Ekaterina Solomeina is the co-founder of Future London Academy, a fantastic learning organisation that creates innovative design events and short courses. Ekaterina is from Russia and began her journey in design and programming. After moving to London and achieving great things in her career, she started speaking at universities and conferences to share what she had with others. Between going back and forth to Russia to share her experiences there too, she was in high demand for advising others despite having a full time job as a creative director. With the help of her co-founder, she grew her expertise into a full time job and highly successful business. It stemmed from her passion for connecting people in the design industry.
We chatted to Ekaterina about her journey to becoming co-founder of Future London Academy, and about how she mastered her skills to become successful enough to share them with others.
“I will never stop learning. I’m definitely still learning and I will keep learning. Lots of skills are never taught to us, especially being from a creative background. It’s not something you learn at university. There is no finance class at university. I can’t believe that universities don’t teach finance. It’s just so silly. And all the other things that you actually will have to experience – most of us will have to experience no matter if we will run a company or not. We do need to understand how to manage people, how to lead people and all the other aspects of running successful teams.
I read lots of books and I am obsessed with learning. I don’t know how many courses I attend myself. And I suppose that’s why I run a learning company because I believe that our programmes improve lives.”
“Something that was crucial for me on this journey was one misconception that I had, that if you’re creative, you can’t be business minded. I keep mentioning Carol Dweck who is my favourite psychologist. I know she is probably over quoted a little bit, but I urge you to read Carol Dweck’s book ‘mindset’. A growth mindset can actually improve the way we live our lives. The book essentially proves through research that people who have growth mindset achieve much more in their life.
Try harder and practice more.The more you do it, the better you get at it. it’s all about learning and just finding information where you can, but also just trying and failing and learning from that.”
“I’m on the planning side, I am definitely slightly over obsessed with operations, which is, I suppose, quite unusual for a creative person. It comes from my engineering background that I like things to be in the right places. We do a yearly plan with the team, we see where we want to be and what’s important for us. Both financial, team and personal goals. It’s important to run the business that you want it to be part of. It’s good to have a plan and then adjust as you go.”
“The magic and the success of the business actually doesn’t depend as much on the product and your knowledge, but as the emotional strength to stomach it all. All of us have had days where it wasn’t easy. Psychologically, all of us have days where you have to get yourself out of bed, and having someone else who understands you, who can go through these things with you, is really great. I’m very glad that my co-founder is an incredible human being and I can be there for him and he can be there for me.”
“I’m obsessed with podcasts. Listening to things is such a brilliant life hub for me because I sit all day, so If I have an opportunity to stand up and go for a half an hour walk, I would always do that. I recommend ‘Happiness Lab’, it’s from a Yale University professor, and essentially all about the job of happiness.”
What about you?
Ekaterina is someone who is always hungry to learn and experience more. Her growth mindset has allowed her to achieve brilliant things in her career. Are you aware of your full potential? Get in touch with Self Makers today and see where it could take you.
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