We continue our interview marathon for the “Women in Finance” project. Today it's time to introduce you to Alyona Mysko. Alyona - CEO and founder at fuelfinance and she helps startup founders make their finance function efficient.
Have you ever had a feeling that your gender might be (had been) a limiting factor when looking for a job?
No. I never thought about myself this way. But I faced this on my professional path as a young girl being financier, so there were some prejudices. But I never had a feeling that my gender could be a limiting factor.
Focusing on big business, how friendly is the professional environment for employees with children?
I can't answer since I don't have children and I don't monitor this issue. But I have seen employees come to work with children in some large companies.
Do you believe that some professions can be exclusively male or female?
I believe there may be a difference between women and men in terms of physical abilities but certainly not in terms of intelligence. As Israel’s example shows, women can serve in the army. However, when it comes to physical labor there are also some exceptions, it all depends on the individual.
In your opinion, is the "glass ceiling" a reality in Ukraine or it’s just a topic for burning issues on social media?
It is important to keep in mind that talented people will always find ways to grow under any conditions and circumstances. I don’t believe in the "glass ceiling". If you are determined, want to grow and do everything to grow, there are no obstacles.
How do you feel about feminine gender-specific language, do you use it in speech/correspondence?
I don’t use it and it’s not an issue that should be discussed in the business environment. There are much more important topics than feminine language and whether you say you’re a lawyer or a “lawtress”, this won’t affect your work.
Do you see any prospects for using cryptocurrencies in Ukraine?
In my view, cryptocurrency may become another tool, similar to banknotes. More like an alternative to money, an exchange tool, not like an investment.
Have you ever dreamed of working abroad? If so, where?
When I worked as an auditor, I thought I wanted to work abroad. I thought of countries like Britain or Germany. But in fact, I got disillusioned very quickly, because it's not a question of where you work, it's a question of whether you do what you love. And at that time I didn't like being an auditor, no matter where. There would be some quick effect from the fact that I relocated to another country but in fact changing location doesn’t change the attitude to work.
If you aim to raise your value in the labor market, which skill should be given the most time?
It depends on the field you work in, I think one of the essential skills is the ability of incessant learning and self-development and avoiding the misleading idea that you already know everything. If you are OK with these skills, as well as with communication skills and the sense of responsibility for what you do, you can handle everything else.
Is feminism still a hot topic for discussion in Ukraine?
I don't know, I can't say that I’m much into feminism or that I often discuss this topic, so it's hard for me to comment on it.
Is there an example of a really inclusive employer or is it always just an image, while performance remains the top priority?
Let's face it: business is always about performance. An employee and a company always have a bilateral agreement on what they give to each other. And this is clearly not the type of relationship between a child and an adult, where the company takes care of the employee’s entire life. I guess, business is first and foremost a team, it is about bilateral agreements. I believe this is a fair type of communication between employer and employee.
In your opinion, how does upbringing influence girls’ future life, personal and professional development? What changes would you make?
Any upbringing has a 100% impact on any child. I have always been taught the idea that intelligence, learning and skills are the best investment you can have in your life. Another idea is that, regardless of the circumstances, I must always be able to earn my living, to realize my potential and that it’s a №1 priority in any person’s life. In my family, upbringing was a top value and meant giving maximum education, encouraging learning, hobbies and personal development. And it significantly helped me to get where I am now. Therefore, I believe that education is crucial. If you are told as a child that your business is to get married, you will grow up with such a belief.I wouldn’t have changed anything in my upbringing, would have made 0% change.
How important are your career and work for you? On a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is the minimum, 10 is the maximum.
10 out of 10 :)))
In your opinion, what forms of support from the company or organization would be most desirable for women, their promotion and development?
The same as for everyone else in the team. Any person must be given maximum opportunities for realization. Communication, business specifics and a person’s responsibilities should give them maximum motivation, challenges every day, the opportunity to learn, to talk about their mistakes and analyze them. As well as to draw conclusions and move faster. This is important for both women and men.
What competencies and skills do you think girls should be taught today?
Communication skills, self-worth, self-confidence, self-presentation skills, public speaking. Actually, girls should choose what they want to learn and, depending on what position they aim for, search their way, explore and try everything that appeals to them.
We see hundreds of successful women in the media who built a career, raised capital and often have nothing to do with the creative professions. How important is it to talk about equality in Ukraine, if the "glass ceiling" was overcome by such a large number of people?
Frankly, I don’t understand the question. It is unlikely that creative professions can attract capital. Raising capital, in substance, is an issue that concerns only the business environment. I tend to think of entrepreneurs as creative people. We have many women with creative professions, their task is not to attract capital, but to make outstanding art objects that are evaluated differently. And this is not the way that entrepreneurs go. That's why I don't understand the problem of the “glass ceiling”, maybe I haven't encountered it or it’s a “survival bias”, so it's hard for me to say. Maybe it really exists, but it never happened to me. I believe that anyone can realize their ambition and break through any glass ceiling.
The interview was conducted before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.