When it comes to mainstream media in an election year, social media gets a bad rap in regard to politics and leadership. But maybe it’s not always that way.
On the other side of the world from San Diego, Bulgarian Mayor Pavel Gudzherov is making the most of modern media tools to show progress, engage his community and join the conversation.
“Social media is not good or bad,” explains Rakovski Mayor Pavel Gudzherov on the Digital Hospitality podcast. “It’s the way that you use it.”
For Pavel, he’s using it for good. Serving a town of 27,000, Pavel and his team are showing the progress they’re making on the roads as well as their response to the pandemic. They’re doing this online and they’re doing it often.
Why? Because Pavel loves his community and his country.
“Bulgaria is maybe the best place in the Balkan and maybe in all of Europe,” beams Pavel.
“It’s a great country. We have everything. We have mountains. We have seas. I think Bulgaria is one of the best places for living in the world. It’s an incredible place.”
As a leader, Pavel is doing major things for his community both on the scene and behind the scenes. Having hosted Pope Francis to his town and now guesting on our very own Digital Hospitality Podcast, Pavel makes time for all people because he has so much love for his town.
“We have jobs, we have good food, we have everything you want from a big city,” notes Pavel. “You can drive to have fun, not have traffic and have everything you want for a peaceful life.”
On the day to day, Pavel and his team are working on the roads and working on building arenas and sporting facilities for their community.
This work does not go unnoticed because he’s smart enough to share it on social media. “We have a Doctorate of Marketing focused on social media,” shares Pavel.
“You can’t be out of the conversation when it’s about you. What you do, what you didn’t do, it’s best if you’re in the conversation. You must show what you do. Not only for likes, but to show to your people that you’re active and you don’t stop acting.”
Showing the work is easy for Pavel because he’s always doing it. “We don’t stop working ever,” notes Pavel. “Only on the roads in the winter because of the climate.”
Pavel’s hard work has inspired his community. Just the same, it’s caught the attention of his peers.
“We have many mayors, many of my colleagues, who come to meet me and see what we’re doing because of social media,” Pavel shares. Engaging in dialogue with other leaders is important for Pavel and it’s important for all when considering a growth mindset.
“When you stop learning, you start dying,” states Pavel.
In recent times, Pavel is more motivated than ever to listen to other leaders to hear just how they are making change in their communities.
In the near future, these conversations could be broadcasted on a digital media channel near you.
“We invite local leaders to share their paths to success,” Pavel mentions. “One of them told me we should make a podcast because people can give ideas on what you can do for your city. It’s another source of information and ideas. You can explain what you have done and it’s not something small. It’s many things in many areas. I think a podcast may be coming from us very soon.”
A podcast soon? We can’t wait!
For the time being, Pavel is a big fan of our own Digital Hospitality Podcast.
“Today might be the day I realize it’s not so hard!” says Pavel on podcasting. “You don’t need a studio or a cameraman, now I see that it’s actually very easy to do it. I think you’re doing something really amazing with your podcast. You do it to help people and I think that’s very amazing and very impressive.”
While podcasting might be next for Pavel Gudjerov, politics is still very much now. Despite the dire conditions associated with his occupation and the penalties of leadership, Pavel encourages the youth to create change and consider running for office.
It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
“Politics nowadays is like a minefield,” admits Pavel. “It’s hard but it’s very interesting. If you want to make a change, do it. Working in politics, you grow up very, very fast. Your mind grows.”
At only 38 years of age and already in his second term as mayor, Pavel has grown up very fast while living and engaging in the public spotlight.
Like all leaders, Pavel Gudjerov still encounters the negatives of social media. Unlike others, he won’t let it stop him.
“Complaining is something like a national sport for us,” laughs Pavel. “But if you want change, you must be the change.”
In a year with so much adversity, Pavel is well aware that leadership and solutions are more needed than ever.
By connecting with his community online and doing the work day to day, he’s inspiring hope and making change.
“The picture is much bigger,” acknowledges Pavel Gudjerov. “The schools, the children, Coronavirus, we use social media and all of its channels to inform people first hand. Without it, I think it would be impossible or at least much harder. This digital area is a sin if you don’t do it.”
For a man that’s spent time with the Blue Check toting Pope Francis, we’ll take his word on that.