"Opportunities are everywhere, and the moment you start seeing them, you will start taking advantage of them," says Masha Zvereva, the founder of Coding Blonde. And our Fairygodboss of the Week has certainly taken her own advice. After roles in marketing and business strategy, she founded her startup with the mission to empower women in the tech industry and becoming the Global Entrepreneur in Residence at CU Boulder. "It's been quite a journey, but I've learned so much from all of the twists and turns," Masha says.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Masha Zvereva
Founder, Coding Blonde
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
My career path has been the opposite of linear or straightforward: I studied economics as my undergraduate degree and got a masters in market research and consumer behavior.
After that, I worked at multiple startups in various marketing/customer experience roles and have even launched a media platform in a new market. That led me to my role at Google, where I was working at YouTube, helping creators with their business and content strategies.
And after two years of that, I came back to the entrepreneurship and startup world—by focusing on Coding Blonde and taking up a role of a Global Entrepreneur in Residence at CU Boulder. It's been quite a journey, but I've learned so much from all of the twists and turns. I really don't expect this road to get any less windy, and I'm excited about that!
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
I've had quite a few achievements along the way, both in the startup world and while working at Google: launching platforms, programs, having a record amount of events, prototyping and launching systems, and others.
However, I'm most proud of my baby, Coding Blonde, which I've started in August 2015 when I was in between jobs. It was difficult to maintain at times, but it has grown and evolved with me—and I'm incredibly lucky to have this platform now to help empower Women in Technology.
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
Probably the biggest challenge that I've had to this day was understanding my skill set and really appreciating it. We can get so caught up in our own heads and only thinking about the goals, that we forget how far we've come. It's very important to reflect on your achievements and learnings so that you understand your powers and can add the most value.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?
I've had the opportunity to work with so many inspiring women! I'd say that Jenny Quigley-Jones is my biggest inspiration, I'm very lucky to have met her at Google. She is an incredible woman, friend, and a boss—she founded her own company exactly a year ago, and what she has achieved already is super impressive! That girl motivates me to do more and to aim higher.
What do you do when you're not working?
Definitely cooking. I love making things from scratch (I find it meditating) and usually, I also love eating the results!
If you could have dinner with one famous person—dead or alive—who would it be?
There are so many! But Grace Hopper would be my first choice.
What is your karaoke song?
"Money Money Money" by Abba—because I can sing the lower notes pretty ok, not because of the name haha!
What is your favorite movie?
I love Love and Death by Woody Allen because it's just so bizarre.
What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
I'd probably spend it all on travelling—that's another thing I do when I'm not working.
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
Look at everything as an opportunity: Can you learn something from this? Can you use this change/challenge to grow your career? How can you use your previous experiences to add value in this scenario? Opportunities are everywhere, and the moment you start seeing them, you will start taking advantage of them.
Why do you love where you work?
I currently wear two hats: Global Entrepreneur in Residence and a one-person-orchestra at Coding Blonde—and I love both of them. The reason for it is because they both require creativity, problem solving and I get a chance to meet incredible and very inspiring people because of them. And I can really feel the impact I'm having in both of them, which for me is vital.
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