Ekaterina Kozinchenko: “An Important Quality In Business Is The Ability To Say“I Don’t Know”

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Ekaterina Kozinchenko: “An Important Quality In Business Is The Ability To Say“I Don’t Know”
Ekaterina Kozinchenko: “An Important Quality In Business Is The Ability To Say“I Don’t Know”

Video: Ekaterina Kozinchenko: “An Important Quality In Business Is The Ability To Say“I Don’t Know”

Video: Ekaterina Kozinchenko: “An Important Quality In Business Is The Ability To Say“I Don’t Know”
Video: Why Quality is Important to Us 2023, May

Meeting on a private territory is a rare occasion for business, it is usually customary to set boundaries between work and home. But the word "accepted" is almost synonymous with "like everyone else", and "like everyone else" is not about Catherine. Initially, we planned to meet not at Kozinchenko's house, but at the office of the Russian representative office of the international consulting company AT Kearney, which Ekaterina has been heading since 2016. But the plans had to be changed at the last moment - a trip to the economic forum in Davos appeared in Kozinchenko's schedule: “I will be at the forum for the fifth time. At the same time, I'll see what is being done in the world to promote women's business. By the way, delegations that do not include women are not accepted to the forum,”says Ekaterina.

For 20 years she has made a career in consulting, overseeing the "men's sector" - energy and industry. Married almost the same - 21 years old, brings up four children (two are adopted). Catherine's family travels a lot. And in her free time, the girl actively maintains social networks, writes posts useful for business, calling herself a lawyer for women careerists. “Feminism is about freedom of choice. And about respect for a man as a person. A woman cannot hang on him with a heavy load."

Marie Claire: I liked the way you put emphasis on feminism. We will come back to this topic later. But let's start with how you got into consulting. And why did you choose the boring "industrial sector"? You studied at Pike, wanted to become an actress …

Ekaterina Kozinchenko: I did. But she didn't, as you can see. I believe that my business career began at the age of eight, when I entered the theater studio. The studio staged the play "The Wizard of the Emerald City". Naturally, I was sure that I would be taken on the lead role of Ellie. But I was offered to play the Tin Woodman. This was the first "failure", which helped to understand that it is not necessary to be perfect, you can play the Tin Woodman beautifully, because it is much better than not playing anything. Then I had many roles in this studio, and I even gave my documents to the Shchukin school, but left there. She entered the Financial Academy. She studied and earned money, like all students. She delivered advertising brochures. After receiving my diploma, I came to this company and said: "I want to work for you." They looked at me attentively: "Well, go to the accounting department for now."

“When you are hired, it is a long process. In my case, it took six months"

It turns out that you got into consulting by chance?

At work they once asked: "Hey, are you going to go to Siberia?" I said, "I'll go anywhere if you send me." So I found myself "in the field", at an oil field, where I delved into the process of oil production. One project after another, and you start to specialize. My business has not changed in this sense even today: it is useful, for example, to periodically go down into the mine, to check at what speed different switches operate. A little later, I studied at Oxford under the Oil and Gas Industry program. She began to specialize in this. Then she switched to energy, expanded the boundaries.

Managing partner of AT Kearney in Russia and the CIS - I'm sure this is a serious challenge. How many interviews did you go through before you got this position?

AT Kearney is a global company with a worldwide reputation, one of the oldest in the consulting industry with an annual turnover of $ 1 billion. The region's managing partner is, as a rule, also a co-owner of the business. Of course, when you are hired, it is a long process. In my case, it took six months. We conducted about 20 interviews with key partners via Skype. You see, the great thing about partnership is that people should always come to terms with each other. Therefore, a person is checked, communicated with his clients, and his reputation is confirmed. In Russia with a "reputation" many have difficulties. I am amazed at this. People change jobs every year. I went there, I went here. I have been working since I was 17 and during this time I have changed only three companies.

"There is a direct link between the success of the enterprise and the number of women in the leadership of the company."


You advise large corporations, explaining what to do to improve efficiency. Are leaders interested in having a person “from outside” come to them with their own charter?

Analyzing business processes, we “treat” the company, give recommendations that save a lot of money. Therefore, as a rule, we are always welcome.

What amounts are we talking about?

A striking example in my practice: for one client (in the energy industry), having developed an operational efficiency program, we were able to save about $ 300 million over the next five years.

300 million is good money. But isn't it obvious to the management of the company what you suggested?

Of course, clients can do the calculations themselves. But you need to make the optimization program work, be divided into steps with deadlines. For this, consultants are invited. What the head of the company could do in a year, the consultant implements in three months.

Ekaterina, on social media you call yourself a advocate for women careerists. What do you mean by this?

I try to help women wherever I can. For example, if I see that clients in the company's management have only one or two women and during a meeting for many hours these women speak only a few words, I will always emphasize: “You have a gender imbalance. Think about it". AT Kearney's research proves that there is a direct link between enterprise success and the number of women in a company's leadership. A business develops faster and better if it has an equal number of women and men in its leadership. Women tend to make more informed decisions, they are more loyal to the company, they are able to work with a wider range of people. The biological nature of women implies motherhood and, as a result, the ability to find an approach to the child: this also helps in work.

The industrial sector is conservative - there are always enough men convinced that this is male territory …

This behavior once caused me to leave the company. I worked there for many years, but I got a manager with whom it was impossible to agree. He didn’t hear me because I’m a woman. It soon became clear that it was useless to waste time and energy. I got up and left. By the way, I never regretted it. But in general I will say: one woman in the field is not a warrior. In a business career, we need to look for a mentor. A person to whom you can turn with the question: "How best to do?" I am always looking. And not one, but several - ideally there should be five, six or more mentors. To one I ask a question about company management, to another about financial assets, and a third one I ask questions about health. Relations with mentors should be based on the principle of barter. It's not about money. For example, I will ask for financial advice, and I will be happy to tell youwhat is worth seeing at the Bolshoi Theater. Don't be afraid to ask for help. An important quality in business is the ability to say “I don’t know” …

“Adopters are not required to love foster children. They must educate them, help, just be there. This is already colossal support"


You have a big family - four children: Sasha - 14, Kostya - 10, Bogdan - 8, daughter Yasa - 7. Do you manage to bring them up?

I have two relatives and two more adoptive ones. For some time I could not have children, and it was painful. There was a thought about adoption. Then Sasha and Kostya were born. But I did not abandon the idea of adoption - at that time I began to do charity work, helped orphanages. Bogdan's adoption process was planned. And the fourth child, Yaroslava, "happened by accident." I saw her story on the Internet. She was very tiny and not very healthy. She had to be taken away urgently, any delay was dangerous. I was determined to persuade her natural parents to leave the child in the family. Failed. And we took her to us. Now Yasya is the beloved child in the family, she is unreal, just space.

You say “now Yasya is a beloved child”. Does it sound a little strange, like it was different before?

Foster children differ from biological children in that, as a rule, it is not immediately possible to love them. And this is completely normal. The adoptive parents are not required to love the adopted children. They must educate them, help, just be there. This is already a tremendous support for the child. It took me two years to fall in love with my younger son, I fell in love with my daughter much faster. Foster children are not like my biological ones either in temperament or character. But life with them is interesting. Children are given to parents in order to enjoy the period while we are with them.

You are very frank in this matter. Do your children know they are adopted?

Yes, and this fact has never been hidden. They are interested in the origin. In the case of Bogdan, this is a more difficult path. He asks more often and returns to the topic. In Yasi's case, it's easier. Although recently she said: "I would like to see the woman who gave birth to me." I explain to her that now it is impossible, but at the age of 18 she can go to the archives and find documents. This is her choice, this is her life. In advocating open adoption, I would oblige parents to tell the truth. I believe that “skeletons in the closet” have a bad effect on a person and his growing up.

And it's all about her


Ekaterina Kozinchenko

Age: 45 years.

Marital status: married, four children - three boys and a girl. The oldest is 14 years old, the youngest is 7 years old

Education: Financial Academy under the Government of the Russian Federation; Oxford University - Oil & Gas Industry Program

Career: partner of the international consulting company Accenture (1995-2009); Vice President, Booz & Company Consulting Company (2009–2016); Head of the Russian office of the international consulting company AT Kearney and is the head of the practice in the field of energy and technological processes in Russia and the CIS (2016 - present)

Favorite sport: fitness twice a week

Favorite leisure: traveling with the whole family

Hobby: theater

Favorite clothing brand: Armani, Ralph Lauren, Max Mara

Author: Christina Gudikhina

Photo: Natalia Kogan

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