Milena Pavlova: ‘My Role Is Akin to an Architect of the Future’

Milena Pavlova

Milena Pavlova has been the Head of Product Compliance at Delasport since 2023 – a year after joining the company. Her career journey is as dynamic as it is inspiring. Starting with a degree in business management and a passion for investigative journalism, Milena transitioned from being a journalist to finding her calling in the iGaming industry.

Her path, marked by openness and determination, led her from a Customer Support Agent to her current leadership role. At Delasport, she applies her unique blend of investigative skills, operational experience, and creative problem-solving to ensure compliance and drive innovation.

In a candid interview, she reveals what’s most important to her in the day-to-day work, what makes Compliance her true calling, and what the values are that drive her strategic decisions.


– Milena, what does your career path look like? What led you to Delasport?

– After studying Journalism at university and working as an investigative journalist for some time, I became a Customer Support Agent by chance about 10 years ago. Having no knowledge of the industry, I slowly but steadily started climbing the ladder. One of the most important things I learned was how to be a good team player. The people at my first place of employment in the sector were extremely supportive and taught me the foundation for what has become my professional career today. To this moment I stick to the values and principles that were the center of the operation back then. My investigative journalism background helped me excel in my position and keep moving while thinking out of the box and helping others.

Since the very beginning, I’ve worked in Operations, as an agent, a shift manager, and as a supervisor of the shift managers. I started coaching people quite early and haven’t stopped since. Working as a Shift Manager taught me how to multitask, while maintaining focus, how to spot potential issues from far away, and to chase for ETAs, updates, you name it, and was one of the most demanding positions I had ever taken, until now.  Then, I transitioned into Safer Gambling where I had the opportunity to work with interesting technology, draft specific compliance processes, and collaborate with the Compliance and AML departments as well as the Product and R&D teams on company-wide projects. As a Safer Gambling professional, I gained invaluable insights into negotiating with different business stakeholders, which is a valuable skill I use to this day.  Eventually, after 7 years on the job, it was time for me to part ways with my employer and this is how I found myself on the Product Compliance side of things at Delasport.

I started as the intermediary between Compliance and the R&D department, working on some demanding jurisdictions, but determined to come on top in the end.


– What played a key role in your rise to the position of Head of Product Compliance?

– The road to my current role at Delasport has been paved with a lot of adventures as well as a few falls and rises. Determination to always do better and know better than before has kept me going. Working with people of different backgrounds, cultures, and experience levels has proven to be challenging at times, however, recognizing the strengths of others and giving them the benefit of the doubt goes a long way.

I have always valued the idea of people helping people and leading by example, so I try to be true to this principle at all times. Along with working hard, accompanied by my natural talent to find potential problems and ring the bell, of course. Finding a mutual language with the different departments and finding ways to compromise without betraying myself and my values, has been crucial to being recognized. I’m known for being open and direct and here I met people that appreciate me for that. Thinking out of the box, using unorthodox ways to resolve problems and workplace conflicts, and getting desired results have also helped.

Last, but not least, I do my best to deserve my leader title by making sure that I’m a good team player, I stand by my words and actions and I’m transparent with the people that I work with. I hope I’m succeeding, but others are the judge of that.


– What are some of your achievements at Delasport in terms of policies, procedures, or processes you’ve introduced?

– Structure, training, and organization are my must-dos on any job and they also kind of form the foundation of Compliance. The ability to create a good audit trail for your actions allowing for others to trace it back to your train of thought is crucial to running a successful operation. This has been one of the first and foremost things that I instilled in my team, by gently nagging my way into their heads and showing them how it works in practice.

My life experiences have taught me to seek order whilst being adaptive and without much effort I believe I managed to further improve the internal communication between teams, whilst establishing a good level of foundation for mine. Meanwhile, I also educated my colleagues on following our ground rules but seeking clarity, questioning the status quo, and finding their own ways of improving and optimizing our current processes.

What I have to show for it are successful certifications in most of Europe’s best markets, a list of compliant features, good record-keeping, and a united team.


