To be lost in London

Source: To be lost in London

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Family / Work balance. Gender differences

Recently several people in my network started discussing family/work balance. So I wanted to ask my friends in my Facebook Group how they make it and I Googled an image for a post. The first pictures showed me the following:

Family_work_balance

A female trying to keep balance. There were many others with… female trying to manage kids, ironing and other house work with PCs, phones and other office tools. It’s interesting, that there weren’t so many males doing that. Even though I managed to find some of them with the same balancing postures somewhere in the bottom of the page. There was even a better picture with woman managing work on one side of the scales and a man managing family on another side:

work_family_balance-570x380

Lately there were lots of articles, posts, public talks about gender inequality. I was reading them, but was too busy to realize the actual difference between female and male parts in our society. I am a founding member in the global CEO Network that connects CEOs from all over the world to discuss their difficulties, challenges and problems. There are few female members in this Network and I was always wondering if we could change it. There will be a solution soon!

There is already a generation of young entrepreneurs – male and female, who want to do more. I see that there is more encouragement from the Governments, their peers and teachers to be bigger. However, there is still a lot to do and a lot to work on.

I think, when we start showing young girls that they can be powerful and there is nothing wrong with it, that it’s OKAY to have your own opinion, that it’s good to be ambitious, – then we will have more girls making it to the top!

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Travelling June 2015

2015-06-17 23.21.34Just arrived from my crazy busy trip to France and Belgium. Had lots of work, discovered several new wine regions and grape types. Had some time to discover new cities, beauties, places, food.

Tired, but very excited! Hopefully, this weekend my muse will be with me so that I will share my experience with you all! And, of course, I didn’t forget my promise to write about Saint-Peteresburg. Well, that city is magical for me, so it will take some time. Be patient, please!

Have a great end of the week!

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Bordeaux. First Impressions

Food in BordeauxHaving my first dinner in Bordeaux in a central square right under the beautiful Gothic style church with a sound of jazz… What could be more relaxing and romantic? This city has that rare spirit of relaxation.

I don’t remember the last time when I allowed myself just to wonder in a new city, being lost within its small streets, entering monuments, churches and monasteries and even stores just to see what are the trends now. I am glad I did it here in Bordeaux. I would say that this city forces you to do so. You can’t have a plan here, you just have to enjoy it and drink it like one of its greatest wines.
This time I decided to be a tourist and take a bus from the airport to the apartment that I rented through www.airbnb.com. Since I am from the communication side, local people are interesting for me, their behavior, their attitudes towards foreigners. I heard so many stories about those “arrogant” French who didn’t like to speak other languages and didn’t like tourists. Even though I have several french friends and I don’t believe all those stories because my friends are amazing, I was a bit concerned. I would say my expectations to have great people here were confirmed and reconfirmed. Starting from the girl who rented me an apartment and finishing with the guy on a tram stop – they were helpful and supportive. Some of them didn’t speak English but they could understand. So they replied to me in French and, since I speak Portuguese, I understood their French and we managed to communicate.

I live on the right side of the Garonne river and I need to use Pierre bridge – one of the oldest and the most beautiful – to cross it.

Pierre Bridge

Pierre Bridge

Church

Church of Notre Dame

church2

Bordeaux Cathedral

During my trip around the city I found several interesting spots with monumental architecture, with good food and amazing typical places with French cheeses and wines.

chees

Sure I couldn’t pass by without buying some!

animatorsIt was funny to discover that the commercial street in Bordeaux is called Rue Sainte Catherine… Those who have ever been to Porto will understand me. There are several animators around the place and most of them are without gravity 😀

I couldn’t stay long as it was a bit chilly in the evening and started raining. I went home and now I am having a nice Bordeaux wine with an amazing French cheese, finishing this story for you and expecting tomorrow’s Vinexpo.

I feel comfortable in Bordeaux. Tomorrow I will see the business side of France, but I like it already.

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Ladies’ night

Ladies' NightI am in Moscow now for a business trip. However, how can we do business without some cultural program? So… I figured that there was a play on June 1st that I really wanted to see for already 5 or 6 years. Surely, I went for it.

So that was a performance I was longing to see. It was a famous play with several very famous Russian actors – Ladies’ night. I had extremely high expectations because all my friends were telling me it was amazing.

I invited my family and we were set for a great evening together. In the beginning it was… boring. I even saw it as something vulgar and distasteful. There were my favorite actors there and I felt sorry for them. I was surprised that they accepted to be there.

However, in the second part of the play everything changed dramatically.  It was exiting and funny and just… amazing. It was such a huge change! I didn’t expect that.

That was interesting to analyze and it supported my idea that I had before – it doesn’t matter how you start! What matters is how you progress and how you finish. That’s what will make people remember you. Never ever give up if you think you started badly!!! Go till the end and you will see the magic you are capable for!

P.S. If someone hasn’t seen Ladies’ Night, it will be my recommendation for the nearest future!!!

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Saturday reading about public speaking

The bookI have been reading many books about public speaking recently. Many of those are about leadership, some about management, some are just promoting the author. The book I am reading now is just about public speaking, it gives an insight of what it is, how it should be done and what are the consequences. Scott Berkun wrote it in 2010 and it’s called “Confessions of a public speaker”.  Here he is sharing all the wins and losses he had during his career as a public speaker. While reading this book I feel like I am actually having a conversation with Scott. It’s written in a way it could be presented from the stage. It’s clear, it’s full of facts and ideas. Today I reached the place where he is saying: “Most people say they’re afraid of performing for an audience, but this is bullshit. Unless you are living alone on a private island and have your groceries mailed to you, you have an audience every time you open your mouth. If you can talk to your mom on the phone for an hour or have an all-night fight with your boyfriend, you know most of what you need to communicate.” This is so true.

My job is international communications, so I talk to 50-100 people every day in several languages and that’s kind of amazing. We have to discuss ideas and proposals, negotiate them and finally agree or disagree. It’s exciting to see how people from different cultures function, how they communicate, how their minds work.

In his book Scott is talking about performing on stage, but don’t forget that we perform every day and we don’t need to have a stage to do so. Don’t be afraid of stage and performing, it’s just a place to share your ideas, and I am sure we all have a lot to share with each other!

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OlesyaDiario Economico recently published an interview with me about my activities in Portugal, about new magazine – SiP – Shop in Portugal.

I am very proud to share it with you.

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Douro Valley – Paradise on Earth

Dom Henrique

Dom Henrique

Quiet morning in Regua

Quiet morning in Regua

Passing one of the dams

Passing one of the dams

Bridge, eh?

Bridge, eh?

Going back to Porto

Going back to Porto

I disappeared for some time, but it’s just because I was having a wonderful time on the Best European River Cruise – Cruise in Douro Valley. Well, I am writing the full “report” about this trip now, but I couldn’t keep it for myself anymore, so here are just a few photos and the trip’s description. I hope it will push you take it one of these days 🙂

So, our trip started in Porto in a gorgeous boat called Infante Dom Henrique. To say the truth, I am a huge fan of Dom Henrique (Henry the Navigator) himself. He is a huge hero for me, he opened the Ages of Discoveries for Portugal and I’d say for the whole world. He went on for unknown countries to conquer them. He was searching for the sea route to India and dedicated his life to reaching this goal. He built a new boat, more advanced. He created Nautical School of Sagres in Portugal. He was one kind of a creator and strategic thinker, he was courageous desicion maker!!! Well, at least what the history tells us and I’d like to think it’s truth 🙂

So with a feeling of being the first navigator, discovering new territories, we went on to our trip.

The navigation is forbidden in Douro during the night, so we had to stop in several towns to spend the night. Those stops were – Regua, Pinhao, Vega de Terron, Barca D’Alva. On our way back we also stopped in Pinhao and Regua and then – back to Porto. During our trip we visited such amazing points, hidden somewhere among the Douro Valley hills, like Sao Salvador do Mondo, Sao Joao da Pesqueira, Vila Real with amazing Mateus Palace. Braga, Salamanca in Spain, and, of course, – Porto – my lovely city, they are not really in Douro Valley, but I’d say not so far away. It’s worth going there to feel the history of these places, to become a part of it. We also passed huge dams and experienced a strange feeling going under the lowest bridges possible…

So here you have some photos from the trip. Hope you will love them.

Ate ja! 🙂

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Northern Portugal – weekend

You are wondering what you can do in the north of Portugal… Yes, I know that many people know Lisbon and Algarve more, maybe also Madeira, but Porto and the North are offering many interesting and nice places to visit.

What we did last weekend was amazing and really enjoyable, so I’d like to share it with you. Hope you’ll follow our example and remember it for a long time!

So we started our Saturday early in the morning, approx. at 9am, by visiting Porto center. It was not that hot, so we could walk around, make some pictures and even have a cup of coffee in one of the cafes in downtown. Carmelitas and Carmo churches, park Cordoria, Clerigos, Aliados, Sao Bento train station, Ribeira… Well, I am very lucky to know some people here, so we were allowed to take the boat Rabelos from the Porto side right at the time we arrived there, so we didn’t have to wait. After the boat trip on the Douro river we had a wonderful lunch with fish, green wine of course, ice-creams, and a coffee (“cafezinho”) already on the river-side of the town Villa Nova de Gaia. Normally, such program would be finished in one of the wine cellars, but we loved everything so much that we didn’t want to stop on that. We decided to travel to the Douro Valley and try Portuguese wines there, exactly where they are being produced.

IMG-20130810-00068It was +39C there, very dry and hot, but still amazing! Grapes are ready… Not for the wine yet, but we tried a couple – they are very sweet (hope, the owner of the Quinta will allow me back after that). More or less 1 hour drive from Porto and we are in paradise – river, mountains, all possible fruits being sold right near the road (peaches, figs, grapes of course, nectarines and many others). Hills with vineyards on them, almost ready to provide us with the grapes for the wine. However, we tried the previous year wines and of course older wines too. It was a surprise for me to find not only Douro’s typical wines made of the Douro’s typical casts of grapes like Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz etc., but also German Riesling and Southern Moscatel, which are not usual for this region. Moscatel wine was very tasty though, very aromatic but enough to not to be a “perfume”.

IMG-20130810-00070After this trip we had only our way back with one stop to buy melon, peach, grapes for our dinner. Great trip! We were not even tired after that. Here they are on the picture.

So the next day we had was only for sports and Porto, although if you have only one weekend, I’d suggest you visit other small cities in the north, like Braga, Guimaraes, Ponte de Lima or Amarante, for instance. So for us Sunday was only for tennis and surfing in the evening. Well, I love sports so it was again a very enjoyable and relaxing day.

IMG-20130811-00073My own evening I decided to spend in my favorite cafe near the ocean, writing and relaxing after such an intensive weekend. It’s so inspirational to see many people relaxing, doing some sports, like running, skateboarding, biking… Some of them were dancing lindy-hop right on the beach. People were relaxing too. The waiter in the cafe, named Joao, is always very nice and sweet. This time he lightened a candle only for me, only on my table, which made others stare at me, like at a VIP 🙂

It’s impossible not to fell in love with such a beautiful place and with such amazing and caring people. Hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the North of Portugal as I do every day.

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AMBAR – Show must go on!

This journey began 74 years ago… Portuguese stationary company AMBAR was created by one very smart man and developed throughout the years by its faithful employees and millions of satisfied customers, all over the world. For many years this company brought a revenue stream for Portuguese economy. AMBAR has been a successful job creator within and outside Portugal, and a promoter of Portuguese quality in many foreign countries.

Famous black-covered line of stationary by AMBAR

Famous black-covered line of stationary by AMBAR

Among its product ranges, one in particular became AMBAR’s trademark. Ask any mid-aged Portuguese person weather they know any black covered stationary line (diaries, copy books, note books and binders), and they will tell you they grew up with it. Ask if they know the producer, and they won’t hesitate even for a second: AMBAR.

"Perseverance and competence... To our friend, Americo Barbosa"
“Perseverance and competence… To our friend, Americo Barbosa”

Américo Barbosa’s main focus point was the steady growth of his company. He was always looking forward to bring new strength and talent into the company and provide knowledge to his employees, whom he considered to be his friends. It’s not by accident, that there is a monument dedicated to Américo Barbosa, placed right near the headquarters. The dedication words say: “Perseverance and competence… To our friend, Américo Barbosa”. Who would not want to be remembered like that?

By the late 1990’s Américo Barbosa passed away… It takes a long time to build a strong business, but almost no time is needed to overturn it. AMBAR used to be one of the strongest players in the stationary industry. Without its brain, its dedicated owner it became vulnerable. It took more than 50 years to build it powerful and strong but it took less than 15 to make it debilitated. Mismanagement brought the company to its current state of uncertainty.

However, it still has potential. The production plant is equipped with the latest machines. There are still customers from different countries ordering goods. It has experienced people who have been working for it for more than 20 years, it has a history, it has life in it, it has spirit and it’s still strong enough to fight for its life, for its future!!!

I am really concerned about this company after seeing its capacities, its potential and getting to know its history. After visiting their production grounds I felt like I became a part of a family… Beautiful, friendly people were surrounding me. I understood what Mr. Américo Barbosa meant when he was talking about friendship. They know what they are working to save. I am sure Américo Barbosa would have been proud of his friends who are ready to help his “child” in a difficult situation, to bring back its success. I am sure he is with us and he is saying: “The Show must go on!”

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