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Success stories - Lesya Toryanyk

Lesya Toryanyk,manager of sales forecasting and analysis, the headquarters of Imperial Tobacco (the United Kingdom, Bristol):
"I want to return to Ukraine with new unique knowledge!" 

Lesya Toryanyk,manager of sales forecasting and analysis, the headquarters of Imperial Tobacco (Bristol, Great Britain)

Lesya, you have been working over a year at the headquarters of Imperial Tobacco, could you please, recall, how did you get a proposal to move to the city of Bristol?

In fact, it was mostly my participation in the international project, which took place two years ago in the Group, that facilitated my further move. The project was to develop recommendations on planning for key sales markets. 

Ukraine was chosen as a pilot market due to the high sales. Within the project I helped out with the development planning process of sales for such markets of Imperial Tobacco as Spain, the UK, Germany, Australia as well as Eastern Europe. This is how I got acquainted with colleagues from the headquarters, and then when the opportunity arose, they offered me to take part in a contest for the post of a Planning Manager. I won the contest and in June 2013 I moved to the city of Bristol.

I suppose, you did not have any doubts about the proposal?

In fact, I did have some, moreover, I hesitated a lot. During my first interview I asked loads of questions that it somewhile seemed it's not just me going through the interview, but also my potential supervisor. I hesitated quite for a long while and weighed up all "for" and "against", as for our colleagues from the headquarters my appointment was nothing, but merely invitation of a new person to work, while for me it was to change everything - my work, team, city, state, lifestyle, and so on. 

Tell us about the work you are now involved in?

I am responsible for accuracy of sales forecasts of the Group, doing calculations for markets, preparing reports, making management presentations. Daily I work along with the team of top managers of the Divisions, as well as with separate markets, where sales results are well below the expected figures, with the aim of improving the accuracy of their predictions, using our joint efforts. Besides, I give master classes and seminars on sales forecasting for the teams from across the globe. 

What was the most challenging thing in moving to the Great Britain?

I cannot tell you that I faced a great deal of difficulties, because the company had backed me up tremendously in all matters. There was, although, one thing that was running on very slowly. For example, in order to open a bank account I had to spend a few weeks, although back in the day it took only one day. And the reason for that was extremely unpleasant.  Last year, the British government entered Ukraine in a list of countries with a high level of twilight economy, and, therefore, all Ukrainian citizens to some extent are a subject to additional checks to prevent money laundering.  Consequently, in order to open a bank account Ukrainian citizens must undergo further approves, yet all that is just work peculiarities that can be somehow solved. 

Currently there is a whole group of the Ukrainian colleagues, working at the headquarters, do you maintain contact with them, gather, for instance, for Ukrainian borscht at someone's place?  

Unfortunately, we do not always have the time to cook Ukrainian borscht, make dumplings and invite our colleagues to dine - still, it's so delicious. We have other tradition - to gather for a cup of morning coffee. Regrettably, it is becoming increasingly  popular among us to discuss while taking cup of coffee in the morning about the political situation in Ukraine, war events in the east. That's exactly why, I think, our Russian counterparts have recently given up the habit of drinking coffee with us.   

Did you move to the Great Britain along with your family?

No, my husband stays in Ukraine, he has an interesting job in the field of sales, and we have already made a year pass without each other. I am often asked why we did not move to the UK together. As a matter of fact, neither he nor I have plans to stay here in Britain forever. For me, working in Bristol is an opportunity to obtain unique knowledge and experience, and to return to Ukraine for further career step-up. Here I clearly understood that I am interested in the scope of "Operations" (distribution and logistics).  Why not? Working in the Ukrainian Cluster is an ideal chance for self-fulfilment in this area, in Kiev there is everything for this, namely a modern factory, there is also a new computer-equipped high-rise warehouse is being built, there is logistics infrastructure and so forth. Let's see - life is full of possibilities, what you should do is only to be opened for them!

Lesya, what advices can you give to those who want to move up in their international career within our group? 

Tips are very simple, what you need to do is just to follow the upgraded internal vacancies on the global website. I am sure that working experience in any market is very important for the central office and professionals with hands-on experience in the Ukrainian Cluster are actually "worth their weight in gold" here.   

It is also highly useful to take part in international projects, even on a voluntary basis, to just get an idea of the work flow at the headquarters and other markets, and get to know your colleagues. My personal history shows that participation in this kind of a project may completely change your career.