You all know that SKOLKOVO employs people. You all know your program managers. Everyone knows Andrei Volkov. Those of you who are more advanced know Pavel Gorelov, Ekaterina Inozemtseva, Svetlana Poll, Valeria Pavlyukovskaya and a few more people. The rest of the SKOLKOVO staff is like an iceberg to the students and graduates.
Who are they, the SKOLKOVO employees, what do they do? Currently they are almost three hundred. Every day they worry, try, feel for their performance. In this project I want to talk about them as they are also a big part of what is called the SKOLKOVO Soul, a part of what can become SKOLKOVO tomorrow.
When being already a graduate I started to participate in the school life, I was involved in different initiatives and often heard: «You should talk to Bredikhina about it,» or «Go to Bredikhina with this, she had some ideas about,» or «Bredikhina is already doing this.» How intriguing.
There are people who work from 9 to 6 as part of their set and defined responsibilities. There are people who at the recruitment stage write their job descriptions and set KPIs for themselves, and then successfully meet them. But still there are some who have not been able to write their job descriptions. Their primary instruction is common sense and business interests. In SKOLKOVO it means that there are plenty of urgent and «burning» issues that simply need to be done. Instructions and formality come later. I would call these people catalysts. Things happen thanks to them. But what is most importantly — first go cases without setting which the results could not be achieved. It’s all about Katya.
Her nature tempered in hard weather and living conditions. Over the past 10 years, she managed to work in Naryan-Mar (Arctic winter, black blizzard, -40) and live in Dahab (near the equator, sand storms, +40). The wideness of temperature conditions facilitated the development of her open-mindedness and flexibility of character.
Katya lived in Naryan-Mar for five months where she developed and delivered an English training program to the LUKOIL Sever employees. (This after studying to become a linguist and working for seven years in the English Training School, beginning as a teacher and ending as a methodist).
— I arrived there in the very cold just before the Epiphany. When I got off the plane, I could see nothing, only frost and mist and a few lights in the distance where I headed. Luckily I was met … I saw later illuminated ice sculptures… Housing conditions were really tough … But people are very hospitable and nice.
— Do you hang out with someone right now? What else is interesting there?
— I went later to Naryan-Mar twice. Went to see my friends. And there are lost of interesting. Northern lighting. Deer races. Deer sausage… I learnt to speed-clean the fish. Tundra. In winter, there are roads but not in summer. In the summer there are mosquitoes of my palm size. In August, mushrooms and cloudberries.
Frozen Katya after returning to Moscow wanted to go to Dahab for half a year to warm up, windsurf and finally learn how to make the water start, and even was offered a job there. And she already bought a ticket, but the circumstances did not allow and the ticket was returned. Katya joined an energy holding as Executive Assistant to the General Director in the area of power stations construction, the new direction that needed to be launched and developed. After a year and a half, resulting in yet another restructuring, Katya again wanted to go to Dahab, again to windsurf. Again a ticket. Again one-end. Again suitcases.
Here I would like to recall the master Shifu from the Kung Fu Panda movie. «Accidents are not accidental,» — he liked to say, and was always right. A few days before leaving for a year (as Katya thought), she got a call from SKOLKOVO and was invited to an interview (in 2008, autumn). Start-up. Emerging business. Awesome students J In short, Katya left anyway, but returned a week later. To work. For SKOLKOVO.
Katya started as Executive Assistant to Dean Andrei Volkov. Then became a program manager of Executive Education department (has led and still leads several key clients such as Metinvest, TVEL).
So what does she do now? I do not know what is now written in her job descriptions, but she is normally referred to as Andrey Rappoport’s assistant. And yet — a manager of corporate programs. And she manages the committees of the SKOLKOVO Coordination Council, SKOLKOVO founders. In fact she is a liaison, a link. She knows the ideas of the founders and the employees. She knows graduates and students and their ideas. She translates and supports ideas. Generates ideas. Helps ideas meet and happen.
Also Katya gave me her sleeping bag when I went to the Himalayas. And yet — she arranged the lots from the founders that were sold at the auction last year at the Students and Alumni Reunion in order to support scholarship. And she is also actively involved in the formation of the SKOLKOVO Entrepreneurial community.
To me personally it’s all very close. I hope together with Katya we will realize the craziest projects. SKOLKOVO itself is an amazing project. And it is amazing because the SKOLKOVO spirit, SKOLKOVO soul is in fearless amazing people. If we are here — we are on the right way.