GMS was born in 2006. Then, a small team from Kyiv took on a large-scale goal — to become a leader in providing messaging services for mobile operators and enterprises worldwide. Sixteen years later, the dream has become a reality. However, this path could not have been completed without professional and, most importantly, motivated employees. Today we would like to introduce one of them — Kateryna Nakonechna.
Kateryna is a regional director responsible for the CEE region, Baltic states, and Africa. More and more often, she gets the opportunity to work with other countries in the European space, as well as Israel and Turkey. Therefore, the geography of Katherine’s responsibility is slowly but steadily growing.
Ivan Lishchuk (GMS writer): How do you describe your job role?
Kateryna: You could say I sell firewalls, but that would be a partial answer. I prefer a different definition: I sell the ease of network protection and the best management practices. Any company, including mobile operators, always sets itself specific business tasks, the ultimate goal of which is to fatten the profit by improving the existing services or introducing new ones. This is what allows us to implement our project — to improve the product and increase revenues. My task is in plain language to tell the client how our solution will help them achieve business goals and explain why it’s easy to implement. Anyone can give complicated explanations to complex things; my job is to explain everything in simple words.
Iv: Let’s imagine me being your client. Convince me that I need your services with a few sentences.
Kate: First, you should realise this is not a zero-sum game. You have to describe the situation in general, provide the necessary input data, and outline the result of our cooperation as you see it. After that, my role is to assess the situation, analyse the benefits of deploying our solution for your business, and monitor the project implementation. Our common goal is not to split the pie but to organise the process so that the pie grows exponentially.
Iv: So, the idea is not to sell a product itself — the firewall in our case — but the results that your client can achieve with this solution?
Kate: Precisely. In addition to primary employment, I also provide advice on sales and effective negotiations. It is worth noting that these things always go together. Making a beautiful product presentation is only one-third of the job; effective communication is the true foundation of a successful deal. You must be equally capable of accurately conveying your message, listening to and, importantly, hearing your counterpart’s opinion. Only today! Last day offer! Remember that ancient ad template? It’s outdated. After decades of aggressive marketing dominance, the human brain evolved immunity to it and developed a persistent anti-advertising firewall. Our sixth sense tingles whenever someone tries to impose something on us. That’s why my workflow is guided by the “solve problems, but don’t invent problems for a solution” principle. To reiterate: the pie should be multiplied, not divided.
Iv: When listening to you, I involuntarily conclude that you must really like your occupation. So, Ukrainian philosopher Skovoroda was right, and working by vocation is reality, not fantasy?
Kate: To every city its customs and laws, to each person their chosen workflows.
Iv: Doesn’t the initial quote sound a little different?
Kate: I dared to alter the classic slightly. I have worked in many companies and held various positions. Recently, I took an aptitude test used by some international HR agencies and got a fairly expected result — I’m a teacher and a creator. My pedagogical side constantly strives to share knowledge. Also, being a teacher includes a talent to talk simply about complex things. I have interesting relations with this occupation as many relatives from my mother’s side are teachers. My grandmother taught linguistics and literature all her life; both aunts teach mathematics and physics. I’ve constantly been trying to escape from this trade. To get my first higher education, I applied to two universities, one of which turned out to be pedagogical, but I refused to become a teacher in the end. Unfortunately, professional educators are not highly valued in my country. So, I received a second higher education in the field of jurisprudence. Now, I’m studying MBA at the Kyiv-Mohyla Business School. However, the constant desire to share knowledge never leaves me. I conduct training on sales and compelling negotiations, teach partners and clients in projects through workshops. Moreover, in my hobby — sports — I advise my friends and other people interested.
Iv: And that’s how we smoothly approached the next question. Running Club — could you tell me more about it?
Kate: Running Club is a kind of get-together. I’ve always been very attentive to my health and got into running almost seven years ago. Later, together with friends, I founded a running club. Then, more and more new people wanted to join until the local hangout grew into a community. Nowadays, it’s a big family, over the sporting goals of which I hold patronage. A few years ago, we ran a marathon together in Chicago; we also ran in Bergen, Savona, and Geneva. However, our sports challenges are not limited to just running. This year we climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. To be frank, it was no easy task. We selected a route that was short but difficult terrain-wise. Almost all participants experienced dramatically decreased saturation — 70%. Those beating covid know that such an index is unacceptable. For me, this challenge seemed to be the most tiring experience ever. I couldn’t imagine I’d experience anything more debilitating. But I was wrong since soon after, the war knocked on my door.
Iv: On February 24, Ukrainians woke up from explosions and gunshots — Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Do you remember your first days of this terrible war?
Kate: Neither my relatives nor I were ready for the bombing of the Ukrainian capital. How can one even prepare for this? I never thought that I would have to hear shots on my street, along which I return home every day. Nevertheless, I quickly realised what was going on: without wasting time, I packed up and headed to my hometown in the west of Ukraine. Together with the local authorities, we established the Uhelp logistics centre to deliver humanitarian and medical assistance from Europe to places where it’s most needed. We also help people relocate to the western regions of Ukraine or Europe. Additionally, our volunteers raise funds to purchase and deliver necessary stuff to our defenders on the front line.
Iv: What would you wish Ukrainians and all caring people in this challenging time?
Kate: I’m happy that my professional experience turned valuable in wartime. I have the juice to organise logistics, negotiate and mobilise my network of contacts for a good cause. Do what you can do best, and you will get results. There is a place for everyone during these uncertain times, and everyone can find a way to help our people and country. That’s why I urge everyone not to despair but to keep calm and carry on!