We sat down with Ivan Dimoski and Aleksandra Geric, husband and wife Co-Founders of personal and team development platform Moonwise, to discuss their journey so far and the challenges that lie ahead.
The Moonwise Journey
Prior to setting up Moonwise and arriving in Sweden 5 years ago, Aleksandra and Ivan worked in their native Macedonia. Aleksandra started her career at a non-governmental organization that focused on improving democracy in developing countries. Upon moving to Sweden, Aleksandra reskilled in programming and worked as a junior backend developer at a fintech first, then as a consultant in a number of other companies. While in these positions, she kept coming up against the same patterns.
“I worked with politicians, with media, NGO professionals, software developers…I worked with very high-level professionals. There is this thing that constantly comes up, over and over again, this lack of understanding of each other. I found myself in all my workplaces, very often mediating conversations, even though that was not my job. And then eventually, during the engagement with one of my last clients, I understood that this thing inside me was so loud and obvious, and that I actually wanted to be the mediator in communication .”
While Aleksandra was seeing this pattern in the teams she was working with, Ivan was also seeing the same pattern in his engineering teams.
“I would say that in all of my years of experience in the tech industry, the limitations are always around communication. Engineers have their own agenda, product owners have another, managers a third one. And what makes a team effective is how efficiently we can communicate these agendas, and agree upon a common ground.”
With both Ivan and Aleksandra being passionate mindfulness practitioners, it felt only natural to try some of these techniques with a few of the engineering teams that they were working with.
“Once you get them to open their mind about these things, you can see people really relaxing and opening up, and you can see how the communication instantly improves. Everything becomes kind of lighter, better, and suddenly there is more understanding. You can see people realising that they’re human.”
That was two years ago, but it very much laid the foundation for what would later become Moonwise. Slowly the idea was built up, with both Ivan and Aleksandra discussing it often. Eventually, they decided to just go for it.
“We had many people saying, with very good intentions, that it wasn’t a good time to start any business, especially not anything like this. On the other hand, we thought, with everything going on, it was the perfect time to start a mission like this. We always need more mindfulness, especially when times are hard.”
And that is what Moonwise is all about. It supports organizations on a professional level and individuals in a more personal level in adopting mindful practices that enables them to communicate in an efficient, honest, empathetic and non-violent manner. This results in more meaningful relationships, increased engagement and job satisfaction, as well as a deeper, more profound approach to life.
Working as a Freelancer While Scaling a Company
While being engaged with Moonwise, Ivan has been working on a contract basis with Tradera, part of the PayPal’s family and Sweden’s largest marketplace for pre-loved goods. He joined their team to help scale their Android offering, as Tradera is entering a crucial stage of their development.
“We are in the middle of a huge refactoring and modernization of the existing code base to support the expansion, fueled by the shift of the consumer behavior due to the pandemic, and also by users outside of Sweden being interested in trading through Tradera.”
The decision to keep working at Tradera was taken to support the development of Moonwise. Finding the balance has been a challenge for Ivan.
“When you own a business, there is no 9-5. Scaling a business is challenging and sometimes I find it difficult to practice what we preach. In order for us to succeed, we need to have a clear mind and an open heart at any time. And how do you maintain that while handling the operational and development side of a business that can be very unpredictable while working as a full time consultant? And we always find the answer in our practice.”
The Challenges Ahead for Moonwise
For Aleksandra, one of the key issues she’s facing at the moment is coming to terms with the fact that the spirituality that she has enjoyed throughout her life is now a ‘for profit’ venture.
“I think that this was the hardest part for me to accept, to embrace the idea that it’s okay to make mindfulness my (paid) job. And it took a lot of work, all of this certification that I’ve been doing, taking steps back, making the process slower, in order for me to grow into the idea. If it was up to me, I would always just give it for free, all the time, everywhere, as I absolutely still do through our Moonwise Community.”
Check out Moonwise on their website.