6 minute readUnibake News, Career
Natalia Yasneva: "Today I have the smell of bread when I go to work and it brings back my childhood memories."
5 minute read
When I was 6, I started playing handball. I grew up in a little town near the Swedish border one hour from Oslo. We were just enough players to form a team. Later, I moved to Oslo to play handball at an elite sports school. I played until I was 20. I was quite good. I played a few matches for the Norwegian women’s youth national handball team. First, I played back but later moved in as line player, wrestling with opponents and controlling the line on defense. Three knee injuries put a stop to my career. I still miss the atmosphere in the locker room. I’m definitely a team player. It’s such a good feeling when everything in a team works.
I took a Master of Science in Business and Economics from the Norwegian Business School in Oslo. The school has a famous running race – the Bergen Railway Relay – with the other big business school in Norway. The race follows the railway track from Bergen to Oslo, where legs are divided by gender and range from 1-6 km. It’s good fun, and the route is very beautiful. During my studies I was one of the organizers of the relay. That’s where I met some good people from PwC who sponsors the event. I started in PwC as a student worker, and after my studies I got my first job as a business controller there.
After a few years at PwC I quit to work for Kiwa Norway for a couple of years, before I again returned to PwC, this time as a consultant. At some point I was sent to Lantmännen Unibake Norway in their finance department in an interim position. After a while, my boss at Unibake Norway asked me if I wanted to join the company in a whole new permanent position, and I said yes.
During my first tenure at PwC I got a job offer from a startup. They wanted to build a whole new automated financial system. I can hardly remember the details because I have repressed it. The guys behind the startup were great at selling but lacked everything else … It was not a good experience. And it was a stupid decision on my behalf. If I had listened more to my gut feeling I would have picked up on it earlier. But I was enticed by the idea of starting something up. However, I ended up crawling back to PwC, and fortunately they took me in. It made me think about the importance of being in a company where people are nice and can be trusted.
One of the things I first noticed when I started working in Unibake Norway was the people. They were all very inclusive. Even when I worked here as a consultant. They invited me to all social events which they didn’t have to. I remember that it made me feel like a part of the company.
The secret to my current job as Business Development Manager is to be able to think strategic. From my many years working as a controller I have been used to having a retrospective approach, going into detail, diving deep into the numbers, balancing accounts and so on. In this job I must look more up and ahead and understand where we will be in the coming months. What’s trending, where can we optimize, what tools do we need to have and so on. I have always wanted that kind of influence but in my former jobs there was not that much time to focus on business development. Now, business development is my job. That’s fantastic.
During COVID-19 I have had a lot of time to think – like so many other people. One of the things I have been thinking about is climbing a mountain. I have walked across Norway’s highest mountain, Galdhøpiggen, which is 2.469 meters. Maybe I should do something totally crazy and climb one of the tallest in the world one day. Maybe Aconcagua in Argentina? That’s 6.961 meters. In Norway people went nuts during COVID-19. All hiking equipment were sold out at times. I don’t know what it is about Norwegian’s obsession with walking and climbing in the mountains. I guess it’s something that’s deeply rooted in our soul. To climb to the top and sit there and just enjoy the view.
I find my motivation to go to work in the team spirit. It has always been like that since I played handball. To work together and grow together as a team. It’s very important to me that we don’t spend time doing nothing. Just the thought of standing still and not moving forward. That’s not who I am. Right now, for example, I’m working together with our data analytics group. They know how to use data, and we know all the processes. It’s so cool to work with a group of people who are very good at what they do and deliver business insight together.
The best career advice I have ever received came from my first boss at PwC. She told me to remember to match people’s expectations. When you are young, and when you have just finished school and land your first job, I think it’s very common – especially for some women like myself who are very conscientious – to say yes to too many tasks. But it is so important to say no sometimes. Otherwise, you easily get flooded. It’s something I have thought about often in my career, and something I would like to pass along to others. Especially those in their first job.