– What does your job entail and how does it differ from the other verticals of Compliance?

– Compliance is one of the most important silos of an operation, whilst being an incredibly sensitive matter. Around the pandemic, regulatory bodies from all around the world imposed more stringent requirements for compliance and have been monitoring the adherence to them quite closely. The specific thing about Product Compliance is that it presents the basis for work for the operational teams, and if not done correctly it might complicate things for all aspects of the business. Additionally, being product-development orientated, it’s not as flexible as Operational Compliance, for instance, where a process might be quickly amended. This makes my role as Head of Product Compliance challenging on many levels, but even more rewarding.

My role is akin to an architect of the future, where every decision I make lays down the blueprint for our success. It’s like being a chess master, always thinking several moves ahead. Firstly, I dive deep into the ocean of strategy, crafting intricate plans to navigate the turbulent waters of the business world. I’m constantly peering into the crystal ball of tomorrow, envisioning both the expected and unexpected twists and turns that lie ahead. But that’s not all! I’m also the guardian of compliance, meticulously ensuring that we abide by every rule and regulation. It’s like being a detective, scrutinizing every detail to ensure we’re always on the right side of the law.

And let’s not forget about teamwork! I’m the conductor of a symphony, orchestrating harmonious collaborations between different departments and external partners. It’s about bringing together diverse talents and perspectives to create something truly extraordinary. Last but not least, I’m one of the ambassadors of our company, forging strong relationships with our clients and external stakeholders. It’s about being a trusted advisor, guiding them through the maze of possibilities, and ensuring their success aligns with ours, but in a compliant way.


– It’s obvious you’re also very creative! Speaking of your character, what are your personal core beliefs that take part in your daily work?

– I’ve always believed in a few personal virtues that have guided me through both my career and my life. First off, there’s wearing my heart on my sleeve. It might sound a bit cliché, but for me, it’s about being open and authentic, not hiding my emotions or feelings. It’s like showing people who I truly am, and that has helped me build genuine connections with colleagues and friends.

Whatever the circumstance, integrity is a big one for me. Keeping my honesty and sticking to what my internal compass is telling me in terms of moral principles isn’t always easy but has a huge return on investment. I’ve always believed that maintaining integrity earns you respect and trust from others, and it keeps your conscience clear, too. As I mentioned, believing in others and recognizing their strengths, while supporting their development can only help with fostering meaningful relationships in both friendship and at work. A workplace supporting this culture creates stable teams of individuals, aware of what they can achieve, and unafraid to ask for help.

And let’s not forget emotional intelligence, honesty, and transparency. Understanding and managing emotions helps me navigate tricky situations, while honesty and transparency build trust and credibility. It’s like laying the groundwork for solid relationships and effective communication. These personal qualities of mine have really shaped who I am and where I am today. They have been like guiding stars, helping me navigate through both the challenges and successes of my work-life balance.


– What are your aspirations for the future – let’s say in the coming 3 years?

– I am absolutely thrilled about the journey ahead, especially with all the innovative products and tech on the horizon and in Delasport! Over the next 3 years, I’m diving headfirst into expanding my expertise in regulated markets, delving deep into the intricacies of Safer Gambling and Anti-Money Laundering requirements. It’s all about understanding the nuances and staying ahead of the curve.

But that’s not all! I’m also on a mission to enhance our toolset, collaborating closely with our brilliant Product and Development teams to elevate our offerings to new heights. It’s about crafting solutions that not only meet regulatory standards but also exceed player expectations.

Because let’s face it, compliance isn’t just a checkbox—it’s the cornerstone of player protection. As we navigate through the regulated waters, I’m committed to ensuring that our products not only comply with regulations but also prioritize the safety and well-being of our players above all else.

So, here’s to the next three years of growth, innovation, and making a real difference in the world of gaming! Let’s set sail and conquer new horizons together!


If you find Milena inspiring, there are opportunities to join Delasport’s Compliance team – check them out or keep an eye out for the perfect fit for you here: