Name: Galya Shishkova
Occupation: Project Leader Service Development, Ingersoll Rand
Current Location: Brussels, Belgium
Hometown: Kavarna, Bulgaria
GLOW year: 2004
Tell us about yourself – what are you doing, where are you?
I am currently residing in the “capital of Europe”- Brussels and I am working in the field of service development of emerging markets (Russia, Eastern Europe, Middle East). I work in a highly dynamic business environment where time literally costs money. Despite the fact that Brussels has been announced one of the most boring cities in the world, I truly love it since it is a colorful mixture of nations and events. There is always something happening.
What do you love about your job (studies)?
I hold a degree in international economics. What I like about my current job is the dynamic environment, the fast pace and the different people and cultures that I work with. I am a person who gets easily bored if my mind is not kept busy and if I do not learn something new every day. It is very important for a person to be given the opportunity to prove himself, either in your job or in your studies. Only in this way, you can see whether you are good at something or you have to change.
Walk us through your (work) day.
I wake up at 6.30h and I take my way to work, passing by the European Commission and the European Council (I live 10 minutes away), sometimes wondering what would it feel like to be a policy-maker or trying to figure out why is the planet round or how come my brain works at such an early hour. I start my day with a pure espresso in the office (it should be illegal to ruin coffee taste with milk or sugar) so that it boosts up my energy for the numerous meetings upcoming- discussions with our team in Moscow or Warsaw and in the later hours of the days, we start with the meetings with the US.
In the evenings, it is very often that I work for GLOW- finalizing some staff training or session. I also try to do sports on a regular basis, before my body starts hating me. Nevertheless, I am trying to do my best to distinct life and work, these are two completely different things and the moment we start mixing them up, we lose the balance and we have to start making compromises and sacrifice one. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I am good at this balance (not yet).
What “rules” do you live by?
I live by the rules of the open mind and the serenity adopted by the “the ability of acceptance”. Open mind not to judge people, to respect who they are and to understand that our definitions of what is good or bad are OURS, and we shall not expect everyone to follow them. The ability of “acceptance” goes about the fact that I cannot control everything that happens to me, but I can always control my attitude.
What is the greatest thing about education?
The main feature that differentiates us from the other living creatures in this universe is our ability to learn, to perform and to become better than we are. Education is power. What you have learned and the skills that you have adopted is the only thing that no one can take away from you. So investing time, effort and money is worth it and always pays back. Lack of knowledge also pays back.
Who has inspired you in your life and why?
GLOW and the people I have met there. It is really an amazing organization that has grown immensely for the last couple of years due to the passion and motivation of the ambitious young women of Bulgaria. GLOW has shown me that I can be anything that I want, no matter where you come from and or what your status is. If you want to learn and travel, start learning and eventually you will start travelling. If you want to be successful, study hard, work hard and eventually you will become successful. GLOW is a community where things merely happen. I love when I see things moving, I don’t like too much talking, and I prefer actions.
What are you passionate about?
I think if I say GLOW one more time, it will be the spot where people will stop reading this interview 🙂
I am passionate about project management and different lean tools on how to be more efficient (professionally and personally) (for further reference http://www.lean.org/whatslean/ )
Which experiences in life helped you become the person you are?
The fact that I lived in 5 different countries in about 2-year time. The feeling that you belong to nowhere and at the same time you belong to everywhere is an interesting one. It taught me to feel fine, no matter where I am. The most valuable lesson I learned is that we should not rely on places to make us happy; it is us and no one else that do so. As Irish people like to say “Home is where the heart is”.
When things get tough, how do you keep yourself going?
When things get tough, I am always trying to think of alternatives because they are also solutions. If things do not depend on me, I just accept it, I let it go and I move ahead.
The things for which we should always find time are…? Why are they important?
You and yourself + the mouth of all worries shut down + glass of wine, chill-out music and preferably sunset. (This does not happen in the movies only, I do it often, just without the sunset due to too the urbanization of 21st Century 🙂
What kind of books (or which) do you consider must read?
I read a lot of autobiographies recently since I know that those stories have happened, they are real. I highly recommend the one by Eleanor Roosevelt “You learn by living”
What has GLOW given you?
My experience in GLOW has made me believe in myself thanks to which I have managed to build up a good level of self-confidence. When a person is self-confident, he/ she is braver in his/ her decision. Most importantly, GLOW has surrounded me with people that are better than me and I always have something to strive for.
Tell us something interesting that very few people know about you!
In 2009, I took part in a student conference in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. There, the organizers tried to break the Guinness record for a water balloon fight. We were filling in balloons with water for a week. In the end, we had more than 500 people fighting with 30 000 balloons. It was once-in-a-lifetime experience (which hurt a lot by the way). Unfortunately, we could not break the record, but we tried, that’s the most important.
What is your advice for the young people?
“Invest in your identity capital, do not waste time, what you learn and what you work between 20 and 30 will define your life after 30.” This is to true. Let’s not wait until 30 to figure it out. (see the video below)
Stop worrying so much, life is simple, try to learn to let things and people go. Life is about the choices we make. If you are not happy with whom you are and where you are, it is definitely you fault (not your parents’ or the universe) because you have chosen it. Do not be afraid of change.
We have a choice. Always.