Interviews with businesswomen. Olena Chekhovska

Social portal “Career for a New Life” as an information partner of the NGO “Modern Woman” publishes interviews with participants of the training programs of the Center for Small and Medium Business Development.

From pedagogy to travel agency management – easy! Olena Chekhovska, a graduate of the Business Development in the EU and Business in Turbulent Times business programs, which took place in 2019-2020, tells her story. Olena is the owner of the travel agency “I so want!”, Which specializes in medical tourism and offers author’s tours.

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Training programs on business development, “Business in the EU” and “Business in turbulent times” were conducted by the Center for Small and Medium Business Development of the Project “Gender Culture Center as a Platform for Empowerment of Women and Youth”, funded by the European Union. The work of the Center for Small and Medium Business Development is coordinated by HGNO “Modern Woman”.

Please tell us where you started your business (how you chose the activity, what were the first steps, with whom you built a business model and set up processes in which city)

I am a teacher by profession. After graduating from university, I was a housewife for a while, until my husband asked me to help him at work, at which time he took his first steps in the private dental business. Yes, I got into dentistry 18 years ago.

How did your business grow? (what obstacles arose in your way, how you added them, what mistakes were made, and what new experience you gained thanks to them)

The business developed quite predictably and step by step we grew from a small office on the territory of the plant to a medical center that provides all kinds of dental services. There were many obstacles, but unfortunately, only one personal misunderstanding turned out to be insurmountable.

Please name 3 (5) main rules (principles) of your business.

The main principles of work: responsibility, honesty, persistence.

In your opinion, is there pressure on self-employed women from society, acquaintances, and/or relatives? How well do you manage to combine business and personal life?

As for the pressure on women, yes, of course, it is. I encountered him inside the team when overcoming the stereotype of “boss’s wife”: the team did not perceive me as a director. I even had to say goodbye to some employees. There were also many remarks: “You are a mother and a wife, stay at home, take care of your family.” It’s harder for women to prove their importance, but they can’t beat us! I was also lucky to have women in management positions.

I have three incredible children (21, 16, and 5 years old). None of them feel deprived because they are a mother-entrepreneur.

Here is a huge “thank you” and a low bow to my very helpful parents.

How do you regain strength for new goals and achievements?

As for recuperation, everything is very simple: time spent with children and friends, travel, study.

What knowledge and skills do you think are most important for women entrepreneurs?

The most important thing for an entrepreneur, in my opinion, is self-belief.

How was it useful for you to participate in the Business Development Training Program / Business in the EU Training Program? What changes have taken place in your business and personal changes since the end of the Training Program?

Participation in the training was not only mega-useful for me, I got to the first training in one of the most difficult periods of my life, so thanks to these events (special thanks to Natalia Nagaevskaya for encouragement and support), I not only gained practical knowledge and impetus for business but also was able to overcome life crises.

Thanks to the training (whose speakers were super-professional, intelligent, and mega-useful), I was able to systematize my business, identify weaknesses and strengths, correct mistakes and start moving to exports, even in the field of services. She also found friends and collaboration partners.

I am currently actively involved in the tourism business. I still plan to bring dentistry to medical tourism. There is a project called “School of Smiles” – I really want to instill in our society a culture of “healthy smile”. After all, a person’s success, his self-confidence, begins with a beautiful and healthy smile.