The Value of Difference: Alumna Anastasiia Shmatina
JCU Professor Antonella Salvatore welcomed Alumna Anastasiia Shmatina to her class “Professional Skills for Career Development” on February 28, 2020.
Anastasiia graduated from John Cabot University in 2018, with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Marketing. Right after graduation, thanks to JCU’s Career Fair, she found an internship as a business developer at Messagenius, a Rome-based start-up that designed an application that provides instant and secure messaging to various organizations. Anastasiia was tasked with rebranding the company’s image, and after two months, she received a full-time contract.
Besides her corporate life, Anastasiia also works as a chef in the NGO “Humilitas,” teaching culinary courses to refugees. Through this experience, she has learned to connect with different people from all around the world and with diverse backgrounds, learning to put herself in their shoes. Anastasiia is able to manage two jobs thanks to her passion and consistent planning.
One of the business tips that she shared with the students during her lecture, was to never hide from a challenge but to go out of one’s own comfort zone in order to succeed in the business environment. Most importantly, one should never be silent, never passively wait for feedback. Anastasiia underlined how believing in oneself is the most important part of revealing your true worth in the work environment.
The Importance of Professional Emails
During the lecture, Anastasiia also highlighted how important it is to write the right emails to the right people, and how these emails should focus on the other party rather than one’s own company and its accomplishments. As a matter of fact, during her internship, she was contacting various organizations to try to make them invest in Messagenius. After several disregarded emails from various companies, finally, the CEO of one of the most important organizations in the personal care sector, Procter and Gamble, replied to her. Both Anastasiia and her bosses were thrilled about this opportunity.
Women in Tech
In 2019, Anastasiia was invited to the Women in Tech panel in Lisbon during the annual Web Summit, which is considered to be the largest tech event in the world. Anastasiia brought up the discussion of gender in the workplace, saying that “you should not perceive yourself as a man or a woman in the workplace, you should perceive yourself as a professional.” Gender should not be a factor in the workplace, and for this reason, Anastasiia believes that together with “Women in Tech”, there should also be a “Men in Tech” event.
The most important tip that Anastasiia shared was to combine hard skills together with soft skills. Soft skills are defined as interpersonal, or people skills. They include things like communication skills, listening skills, and empathy, among others. Generally, people already have soft skills inside of them, but they need to learn how to make the best use of them.
Anastasiia firmly believes that in some cases soft skills are those that can define how and if people can work together. The ability to learn on the job and being able to be part of a team is more valuable than rote technical skills.
Some other tips that she shared with the class were to be open to change and never define yourself. Be inspired by others, but never copy someone else, because “to be different is better than to be better.” Also, one should never undervalue “young” and, following Professor Salvatore’s advice, “rather than being a trouble-maker, be a problem-solver.”