Imprints from my former years:
The biggest footprints that I harbor come from not just my childhood but also the place I grew up in. My native city – Tbilisi is a capital of Georgia, ancient place with a very colorful culture. Tracing back to my former years, Georgia overcame some very challenging times transitioning from a soviet economy to a market economy. This marks a significant period in our history because many new businesses had emerged at the wake of this shift. Among new business industries, the banking sector became the driver of Georgian Economy, continuing for the last 30 years now. As of today, we have one of the most developed banking sectors in the region and I am truly blessed that I had worked in this segment of banking for about two wholesome decades in my life.
I learned a lot through my former years. The key lessons those years have bestowed in me as a professional are leadership, teamwork and the sense of “everything is achievable.” In 90’s, I earned my master’s degree in economics from Tbilisi State university, in early 2000’s studied Marketing in Caucasus University and in 2011 got MBA degree from Carlos 3 University of Madrid. In addition, I have been a Professional Certified Marketer from American Marketing Association since 2014.
Rising Above Obstacles:
When I had started my consultancy, my main challenge was to shift employees’ mindset to an entrepreneurial one. I realized that leading marketing projects at the bank was easier, because I had many resources: colleagues, external consultants, other supportive departments (Financial or Legal), and of course –budgets but when it came to smaller companies, I saw some challenges come my way. One out of the earliest challenges for me was of ‘less networks’ that most starting entrepreneurs must initially face.
Soon I realized that I needed to build my Personal Brand, because there were many excellent marketers in the market and except my friends and colleagues, not many people knew about my new initiative. I soon found my niche as CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility which was however a relatively new concept in my country. The challenge was to magnify the presence of the concept from being just a marketing manager’s task to a bigger company role. I extended a great deal of efforts there to develop the syllabus in CSR and then to approach various universities asking them to add it as a new course. It was after a wait of 3 years that one university launched this course. However, when we look at the scenario today, I teach CSR in 2 universities. I have been a part of many CSR projects at various roles, as a consultant, trainer and lecturer for different sectors. Nowadays, many people who are interested in CSR in my country know about me as an independent CSR expert. I have built my brand intentionally. Perhaps the lesson learnt from these challenges is of hard work, genuine passion and of patience.
Reinventing Personal Brand:
I have been interested in Personal Branding as a concept since 2015. Two years later, I gave a few master classes on it. This made me realize that I needed to learn more and devoted a lot of time to personal development and not just professional development. In 2020, I became a Basic Consultant of Positive Psychotherapy at the World Association for Positive and Trans-Cultural Psychotherapy. I am a board member of Georgian Association of Positive and Trans-Cultural Psychotherapy and am responsible for fundraising and CSO relations. I have studied psychology, psychotherapy and coaching since 2019 and thus my steps to consultancy and coaching were well paralleled to my aspirations. Nowadays, I continue studying various courses and so, consultations and coaching were always very much a part of the journey.
What I say to the entrepreneurs who might just shift in this journey is to believe in yourself even if nobody does. Find your life mission, values and build business and personal brand around them. Enjoy not only the results but also the process, and as Winston Churchill said “Never, never, never give up”.
A Unique Approach towards Excellence & Empowerment:
From my point of view, my courses on Personal Branding are unique, because my 1:1 coaching sessions (online / offline)and group mentoring session (online / offline) uses the techniques of Positive Psychotherapy, Art Therapy and Metaphoric Cards on one hand and on the other hand - strategic marketing and branding approaches. I made a fusion of all the years-acquired knowledge and experience I have gained and put them together with empathy and dedication for my clients while creating these courses. I work globally online, something that is quite convenient in the present context.
My customers are entrepreneurs, who build their business around their Personal Brand, such as Coaches, Trainers, Consultants, Psychologists and other service-based Entrepreneurs. What sets my trajectory apart is also in how even after finishing our sessions, we keep communication and have follow-up meetings. The success of my clients is my success too, so I am really happy to accompany them on the way to their personal brand. Since January I host monthly educational webinars on personal branding and invite experts from various countries: UK, Malaysia, Canada, and USA, in July – from Philippines. I will be happy to have such guests from India too and now I want to take a chance and invite Personal Branding Experts from India to be speakers at my webinar.
Powerful Lessons from my Mentors:
I always suggest young people to find the “right mentor” because mentor can guide you and show you pitfalls you do not see and teach you what you can’t find in books, just because she/he has the first-hand experience in your industry. In my personal cause, parts of my Pro-bono activities is mentorship where I work as a volunteer at Like-minded Females Network and mentor a wonderful young woman from the UK who is building her business.
As for the mentors in my life- at different stages, I had different mentors. My first mentor was my grandmother, she had a great influence on me, and I have most of my values and vision of life because of her. At my first job, the chief accountant was my mentor. She showed me the unwritten rules of corporate culture, so I could have built the trust and relationships easily.
The truth is that the most important thing is to be open-minded and open-hearted and in order to attain the wisdom of life, just believe in yourself. Nobody can do what you have to do. The most valuable lesson what my mentor has taught me is to learn how to accept every situation with love, even the negative ones. The magic is in the process- it’s not easy but I am still learning. Life is beautiful.