Elena Krutova
Global Head of People Development and People Care, Exness

‘2022 will be the year of the people in Exness. Our focus is on people development, leadership programmes, and actions to further improve the well-being of our families. Our 2022 growth plans are huge: we will continue to grow our business globally, improving operations in our offices all over the world, bringing new expertise to almost all our departments. My career development is based on constant hard work and dedication, a continuous focus on learning, and a desire to be a better person and professional’

Tell us about your company.
“Exness is one of the largest, renowned multi-asset brokerage firms in Cyprus that has heavily invested in helping the country cope with Covid-19, and during difficult times such as the wildfires that raged in July this year. For the past year, we have also taken part in numerous initiatives through our participation in the TechIsland association, which aims to put Cyprus on the map as a global technological hub. Our aim is to provide high quality services to our customers through our unique algorithmic-led product approach.”

What do you think helped you the most to make a career as a woman?
“It is interesting to see how many people talk of the complexities of building a career as a woman, as I have never really faced any. I believe that every person should be treated professionally despite their gender or sexual preference. This is the only attitude that can finally bring the diversity and equality that so many speak of. Whether a woman or a man, everyone can face challenges when building a career.
My career development is based on constant hard work and dedication, a continuous focus on learning, and a desire to be a better person and professional. Many talented people have helped me develop through their feedback or criticism, and this growth was not always pleasant or comfortable. I always set bigger goals for myself, which many people may consider impossible. This, combined with the nature of my personality are the factors to which I account my steady climb on the career ladder.”

What is the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
“My family. We usually underestimate how much family can do to support one’s career, not only the important discussions regarding career choices, relocating to another country or accepting a promotion, it is also about the daily support we receive, which can be found at family dinners, and with leisure time that helps heal the stress from the working week. I often have discussions with my husband about my day’s progress and achievements, which I value deeply, including the feedback received from my manager. My daughter helps me immensely as well. When I see myself through her eyes, it helps me better reflect on my role as a mother, as a manager, and as an individual.”

What are some patterns you have noticed over the years about women at work, and things they could be doing better to advance their careers?
“Most women believe they need to fight for their careers and prove every day that they deserve to be where they are. Women must do more than men to progress in their careers. However, when a woman starts to employ aggressive strategies to protect her own career, this may be risky. Women should not feel the need to be arrogant, cold, or aggressive to be successful.
The most powerful weapons women possess are emotional intelligence, flexibility, and the ability to connect between different people. Women have great strength in seeming weaknesses, and this should be the core of their career. I do not like to see women trying to act like men to show that they deserve the same career. The beauty of women should not be hidden even when they believe that their current business world is designed in a masculine or patriarchal way.”

Do or did you have a woman leader as a mentor or are there specific women who inspired you and why?
“I like working with many talented women, each with a unique personality, life story, career, and personal choices. I cannot name any woman specifically but there are certainly many of them. My line manager, who is a woman, inspires me to never give up even when things may be overwhelming. My female team members help me to be a better manager. One of my first managers was a woman who I still admire and keep in contact with, even after decades of not working together. Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms.
Recently, I thanked one of my colleagues for inspiring me to look better every day. She is a very stylish lady, and from her I have learned to dress well and look good even when I am under stress. This is a valuable quality for us women, as we often feel better when we look better, not to mention more confident.”