Viktoria Parker is Supply Chain Manager at AEye. She is APICS-certified with over 15 years experience in supply chain management, inventory control, project management, strategic supplier management, contract negotiation, supplier selection, forecasting, and planning. Prior to AEye, she worked at medical device company Fresenius as Senior Inventory Analyst. She also has semiconductor experience from working for Nikon as a Key Account Spare Parts Planner (Nikon Europe), and as a Senior Materials Planner (US). Originally from Belarus, Viktoria is fluent in four languages and came to the Bay Area in 2006. She holds a BA in Linguistics from Minsk State Linguistics University and a Business Administration Certificate from UCSC.
We sat down with Viktoria to learn about her role as Supply Chain Manager, the differences amongst the medical, semiconductor, and automotive industries, and why she loves dancing the tango!
Q: What are your responsibilities as Supply Chain Manager at AEye?
As Supply Chain Manager, I’m responsible for purchasing, warehousing, inventory control, shipping/receiving, and production planning. It is exciting to be involved and fully engaged in so many areas of the company and to have the unique opportunity to set up processes and establish rules to help make it succeed. AEye has a very inspiring environment with brilliant minds and experts in their fields. It is just a fun crowd to be around!
Q: You’re fluent in four languages: English, German, French, and Russian. How have your language skills been a value to you and your role?
English has been my passion since I was 14 years old. I love linguistics–a fascinating science with its own laws, rules, and exceptions. My first job was working for an American company while still living in Belarus. Most of my business communication was conducted in English. Knowing the language at that time after the Soviet Union collapsed was the leading factor in finding a decent job. Knowing English opened up so many doors! Then I moved to Germany–I mastered German pretty quickly and was hired by the leading Japanese semiconductor company, which brought me to America 7 years later. Sadly, I almost forgot my French along the way. However, a French colleague at AEye is inspiring me to refresh it. I started listening to a French language podcast on my lunch walks. Russian is my mother tongue and it will never be forgotten. I was always lucky to have Russian-speaking colleagues at any company I worked, both in Germany and the US. Same goes for AEye: I have the opportunity to share a Russian joke with my colleague and to talk about the good old days.
Q: You’ve worked in the medical and semiconductor industries – how do they differ from automotive?
The medical industry is highly regulated by the FDA. There are lots of procedures to follow and approvals to collect. The semiconductor industry gives you more flexibility to be creative at the workplace. The automotive industry is regulated even more than medical. The difference is that it is self-regulated. There is no governing body that would shut a company down for violating the rules. However, the rules are even more stringent, established by the industry, which a company needs to follow to be in business. Self-regulation is quite a remarkable factor, showing that automotive companies take safety very seriously and that’s a good thing for us all in the end.
Q: You’ve been taking tango classes! What sparked your interest in tango and what about it do you love?
I’ve been fascinated by tango for a very long time, watching pretty much every episode of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS). When my husband expressed interest in learning it with me, I was thrilled to try. We’ve been taking lessons on and off for over 5 years now. I can tell you that learning tango is a lifetime journey. Tango is a passionate communication without words, an intimate connection between two strangers, where no language skills are necessary.