Anna Tolushkina: about business in Ukraine, life values and sexism.

Today is the time of strong women. Everyone puts their meaning into it. But, isn’t it possible to call a woman who works successfully in the men’s business and is not inferior to her male colleagues?

Anna, construction is a rather complex field and a rather masculine profession. Tell us about your professional path. How did you manage the company?

I thought about my own business back in university. I studied management at KNUCA and already in the last years there was no understanding of what to do next and the question arose who am I? Engineer – no, economist – no, financier – no, you are a manager of organizations there там Although the specialty did not give an idea of what to do, but clearly pushed for concrete action. And then, absolutely free of charge, I went to gain experience in the design institute in the department of estimates, where the crazy rhythm and practice in the design of construction gave direction for a lifetime. It was then that I realized that building and creating projects was my topic. It touched me. Although there were activities in advertising and in the beauty industry and the creation of several online stores, but nothing gave so much drive.

As a rule, directors of construction companies are men. How did you manage to get such a position?

Through trials and errors, I created a company in which I am not just a director, but an ideological inspirer and the main critic of my own work. After the start of the construction market and a crazy fall in 2008, the aspirations have not changed, and the constant swing only strengthened the desire to work, optimize and reach a new level. Get better. With more than ten years of experience in management positions in the Customer service, general contracting and contracting organizations, development management, project management and conducting the full construction cycle. At some point, it became clear that you need to work for yourself. When you know for sure: what is better than to control and not depend on other people’s opinions.

Tell us about the project itself?

BUSINESS BUDGET CONTROL combines two key areas: development and consulting. Our goal is to attract investment, create projects and provide a full range of services in the fields of residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural real estate. To achieve this goal, the BBC uses an individual approach to any project, offering solutions that save resources needed to implement projects for various purposes. We focus on the design, construction and operation of buildings and structures, taking into account the requirements of all stakeholders, even the most complex projects. The activities of the BBC are as diverse as the requirements for the company. Our experience makes possible to provide a wide range of services covering the entire field of construction. In addition, the company provides additional services for the development and implementation of management accounting, legal support, etc. Over the years, we have saved customers more than a million dollars.

Tell us about your work in this project. What tasks do you face?

In short, my main job is to conclude an agreement with a new client, and then control the quality and timing of tasks set by the customer. But in fact everything is much more complicated and depends on the project. Most often we take turnkey work and then we perform all the processes: from design work, finding direct contractors, estimating and phasing control of the construction process. Although the whole team does this, I am always up to date and keep my hand on the pulse of each project.

Anna, what is the main secret of a successful operation?

Analyzing the experience, I can say that in construction it is a whole set of factors. First of all, a professional approach to any issue, the ability to clearly explain to customers each clause of the contract. Also, given the features and conditions of the business environment of Ukraine and Europe – work in accordance with international standards and approach to doing business. And most importantly – an individual approach to each person and project.

Tell us how your working day is built. Construction is also quite a creative field. What inspires you?

My schedule is not standardized. Basically, I’m either in the office or in a meeting, the phone does not stop ringing. Fortunately, a lot is happening online now, which makes it much easier to control all the processes. Of course, fatigue is present. Helps to be in the tone of sports and family. I run, do yoga and it allows me to relax. This is how new ideas and solutions come.

Your day consists of many communications. Do you have golden rules?

It’s true. I have daily communication with customers and contractors, as well as acquaintances with customers from various fields (including agriculture, cars, alternative energy, restaurant, hotel business) and all this is very stimulating to develop and understand the specifics of their activities. To be in the subject I read a lot. Books allow you to focus, connect the imagination and are very calming. In each book I find for myself the main insight, which I try to apply in life.

At work you are surrounded by a lot of respectable men, what are the main obstacles you face now in your work? How are you in business communication?

Construction has always been considered a man’s prerogative and there are men’s rules of the game. The main problem has always been sexism. Especially at first. Negotiations, the first meeting with the customer, work with contractors is always based on a template. First you are evaluated – a woman, a blonde, what to talk to her. And even if you are a mega-cool specialist, you will be shown who is in charge! But I’m used to talking to an opponent “in one language”, and this is the right strategy for any manager, regardless of gender. Men think in clear and simple constructions, which means that in a business conversation a woman must appeal to numbers and facts, only then she will be able to eliminate the stereotype of her low expertise and make take herself seriously. Fortunately, after the first meeting with clients or colleagues, no one doubts that they have a professional and a person to whom you can safely entrust any project.