Ekaterina Trofimova: "The Survivor Is The One Who Better Adapts To New Circumstances"

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Ekaterina Trofimova: "The Survivor Is The One Who Better Adapts To New Circumstances"
Ekaterina Trofimova: "The Survivor Is The One Who Better Adapts To New Circumstances"

Video: Ekaterina Trofimova: "The Survivor Is The One Who Better Adapts To New Circumstances"

Video: Ekaterina Trofimova: "The Survivor Is The One Who Better Adapts To New Circumstances"
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Ekaterina Trofimova, 39 Years

Education: St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance and Sorbonne University (Paris), Faculty of Finance and Tax Management

Resume: from 2000 to 2011 - financial analyst, director and head of the group of ratings of financial institutions in Russia and the CIS at Standard & Poor's (Paris). Since September 2011 - First Vice President of Gazprombank and Head of the Center for Economic Forecasting. Now he is working on the creation of an Analytical Credit Rating Agency (ACRA) with the participation of large businesses to assess the credit quality of Russian companies and banks for Russian and Western investors

City: Petersburg, Paris

Favorite brands: Chanel, Dior, Escada, Max Mara, TanyKotegova

The Life Changing Book : The Primer

Hobby: work

A place to rest: where you've never been


In addition to an extremely impressive resume, Ekaterina Trofimova has been the only Russian jury member since 2015 at the prestigious Cartier Women's Initiative Awards, which is awarded annually to six women entrepreneurs from around the world.

MS: You were probably an excellent student at school?

Ekaterina Trofimova: I did graduate from school with a gold medal, although my grades in elementary school were not very good. Institute too - with honors. And at least someone for all the time of my work looked at my diplomas! Because at the Sorbonne I also have an honors degree.

MS: Do you look at diplomas when interviewing candidates?

ET: I look primarily at a person, at his inclinations, abilities. I know a lot of successful professionals who studied very mediocre. And I know those who studied with honors, but never succeeded in their professional life. In general, very often already in the first 5-10 minutes it is clear whether a candidate is suitable for a given position, whether you can work with him.

MS: How do you understand that?

Е. Т.: Now the majority of those who come for an interview cannot clearly answer what they are ready to bring to the company. (This is also a test of how you prepared for the interview, how much you studied the profile of the company.) Maybe this is due to the fact that my generation went through hard years and we were eager to get a job at any cost. And today young people have problems with motivation and fixation on status and money.

MS: Business and finance are mostly male. And you are so feminine, and your voice is quiet …

ET: A quiet voice makes you listen.

MS: And yet you have come a long way and made yourself. How did you manage it?

ET: I started from the bottom and earned my reputation practically from scratch. I believe in the success of small deeds: without swinging at large tasks, try to show in small steps that you are really capable of something. I can't remember a single assignment - neither at the beginning of my career, nor now - that I would refuse. If fate turns so that I will not have a status position, I will be able and ready to do any basic work. After the Sorbonne, I stayed in France, but worked as a financial analyst in an American company, where the environment is as democratic as possible. By the way, I have never encountered gender or national restrictions there. On the contrary, my knowledge of Russia and the Russian language was rather my advantage.

MS: How is the Western corporate environment different from ours?

Ekaterina Trofimova: We work more, but less efficiently. Probably, this is due not so much to some cultural, national characteristics, but to the fact that organizational processes are less standardized. Although our people are very talented. And globalization has played a role. Many Russians have worked in the West and many foreigners have worked in Russia. But the interpenetration of working cultures happened, but not between industries. Therefore, it doesn't matter what country and what continent you come to, accountants and IT specialists are very similar: both in lifestyle, and in the manner of dress, and in the manner of communication.


MS: In France, where you lived for 11 years, the ideas of feminism are still strong. Did you manage to get them?

ET: I respect feminism, but I don't directly identify myself with this movement. A variety of opinions, approaches, types - this always contributes to better business development. But I am not a supporter of the introduction of quotas for women in senior management. It seems to me that this is somewhat artificial. But the fact that a woman can bring something different to the business …

MS: Is it with our hormones, with emotion?

ET: Professionalism also consists in controlling your emotions. There are indeed more women in high positions now. I think this is an evolutionary process. Yes, the business environment is rather tough, but what about the line at the store - less tough environment?

MS: I know a lot of women who live at work. I myself had such a period, and, frankly, I felt sorry for myself then. Don't you think that we still have a different purpose?

ET: Destination is a contrived model, which is not necessarily correct for every person. Many successful people succeeded precisely because they went beyond the model that was imposed on them. It seems to me that the very idea of balance between personal and professional is somewhat perverted and creates unnecessary complexes - that supposedly it is necessary to be in time everywhere. In life, you need to be able to prioritize. It is important to proceed from what you really need for harmony. And versatility and success on all fronts is rather the exception, not the norm.

MS: Are you married?

ET: I can only say that in my life there is a significant place for a family.

MS: What's the longest vacation you've taken in your career?

ET: Before my arrival in Russia four years ago. It was about 2.5 months.

MS: And what did you do, if it's not a secret?

