Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I am a sourcing professional, negotiation expert, and co-founder of www.brightmeetsbrave.com,a website aimed to empower women to ask on their own behalf and enlighten men on struggles women face with daily. Professionally speaking, I have experience negotiating for manufacturing and retail companies, in the US and abroad, for large corporations as well as small privately held firms. Aside from the busy business world, I feed my passion of empowering women through researching, blogging, mentoring, and connecting!
I was born in Russia, and lived there until I was 15, when I moved to the US on my own. I have a direct yet collaborative approach to negotiations, and have a unique perspective on global culture.
I really enjoy working with women and speaking about how women can find confidence to negotiate on their own behalf and succeed!
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I belong to a couple of women's networking association and when I read about Ellevate online, I was intrigued, so I decided to join. I haven't been to a lot of events, because life gets busy with a traveling spouse, two kids in sports, a successful career, and no shortage of side projects. But one particular story is a great showcase of why I absolutely love being a part of this movement.
I once signed up for First Friday Coffee Networking event. A little bit of background, as the title of the event suggest, it takes place on Friday and at 7:30am, about 30 minutes away from my house; also, Friday is the only day when my husband is home to take over getting the kids ready for school, so it's the only work week day when I can sleep in past 6:20. However, in order for me to make it to this event, I would have to get up at 6:00am. So, I signed up for the event, and one of the Ellevate members sent me a message through the platform saying that she loved my story and she was looking forward to meeting me at the coffee. I remember my alarm going off that Friday at 6am, and I just turned it off and was planning on going back to sleep and then I remembered that this woman was looking forward to connecting with me, and I didn't want to let her down!
That really sums up why I am a member, I love that we have a community here, that we hold each other accountable and that the interactions are positive, empowering, and inspiring!
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
I strongly believe that a person needs three qualities to be successful in any line of work or in life in general. They are: strong character, curiosity, and resilience. Without strong character, you will be lost Without curiosity, you will become obsolete Without resilience, you will be overwhelmed
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I absolutely love negotiations, it's what I am passionate about. The most rewarding part of my job is when I am able to execute a very complex, multi-faceted negotiation and strengthen the relationship in the process. It takes a lot of stamina, preparation, mental power, active listening, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness.
What is your morning ritual?
My morning ritual during the week is kind of an organized chaos. Due to a traveling spouse, I am responsible for getting the kids to school every day. I get up at 6:20, and then it's a structured mess of me getting the kids up and downstairs by 6:30, have them fed and lunches packed by 6:50, snuggle time and connecting with them 6:50-7:00, have them dressed and out the door for the school bus by 7:12. Proud fact: they have missed the bus only once this year so far, so I know this system works.
Then it's time for me to get ready for work, sweep through the house to make everybody's beds, throw dirty dishes in the sink, throw away junk mail from the night before and I am out the door to head to work.
What is your favorite social media site? Why?
I am not sure if this counts as a social media as I believe it's more professional than other outlets, but I can get lost on LinkedIn. You can still get a glimpse into what people's values are, but there are so many amazing resources on there, clever videos, amazing articles, and so many opportunities to connect and learn.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
My super-power is I don't worry! I take actions on things I can control and I let go of things that are out of my control. Sure, I get worked up at times, because I am Russian, and it's easy to get Russians riled up, but I don't worry, and it's only until recently did I realize how liberating and freeing it is.
What does success look like to you?
Success at work looks like this: 1. Get paid what I am worth 2. Have autonomy to do my job well 3. Have opportunities for growth 4. Allow room for my passion
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Work-Life used to a problem for me because I wanted to be perfect at work and at home, but then I realized that there is no such thing as balance. I take work home at times, and other times my kids come to my work. My kids are my priority of course, but I can always get take-out if I am running late at work and there is no time to make dinner. I have also developed a fantastic network of people I can rely on for help, and I do so often. It still takes a village to raise a family, and it's important for my kids to see that I can be happy as a professional and as a mom! Also, recently I have been introduced to the life balance wheel, and I am sold on the idea of looking at that rather than a vague work/life balance ideal. You can read more here: https://www.brightmeetsbrave.com/thoughts/ditch-work-life-balance-conversations-embrace-life-balance-wheel
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
I am a self-proclaimed collector of quotes. There are two quotes that I try to live by: 1. Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear. 2. Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods.
So, my advice would be to any woman trying to break into any industry - go for it, and be ready to pivot.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
I am many things, but professionally speaking I play a dual role as a co-founder of brightmeetsbrave.com and a successful sourcing expert whose passion lies in women empowerment, negotiations, and relationship management. Having the experience of growing up in poverty in Russia, moving to the US on my own at a young age and rising to success through determination, collaboration and continuous learning, I have a unique perspective of global culture of business. Continue Reading
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