Chief Operational Officer

· Had no idea about the software business at first, but ended up co-running an IT company

· Moving things forward in good company is fantastic

· A work-life balance is a matter of choice

1. Who are you and why did you choose a career in tech?

I’ve always been interested in tech. I studied math and physics in high school, but I have also always been interested in business. After high school, I studied business, finance, law, and lots of languages. Step by step, as I joined different companies and projects, I gained experience in crisis management and getting companies back on track after various financial crises. I have lived and worked in Japan, Switzerland, and Canada for some time before starting my own business. Eventually, I ended up revitalising one software company in Ukraine. I did not really want to go there, as I had no idea about software, I had never been to Ukraine before that, and the last thing I wanted to do back then was fix another company. But then I met some pretty interesting people who motivated me to stick around and figure out what the software business was about.

2. What do you miss the most about offline life?

The people. Especially because I am not deep into every project, I miss meeting people tremendously. Even though the HR team is doing great to minimise the feeling of distance, for some time, I felt I was flying blind because I lack our improvised unplanned conversation.

3. What inspires you to stay a part of the Global Mediator team?

I’m not comparing people to plants, but it’s this feeling of watching something grow. You take care of it, water it, feed it new ideas, and set it in a certain direction – and sometimes you wish people moved faster! But in a month or two, it dawns on you: yes, we actually did this.

4. Can you describe your perfect team?

It’s competent, ambitious, friendly, and definitely non-toxic. I believe if you can bring these things together in a team, then that’s a success. I see balance as a prerequisite. There is a flip side of running too fast, urged on by motivation – people burn out. Who knows how many cycles people can do like that? Creating teams where you have this balance, and move things forward in good company is fantastic. I think we learn best when we have to do things we are not sure how to do, but part of growing is always about pushing oneself out of the comfort zone along with seeing things outside the box. And I think trust is especially important to me because people sticking to their promises make things so much easier and faster to move forward.

5. How do you manage to keep a work-life balance?

A work-life balance is a matter of choice. I think I recently reinvented it – I took a holiday! This is one of the drawbacks of entrepreneurship: you think you have freedom – but you don’t. You are free to work every day if you want. There is freedom in how you design and run your organisation, and move things forward, but the work-life balance becomes more like a lifestyle. It’s easier to think that it is all your responsibility when you think of your organisation as a family. But when you start to think of it as a community, then it is becoming clear that it is easier to step down from some things or processes and let the team come up with the decisions. But I still wake at 4 am thinking “Damn, I should have said this! I should remember to do this tomorrow!” Plus, a 10-minute walk a day.

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