ET: I was engaged in my family, was at sea, read, thought, tried to disconnect. But very quickly I began to miss the professional relevance. Self-realization in the format of a family and personal communication is clearly not enough for me.

MS: Do you make to-do lists or keep everything in your head?

ET: I keep it in my head. And I always do something, be it chores or work. I am very greedy for time - for me this is the most offensive thing to lose.

MS: But there is research confirming that the result is less effective when a person does several things at the same time

ET: And my experience says that the most effective strategy is just playing on several chessboards. This requires self-organization, but gives the best results. The more efficient and ramified a manager's team, the more tasks he can solve. I invest a lot in people - in my field, human capital decides a lot.

MS: How not to be left behind now when the competition is high and everything is rather unstable?

Ekaterina Trofimova:Survival, as you know, is not the strongest, but the one who better adapts to new circumstances. It seems to me that this should be the slogan of the present times. Recently I asked a representative of a large recruiting company: where are all those specialists who are now being laid off? It turns out that these people do not enter the labor market and stay at home in depression or rest, spending the accumulated funds. This is a big mistake. The most important thing is never to stop, not to be disappointed, not to give up, no matter how hard it is. There is always a high risk of losing faith in yourself. We must not be afraid to go to overcome, to some challenges, to show initiative. These are basic things, but the key to success is to implement them every day, every minute. Still constantly learn, learn endlessly, learn from everyone, be attentive and absorb everything,what is happening around, constantly modifying it, broadcasting and developing it.


MS: What's next for us all next year?

E. T.:What we are experiencing is a completely new reality. These changes in their scope in the global context are more serious than those that were even in the late 80s, in the 90s. The entire world financial and economic system is changing now. Considering that most countries have decided to turn on the printing press and pour money into everything to support the enterprises, this is all very, very long. The growth rates of the economy and real incomes will be low. And the model of mass consumption, when your salary is always growing and you change your car every year, will not return. We have reached a rapid growth depletion level. Even the Chinese economy is inevitably slowing down. Therefore, 2016 will not fundamentally differ from 2015. You have to get used to the fact that the level of income - unless you are making a major breakthrough in your education,if you don’t change your job fundamentally, it will not grow so quickly, and most likely will even fall because of inflation, because of the depreciation of the ruble. A technological breakthrough is required to restart the rapid growth system. But he is not.

MS: Do you think he will ever be?

ET: Perhaps it will be related to bioengineering or IT technologies. Or they will find new sources of energy. But this will not happen in a moment. Consumption will not grow rapidly either. The problem now is not in the efficiency of the state machine, not in the quality of the banking sector, financial markets, but in the real sector of the economy, where the main benefits are created. There is simply no basis for explosive growth. This does not mean that we are getting poorer. We are not getting poorer. But the rate of change in everyday life will no longer be the same as before.

MS: How easy is it to adapt to this reality?

ET: Agree to any acceptable job, even for less money. Do not take long pauses so as not to lose contacts. Change your specialty only if you are sure that it will be in demand. Now is not the time for long-term studies, except in parallel with work. We need to work harder and better, because the demands are increasing all the time. By the way, the rate of changes within the economy is now fantastic. It is not expressed in general numbers, but there are a lot of movements - and personnel too. If you drop out of the process under these conditions, it is especially dangerous.

MS: Does it make sense to launch startups at this time?

ET: If an idea, project or product is of high quality and in demand, it doesn't matter at what time to launch it. Now there is a general shortage of profitable projects. Yes, banks are more careful today. But they are ready to lend to quality projects. And there are few of them. Therefore, the right startups - yes, absolutely! They should be launched at any time, because now, in terms of liquidity, not only in Russia, but also abroad, there is really a lot of money. But they are not invested anywhere, they do not work.

MS: What is your personal relationship with money?

Ekaterina Trofimova: For me, money is not an end in itself, but a functional necessity. I admit that my level of income can drop tens and hundreds of times, but I know that I will always earn money for my loved ones. I grew up in a communal apartment, therefore, as soon as I began to receive substantial money, I immediately began to save for housing, because at first I doubted that someone would ever give me a loan.

MS: Do you like shopping?

ET: I hate it! And I don’t understand when they say that there is shopping therapy. I feel bad in stores, even grocery ones.

MS: And you seem to always know what you want to buy?

ET: I have in different cities - for example, in Paris - well-known stores to me, where there is a chance to see a suitable model. I go in, examine, start by color scheme, then measure 2-3 models. If it fits, I take it and leave. I have a very clear understanding: my thing is not mine.

MS: I have been following the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards for a long time and consider it a great business initiative, especially since you are now on the jury. Why, by the way, hasn't Russia been represented there yet?

ET: This project really helps women entrepreneurs around the world - not only with money, but also organizationally. Unfortunately, the participation of Russian women has been very limited so far. And even in those applications that came from Russia, the ideas were very poorly developed. Moreover, we have really talented and hardworking people. And very good opportunities. In the West, everything is so well-established that for a breakthrough you have to create something revolutionary. And here, wherever you turn your head, you can change something and this will really improve the lives of many, many people. We have so many opportunities for success in small deeds, from which great deeds are then formed!

Photo: Anastasia Khavzhu

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