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#STEMStories: Polina, Chief Transformation Officer and HR Director, Russia

#STEMStories: Polina, Chief Transformation Officer and HR Director, Russia

1. Introduce yourself, who are you, what do you do?

I am the Deputy CEO of Human Resources and the Chief Transformation Officer (CTO) at CROC. My company is one of the Russian IT market leaders, contributing to the development of national digital ecosystems and delivering IT projects in 40 other countries.

2. How did you arrive at this career (or point in your life/work)? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do?

I graduated from Lomonosov Moscow State University, gaining my first degree in the Philosophy Department and my master’s degree in the State Management Department. While pursuing a degree, I was always interested in the nature of the technological change that would revolutionise our existing social contracts and the very fabric of society.Therefore, when I was looking for an industry to apply to as an HR specialist I realised that the IT industry would suit me best, as a rapidly evolving area full of highly qualified professionals with forward-looking thinking. In 2007, I joined the IT company CROC as an intern. And since then I have been growing with the company and within the company.

3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings?

An opportunity to meet interesting people,who inspire me. I can learn from their success, knowledge and energy and can’t help wondering at how different they all are. Moreover, new experiences always thrill me and help to get out of my comfort zone.

4. What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story?

In stressful situations, our autonomic nervous system can respond massively and uncontrollably. The real gateway to manage our autonomous reactions is breathing. I usually try to utilize this to retain control.

Once I gave a speech in front of a big international audience during a conference in Dubai. It was the first time I had to give a presentation in English to several hundred people and was quite stressed so I couldn’t handle my heart jumping out of my chest. The right breathing approach helped to fix it.

However, physiology is not the only part of enduring stress. Raising morale is also important and I take advantage of finding solace in discussing issues and getting support from my experienced colleagues, who have already made it through the same hurdles I may face.

5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this?

My mother is a perfect role model for me – at 35 she already had her own business, one of the first recruiting companies in Russia. And my father always boosted this by supporting and encouraging my mom. Therefore, since childhood, the idea of a successful business woman has been the norm to me, not a deviation.

6. What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time?

Open doors that lead to the paths important to me, instead of pursuing ways in order to meet the expectations of others.

7. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM?

  • Learn to listen and listen to learn.
  • However, don’t let anybody turn you off your course.
  • Remember that you are your own biggest challenge!

8. How do you measure your success?

In keeping up with the fast pace of our company and broadening its horizons.
I am working on CROC’s strategic development and am responsible for supporting and supervising all HR practices, including staff training and education, recruitment, human relations, corporate culture, and internal communications. It is important to me to develop unprecedented projects and initiate unique programs. Over the last two years I have been proudly ranked number one among HR directors in the Russian information technology sector according to the Russian Managers Association and Kommersant Publishing House.

9. Where can we find out more about your work?

You may have a look at my bio and find some recent interviews onCROC’s corporate web-site: https://www.croc.ru/eng/about/direction/detail/habarova/

10. Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you?

I run a LinkedIn page, so young women are very welcome to contact me there: https://www.linkedin.com/in/polinakhabarova/