Olga Balakleets -Inspiring, Creating and Organising for Success
Inspiring, Creating and Organising for Success
By Gulia Lucci
Olga Balakleets is the CEO of an international events company called ‘Ensemble Productions’ and a Founder of several annual cultural and philanthropic initiatives worldwide. Olga also acts as an advisor to a number of governmental organisations. Throughout her many years of organising ambitious events she has been passionate about creating inspiring and meaningful experiences and promoting successful female entrepreneurs. This has led her to establishing the “Creative Women International Conference” which takes place every May in Cyprus and other international locations.
Tell us about your childhood and what has shaped you into who you are today?
I was born in the south of Russia and started piano lessons quite early which required lots of work and discipline from a very young age. I was also exposed to people’s attention from my early childhood and I started performing on stage early in my life too. That’s when my engagement with people started. Later, while I continued my studies at the ‘Conservatory’ in St Petersburg, I was asked to lead the concert student’s department, and this is when my organising skills were required. I had to find student musicians who were willing to perform in schools and universities, hospitals and factories and sometimes in places absolutely unsuited to concerts. I loved doing that job and in fact since then I have never stopped organising different kinds of events. Even back then it was challenging but I loved it and managed to succeed. Later in life, when I began producing much larger events, some of which came with dangers – financial, political and environmental, I remembered my first experiences and knew that I needed to make it happen in spite of all the difficulties and fears.
Who have been the greatest influences on your life and why?
I have been influenced by many good people starting with my mother although I rarely admit it to her, which I should. My life journey took me from Russia to Austria and Germany and then brought me to London with much travelling around the world where I met many special and talented people who motivated me in different ways. They taught me how to be strong in life and how to be good to the people around me in order to create a beautiful and peaceful environment. This is so important, even at a personal level, as it helps to keep peace in the world.
What are the most challenging and inspiring aspects of what you do?
The most challenging is dealing with lots of people with different temperaments, agendas and sometimes different perceptions of life and business. It’s inspiring to see the final result of what you have produced and to see how others appreciate it.
How can organisations recruit, retain and better develop women leaders?
It is not an easy task because what I call ‘natural leaders’ wish to be independent and lead others. You need to motivate them from the very beginning – starting with the job advertisement – and you must then keep doing it by giving them an opportunity to flourish. They need to learn to make their own decisions, to express themselves freely and constantly learn, whether it is by their own working experiences or attending seminars and conferences. They must feel appreciated, trusted and constantly encouraged to develop new skills.
How can we encourage more women to leave their comfort zone and to create their own career?
It is a very personal thing – to want to create your career – and probably it is not for every woman. Wonderful and inspiring mothers and wives are as much needed in today’s very ambitious world as successful career women. However, it is important to encourage women with great potential and aspirations to start believing in themselves and to focus on building their careers. By organising events like ‘Creative Women’ we are showing women what they are really capable of!
The world is being shaken up with some momentous changes. How do you see the future and the role of women, and is the future bright?
It is true, the world is being shaken up by many unknowns. However, we cannot afford to have doubts about our actions or our goals. Women are already making the world a better place in so many ways. We see more and more women leaders in the highest positions in politics and finance – something we have not experienced until fairly recently with just a few exceptions. There is no question about the special power of women, their wisdom and ability to balance things – and this is what is needed so much in today’s unbalanced world. Women will certainly make the future brighter.
From your own life experiences, what advice would you give to our readers?
To follow your own dreams and aspirations, believe in yourself and do not be afraid of challenges.
What more can you tell us about the ‘Creative Women International Conference’ in Paphos?
The ‘Creative Women Conference’ is a conference with a difference, where many very special ladies meet and make friendships, where they learn from each other and where they inspire each other. It is a very successful and constantly growing platform where we discover how creativity can lead to success in anything you do! It is happening in the beautiful atmosphere of the exclusive Elysium Hotel in Paphos and where, for just over two days, ladies will be energised with new ideas. The programme is full of exciting panels and presentations, workshops and even yoga and beauty sessions, not to mention networking lunches and dinners and a Grand Dinner with superb entertainment and dancing!