In The Spotlight
What career advice would you give your younger self?
Spend as much time in the field learning the nuts and bolts before moving to the office-based role. Later on, this experience will be priceless as it opens many doors and also because one can’t hide incompetence for very long!
What do you think are the benefits of being a member of SPE?
Undoubtedly, networking and access to educational events.
Best Achievement so far?
Being recognised for my expertise, I got to manage a multi-million portfolio of contracts in one of the world’s biggest operators. But, as a young engineer, taking charge of wellsite operations in the desert, comes a close second.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
Growing up in the Soviet Union, children aspired to be cosmonauts or ballerinas. I wanted to follow in my father’s steps and become a military commander so that one day I would be sent on a secret mission. I could have been a female Bond 007 agent!
What are the main career stepping stones you have taken?
My early career experience included hammering 2” pipe and cementing wells in the desert. But of course, no-one wants to do that forever, so I took the plunge into a business suit to get commercial and contractual experience. I still feel equally at home onsite or in the office.
Anything you would do differently?
My motto is “No regrets!”. Whatever the experience, there is always something to be learnt from it.
Who has been your greatest influence?
One that springs to mind is Edith Head. She did not allow her lack of formal training to hold her back from achieving what she wanted. After 25 years she had been recognised for contribution to her industry and been awarded a prestigious eight Oscars.
What’s your idea of perfect retirement?
Being fit and sane. As the great Russian poet Pushkin said in 1833: “The Lord forbid my going mad.” I’ve seen nothing worse than when one’s mind leaves them.
What would your autobiography be called?
Don’t know what it will be called but it is gonna be a bestseller!
What is the best way to motivate others?
It’s an old saying but I always try to remember it: “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I’ll copy; but involve me and I will understand.”
Your favourite stress-buster?
Dinner at Hawksmoor followed by a jazz concert at Ronnie Scott’s. If I have no access to either, gardening until I can’t feel my back muscles.
Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?
I can’t get tired of the Iberian peninsula, sampling it’s perfect food and wine while practicing my Spanish.
If you were a character in a TV series or movie who would you be?
It has got to be Miranda Priestly, Meryl Streep’s character in Devil Wears Prada. Just imagine all that bottomless closet of shoes and bags and a steak for lunch!
What’s on your bucket list – the things you still want to accomplish?
Visit New York. They say everyone has a book in them, so becoming a published author would be awesome. And making wine from my own grapes.