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Softline experience

A turn in life: from Systems Engineering to Chief Marketing Officer

My passion for IT originates from middle school, where we used to go to practice at a vocational training center. There, we could choose a profession and "try" to deploy it: a sewing machine operator, a turner, and so on. It was the late 80s and a brand-new specialty had appeared - a computer operator. At the time, it was nothing complicated, but obviously something new, so after graduating from school, I went to the Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics to develop a career in IT.

The subsequent 90s were a difficult period for the country and for every citizen, but I was still fond of new things, and, as usual, opportunities were not long in coming. In my third year in the institute, a colleague invited me to work at GIS-Association, and asked me to set up the Internet connection, organize the network, configure e-mail, etc. 

GIS-Association was a non-profit organization that promoted geographic information technologies. We began to organize conferences, making air tours around the cities of Russia. An interesting turn of events happened, I was assigned to coordinate the conferences. Therefore, I gradually mastered editing, proofreading, design, learned how to organize events, and even added website creation to my skillset a little later. From that time on, my progress towards marketing began.

"From building computers programs to manage marketing campaigns"

During one of the events, I was offered the position of marketing generalist in the Open Technologies company. The offer turned out to be compelling, and… after three years, I became head of the marketing department. However, further specialization required learning more so I studied an MBA, striving to add additional knowledge related to finance, company organization, leadership skills, legal and other aspects of business and marketing to my practical experience. Thus, I received a serious impetus for development, which allowed me to take the next step—become the CMO position which led me to Softline, where my professional growth continued.

As you can see, I was interested in everything, I wanted to improve and grow, and the world provided me with such an opportunity. That's why I believe that nothing comes by chance and you can always choose your own career path! 

The secret to leadership: the balance of discipline and creativity

Over the years, I have found my balance through sports. Learning how to work with a proper planning, self-motivation, and understanding the goal before achieving it. When the body's links and connections are operating correctly, everything starts to work much more efficiently, including the mind. You become calmer, open up to the world and to yourself. You let the energy flow into your life, becoming ready to embrace new information and knowledge, becoming tolerant of different people, traditions, and cultures, something that not only helps me balance my daily life but my work and the way I interact and lead others. 

Sergei Kapitsa said:

"To lead means not to hamper the work of good people."

I consider this a very apt saying, and, as a leader of a large team, this is how I see my task.

Our team is very diverse. My mission, as a leader, is to aim a team of incredibly different people to achieve a single result, to help level the weaknesses of each employee, using their advantages wisely.

But that's not all. To manage a large marketing team, you need to build its framework, consisting not only of people, but also of processes, principles, values, and commandments. 

In my practice, I deduced the following fundamental rules of teamwork:

  1. We allow a colleague to speak up to the end and try to hear him. We always remember about politeness.
  2. We recognize each other's professionalism. We remember about the authority of the team.
  3. We consider all tasks as collective.
  4. We remember that in a common cause, every team member matters.
  5. We solve the problem as soon as possible (do not grow a bush of hatred—the roses will grow by themselves).
  6. We do not confuse personal and business matters, we do not perceive professional criticism as a personal insult.
  7. We rejoice at each other's success and share it with everyone.
  8. We discuss mistakes and share information with each other (it is better to find out the news from the next office than from another floor).

The leader must consolidate the team, explain why it is important to look at tasks from the point of view of colleagues, and understand how a particular process looks from the inside

Marketing in the age of globalization 

Softline is a multinational company. Each country has unique cultural, political, family, social, and religious traditions. Working in such a team, launching advertising campaigns and other activities, you have to take into account all local subtleties. All countries have their own customs that are fairly strictly observed. 

The approach to marketing differs from country to country, so you need to flexibly perceive any best practices, explaining and disseminating them to the entire team, at the same time raising their maturity to meet the best practices.

The rhythm of business also differs from country to country. This is expressed, for example, in such an understandable dimension as the response time to messages. Someone answers within an hour, while others need a couple of days to answer. To create a level ground, you need to jointly plan projects using shared resources that ensure the transparency of tasks and their progress. And, of course, people have to personally explain what one or another program means for them, how it will be implemented, what actions need to be taken, who is responsible for each specific part of the plan, and much more.

Messages will not help with this - you need to contact with people personally.

Think globally, act locally. This statement is attributed to different authors, but the essence remains the same. This is an important rule for multinational companies. On the one hand, you need a unified strategy and direction, on the other hand, you should take local subtleties into account.

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