while participating in the sport.
Favorite memories from paragliding
“I have so many memories from paragliding, but one that comes to mind is flying with birds. There were specific moments when I got close to big eagles and made eye contact with them, so that’s really unique. I remember it like it was yesterday.”
Gjorgji used to paraglide alone sometimes, but enjoys paragliding with friends since it’s more fun, safer, and adds more value to the whole experience. He loves to fly in a new place and check out the views from a perspective up high in the sky.
“There are endless spots where you can fly. But I think at home in Macedonia, where I first learned to fly, is my favorite. There is a mountain in my hometown where I love to paraglide. That’s my favorite place. It always takes me back to my roots.”
How paragliding has helped him at WEX
The skills Gjorgji has learned from paragliding, especially the mental skills, have helped him with other aspects of his life. He’s brought a lot of his creativity, competitiveness, patience, and strong work ethic that he learned paragliding to his role at WEX.
“I’m sure with any sport, activity, or art where people can express themselves you learn a lot about yourself. The challenges I’ve experienced with paragliding have really influenced how I react to challenges I’m working on at work. You have to find some type of motivation, a reason why it’s important to you. There are definitely a lot of things I have learned through the sport that I can go back to and use in life and in my role at WEX.”
Gjorgji’s role models
Through different points in life, the endless experiences we have, and the countless people we meet, we learn about ourselves and the world, slowly becoming the people we are today. We may not even realize until later down the road how much our daily interactions and relationships with certain people in our lives, whether professionally or personally, teach us lessons and truths we’ll carry with us forever. Gjorgji says he considers himself like a sponge, where he can easily learn from everyone he interacts with and be inspired by many different people. He says there are a lot of influential people in his life, but there are three people that stand out the most for him.
“My first role model is my father, who helped shape the foundations of who I am. Next is my paragliding instructor. Before I met him, I didn’t know anything about leadership, but from him I learned about the people-first leadership style.”
Both Gjorgji’s father and his paragliding instructor have helped develop him into the person he is today, and taught him lessons he still uses now, both personally and professionally. His third role model is his girlfriend, who moved with him from Macedonia to the Netherlands. It’s definitely not easy moving away from your family and friends, but Gjorgji’s girlfriend has been there for him to offer support and be a wonderful travel companion during their weekend trips. He says she is an inspiration for him because of the kind way she treats everyone she meets.
Gjorgji’s advice for his 18-year old self
One of the most important lessons in life is to trust your gut, especially during challenging times. It couldn’t have been easy for Gjorgji leaving friends and family behind when he moved from Macedonia to the Netherlands, but he knew deep down that it was the right choice. “If I was to give advice to my 18-year old self, I’d say to follow your intuition and don’t be afraid to make difficult decisions.”
Whether he’s facing the challenge of flying thousands of feet up in the air or moving to a new home in a new country, Gjorgji knows to trust his instincts and not let fear get in the way of adventure.
WEX is proud to employ someone like Gjorgji who approaches challenge with an endless amount of courage, patience, and creativity. We can’t wait to see what he accomplishes next in both his paragliding career and his career at WEX.
WEX is a leading, global fintech solutions provider, simplifying payments and back-end business processes in the fleet management, benefits management, and corporate and travel payments areas. WEX values diversity and equity and is an equal opportunity employer. Search jobs on our careers site.