Nikoleta Popkostadinova

Nikoleta Popkostadinova

Marketing Communications and Responsibility Director


Be Nice, Be Smart, Make Things Happen. Those are not just words on a wall, but something that is deep-rooted in the company culture.

In 2015 surprisingly and experimentally to her, Nikoleta joined Melon and here she is – 8 years later still rocking our Marketing Communications and more. Nikki graduated with Journalism and Mass Communications from the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), and earned a Master of Science degree in Communication Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. Despite her vast experience as a journalist and editor with some of the most trustworthy media outlets in Bulgaria and Europe, she accepted the challenge to deep dive into the software development world and took over Melon’s Marketing Communications. 

“When Svarc, Head of People at Melon, invited me, I was surprised and amazed. It was a curious experiment for both of us. In a nutshell, I saw the job as creating tons of various types of content for an unfamiliar industry,” Nikki remembers. What stood out the most to her were the company's values: Be Nice, Be Smart, Make Things Happen. "Those are not just words on a wall, but something that is deep-rooted in the company culture," she says.

How did you first find out about Melon?

I knew that it was a Bulgarian software development company founded by AUBG alumni. Another AUBG friend worked there and spoke very highly of the people and the environment. It sounded like a fun and smoothly running place. Then out of the blue, Svarc invited me to a lunch. I knew him only by reputation. I was very surprised when he offered me the job. I asked him if he knew what I do. And he said that he got good recommendations from people he trusts. And that skills, character and work ethics come first. Industry knowledge is something that can be quickly acquired. I had just left Edno, where I was fundraising for international contemporary arts and culture projects and just won a Reach for Change Bulgaria’s grant to start my own project LoveGuide – sexual health education for teenagers. So, it was a great timing to jump into a new journey.   

What was the company like back then? 

Fun, easy-going, cozy. A place that I would gladly wake-up in the mornings and go to every work day. We were some 150 people in three offices in Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo and Skopje. Locally, we knew each other well and enjoyed working and hanging out together.

What is it like now?

The company has grown significantly. Now we have over 320 IT specialists in Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Kosovo. Last year, Melon became part of the global digital transformation agency Kin + Carta, which has over 2,000 people in Europe and the Americas. The guiding principle was that we were joining a much larger business, but with the same values and culture as ours. Not just in words, but with real care for the people and the planet.

As all of our teams - Web & Mobile, Big Data/AI, DevOps, QA and UX/UI have expanded and evolved, so has my team. Eight years ago, it was Svarc and me. He was also a managing partner and in charge of several engineering teams. Now, at our weekly meetings we are 15 people from 5 countries, specialists in Employer Branding, Employee Experience, Talent Acquisition, and of course Marketing. I take care of our marketing communications, brand appeal and integrity, and our social responsibility program that I launched in 2018. And I help others as much as I can.

What do you like the most about Melon?

Melon has given me the freedom, within our goals and values, to develop and add new projects and initiatives for the company. Such as our outstanding social responsibility program, which we all, including Kin + Carta, are very proud of. Melon gave me the flexibility to create and grow outside of the company LoveGuide – a platform for sexual health education for teenagers with a proven social impact.

What is it like to be a marketing person among so many software developers? 

I’ve been a marketing person among software developersalmost ¼ of my life so that’s my natural habitat now. And it’s grown on me. Eight years ago, we were unfamiliar species. I studied them, they studied me, and we all decided that we are a good fit, like the birds that hitch a ride atop a rhino's back in perfect symbiosis and harmony. 

What have you learned at Melon?

How to build a good team. Outsource and delegate. Tailor-made approach to each and every individual I work with. Now, I am trying to learn to let go.

What was the biggest challenge you had in your career life so far?

Juggling that many balls. And juggling them well. 

What is the thing you are the proudest of?

My daughter and what my LoveGuide and Melon Marketing teams have accomplished the past 8 years. My daughter is an inspiration. Equipping thousands of teenagers and young people with the right information at the right time in the right way so that they can make safe and healthy decisions about their personal and sexual lives is a fulfillment. Taking good care of and developing Melon’s brand is a huge opportunity.       

What do you do in your free time?

I try to help my seventh grader with her upcoming exams at the end of the school year, travel as much as we can, snowboard and windsurf.