We explore how to reach freedom with Oksana Gromova, co-founder of thePerson recruitment company, in Ukraine,
Being a working mum of two is challenging enough, juggling a family, a fulltime job, home duties, a mortgage, insomnia, hormonal ups and downs, etc; yet, when her now business partner, Nina Aleksandrova, suggested they start up an IT recruitment agency,
for which she had to leave a top management position, Oksana said “YES”!
Two years on, the business is thriving, she is a happy wife and mummy, and she finds time to also curate IT recruitment courses and provide coaching and consultancy services to IT companies.
How did she achieve it all? By reaching into her freedom.
“I feel like a giant. Not the giant of business, but the giant of my whole life.”
“I feel freedom, which encourages me to work harder and spend more time with my family and friends. I want to inspire women to close their eyes when it feels scary, and just start
doing it all anyway, because sometimes the thoughts about tomorrow kill our dreams of today!”
Let’s meet this incredible human being. Hello, Oksana!
Hello. I am Oksana Gromova, the co-founder of thePerson, a Ukraine-based recruitment company that specialises in bringing together IT talents and companies to create software
I love identifying with my Ukrainian heritage, and the historical growth and meaning of my beautiful country. Ukraine has great potential to flourish, thanks to our central position in Europe, its geographical size and the strong traditions and values.
I lost my mommy to cancer too early. I was raised in a poor family in a small village, so life wasn’t always easy.
For me working hard from a very young age was normal. I got my first job as an English tutor at 16 and after graduating I spent the next 10 years building up my career, before taking on entrepreneurial duties in IT recruitment and consulting.
It takes a strong mindset to build a successful career then take a big leap of faith to become an entrepreneur, what empowered you?
I see myself more as a leader and teacher than an entrepreneur.
Running my own business has given me the freedom to do a lot more for myself and appreciate the rewards for my efforts. My work is now reflected in my income as well as the business growth and development. As an employee, a lot of my hard work and determination seemed to go to waste.
There’s a Ukrainian folk wisdom that I stand by, which literally says “the eyes are frightened, but the hands are doing”. When I feel fearful of something new, I go
ahead and do it anyway, starting with a small step forward.
But I also love a quote by Scarlett O’hara in Gone With The Wind: “I will think about that tomorrow”. This helps me not fall after mistakes. I stay clear of negativity if it doesn’t help me solve a problem.
Were you always passionate about your Recruitment?
What I’m truly passionate about is people. Right from my earliest profession as a teacher, I loved encouraging my students and being part of their growth and achievements. I
naturally enjoy working with people and I always see right through their potential.
Through recruitment, I love adding value to both people and people’s businesses.
Your career has helped you reaching freedom. What is freedom to you?
For me freedom means having choice and time.
I take responsibility for the choices I make in pretty much everything I do, how I plan my day from the moment I wake up, my working schedule, my personal development, etc. Sometimes it means choosing to stay in the same place for a while and enjoy stillness,
which can be a very freeing conscious choice too.
What are the biggest fears or limiting beliefs you had to overcome to reach your freedom?
In addition to the more common fear of money not being enough if I stepped away from a stable income, and the fear of rejection, failing in the new business or not being good enough for it, other hurdles I faced include…
- Stereotypes such as: “A woman should stay at home and cook”, “You are too young to create a successful corporation” and “You did not graduate from Harvard or Cambridge: your education and knowledge are too poor”. Ukraine is very new to business start-ups, having had only 28 years of Independence. It takes a lot of determination to create a strong and bigger future in our country (hopefully, in the very near future!).
- The fear of neglecting my family. When you want to take good care of more than just yourself, you tread more carefully in your decision-making.
What helps you stay grounded?
I only surround myself with people who support me. My circle of friends provides the love, care and support I need. Some I’ve known since childhood.
My husband is also very special to me. Nobody has given and keeps giving me such a great support as he does. He took parental leave twice and he’s a great daddy to our beautiful sons. Him and I may not be the “perfect couple” but we are a “perfect team”!
What’s next for you and thePerson?
ThePerson is still at the beginning of its journey. The focus is on growing this delicate plant into a powerful tree that doesn’t require watering every day. Not only expanding financially, I don’t want to just make money and become a “cliche” business woman; but my dream is to create a real value for my country and society, by making a positive impact in people’s lives and my personal life too.
I feel as though Ukraine has been on pause for 150 years and now we’re ready to make a huge leap forward, to catch a new wave of international growth.
“Having reached my own business and personal freedom, I want to expand the freedom to my community.”
Projects on the pipeline include supporting inclusion at work, reducing age and gender discrimination in Ukrainian recruitment, opening a Basketball centre in
Dnipro (I was a big fan of Lebron James), social initiatives to protect women from domestic abuse and creating educational centres in smaller villages to help achieve more equality treatment for all.
The whole world is becoming more and more open and global. I imagine a future with no nations thanks to growing cross-border relations that increase understanding and freedom, thus eradicate conflicts.
We love these projects. Thank you for openly sharing with us your story and the wonderful work that you do !
ThePerson website is coming soon. So here’s how to best connect with Oksana for now: