A HEROINE OF OUR TIME
Natalya Kasperskaya is one of the most successful women of Russia. She is also a key figure in Russian IT. When telling Natalya’s story, media focus only on her career and business success. They, however, tend to forget to publicize her personal goals. Mrs. Kasperskaya was able to reach such heights as a professional, a mother and a wife for being emotionally strong. The very notion of a strong person applied to Natalya evolves into something deep and multifaceted.
Her high professionalism, competence and level of intelligence are of no doubt. At the rise of her career, Natalya worked in KAMI Information Technologies Center and developed her managing and financial skills. As she told us, “My job was to sell software and accessories and I did well. After that, our CEO offered me selling anti-viruses which also yielded fruit. Finally, in 1997, when KAMI dissolved into several companies, I persuaded Mr. Kaspersky and two of our main programmers to register Kaspersky Lab”.
While organising her business, Natalya faced numerous difficulties. According to her, for a certain period the company could literally collapse. However, supportive market environment combined with professional skills of Mrs. Kasperskaya helped it survive and solve various problems, including financial ones. For instance, she gave lecture on Kaspersky Lab in MSU to find good specialists. As a result, Natalya could raise them from three students of Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics. One of them became head of sales department, the second one became a programmer, and the third one was a web-master.
Her pro-active attitude, ability for being strategic, desire for self-development and being a perfect manager offered her exciting possibilities in business. Natalya remembers, that “When launching a company, we were arguing a lot on a CEO position. Male shareholders did not want to occupy it, so I had to organise everything, hire staff, etc. I agreed to become a temporary CEO. However, at the time I could not even imagine I would remain it for 10 years”.
Now Natalya operates InfoWatch company, which designs corporate data security solutions. Mrs. Kasperskaya says that if not for Perestroyka, she could have been doing social work. Her courage and desire to invent assisted her in building a career in IT. She thinks that possessing those qualities and desiring to become an entrepreneur one will eventually sink into business.
Natalya’s moral qualities make another side of her strong character. She not only watches the cybersecurity of Russian people with already existing means but also works out new initiatives to solve the problem. For example, in December 2015 throughout the Internet Economy 2015 forum Natalya Kasperskaya reported Vladimir Putin her suggestions on reinforcing web regulating. After that, she became a head of a special working subgroup and solved many of the problems set.
Natalya’s concern about Russia and its citizens is both about her mission and about sincere desire to change lives for the better. Natalya Kasperskaya says: “I am against the idea that every woman should be an entrepreneur. Very often, I hear appeals to increase women’s participation in managing. However, our country does not have such a problem. In Russian small and medium business, 48% of CEOs are women. The number is stratospheric! Our main problem is demography, not women in business or management. Let’s concentrate on that instead”.
By the way, the woman-entrepreneur has 3 daughters and 2 sons, which is another part of her strong personality. She sees no obstacles in creating a healthy, happy family. Natalya advises women to give birth prior to becoming entrepreneurs. As for her, it is never too late to launch one’s own business, but giving birth has its physiological limitations.
Natalya Kasperskaya is undeniably a mother-heroine, as she has time for her children as well as her companies, which, according to her, have to be treated like kids. Moreover, her maternal instinct made her get her children a goat and then a real farm. She tells: “We decided that children should drink natural milk and bought a goat. After that, we bought hens, tom turkeys and rabbits. Now we are planning to expand our farm, as Russian agriculture is developing swiftly. I like animals anyway. For instance, my goats recognize me and are always glad to see me”. Mrs. Kasperskaya thinks that her farm is expanding due to her entrepreneur character. If you can handle a goat, then business is also within your power.
Natalya Kasperskaya’s professionalism and manifold activity could not be passed over by Russian government. That is why on 7 March 2016 she was awarded with a Woman of a Year 2016 prize by the chairperson of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko. Mrs. Kasperskaya is not only a living example for women who want to combine family life and entrepreneurship. She is also a real heroine of our time.
Ekaterina Kudryavtseva, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Boykov