Being a successful woman is a great responsibility because you are an example and a source of motivation for many people around you. And success is most pleasant when it comes as a result of hard work. “OK!” presents to your attention an interview with Tata Dgebuadze, Executive director of the Apart Development company, who spoke about her journey, achievements, and family.
Tata, you started your independent life quite early. Tell us about your first steps.
I generally believe that independent living is necessary for all young people; it is impossible to know yourself, and your capabilities without it. When I entered university, I also thought that I was already a “big” girl because my friends had already started families. But after I left my society and found myself all alone in a foreign country, I realized that I was only now studying the subtleties of life. I understood the value of money and why my father taught me to have a daily budget that I had to stick to… In addition to the very interesting theoretical knowledge and the academic degree I received in London, I think that life experience was no less important for me. And yes, I can say that it is then that my career begins, starting from the level of the cafe staff, through professional experience to the present.
When you know that you are fully responsible for yourself financially, you have a set weekly budget, and you understand that if you don’t earn the right amount, then you have to come back (I exaggerate, obviously; I was counting on the support of my parents) you also realize that there is simply no right to rest and take time off. If you have not correctly allocated the day, and the hour, then at the end of the month you will simply have no money left for food. Of course, if we summarize this daily routine, then we will see that the scheme of life is arranged like this – if you do not stop, are not lazy, are not afraid – you will be appreciated and you will never be “hungry”, and if you rely only on someone else, one day this “other” will simply stop to finance you.
Let’s put philosophy aside, but I was remembering the first steps of my career with bitterness, and now with a smile. For example, I worked in a cafe where I started mopping floors at 5 in the morning, at the same time parallel in an upscale restaurant where I personally served Jude Law, Hugh Grant (on whom I accidentally spilled coffee), and the highest paid job was managing the Zara hall, which not only I was proud of, but also my friends, because for an immigrant student, 10-15 pounds per hour was considered a great luxury.
After I returned to Georgia, my career has already developed from a professional point of view. I am proud I was an employee of the first, largest advertising industry “Mirror”, which trained top managers in this field. Since then, I have worked in several large, local, and international companies, and with this accumulated experience, I have gone from an ordinary manager to a department head. And now I am in a managerial position in the company.
How did you manage to combine adaptation in a foreign country and environment, education, and work?
As I mentioned above, if your goal is conscious, if you know where you are going, what you want to get from this period, and what you want to return to your country, then you should accurately allocate each day.
As soon as I arrived, I immediately made an action plan. As a student, I could officially work only 20 hours a week, there were additional jobs and additional income. I also had 2 parallel courses and 1 free day, which I necessarily devoted to fun and relaxation.
Accordingly, there were periods when I started the day at 5 in the morning and finished at 12 at night, with approximately the following schedule:
05:00 – 09:00 – work in a coffee shop;
10:00 – 14:00 – lecture;
15:00 – 18:00 – work at Zara;
19:30 – 22:30 – lecture.
It was this period that made me grow up and convinced me of my own abilities. Finally, with the money I earned, in addition to full financial independence, I was able to visit many cities in England and several countries. At the same time, I remember that at the end of each week, after receiving my salary, I used the so-called remaining “free money” to run to my favorite stores, where I almost always bought not casual clothes that I needed there, but jackets, high-heeled shoes and sent them home with the inscription -“I’ll need them when I get there.” That’s how I put together a beautiful “business lady” wardrobe, which I subconsciously prepared from there.
You mentioned several so-called “Celebrities”. What are some special people or situations you have encountered while living abroad?
Yes, the benefit of being in the heart of the world (I mean London) is also different in that at any moment, you can run into your idol, and even more so be surrounded by people close to the queen.
Before we move on to “celebrities”, I will recall one of the most special and important days for me, when I was lucky enough to attend the ceremony of the “consecration” of Mr. Gela Charkviani as an ambassador. Mr. Gela and Mrs. Nana were on an official visit to the Queen, observing full etiquette, and an amazing ceremony took place. The gentlemen were accompanied by several carriages and an honor guard of the queen to the event, where respected representatives of Georgia were already waiting to congratulate them on their new title. I am very grateful to fate and my friends, thanks to whom I have had to be a guest at such a high-level event more than once. At the same time, maybe the day after such a party, I would have worked as a waitress at such an event. I also remember one significant day at the Dorchester Hotel, where an international award ceremony was held, and I personally served Jude Law at a gala dinner. One day, while working in a coffee shop, I met my childhood idol Hugh Grant in the role of an “ordinary” customer.
Let’s get back to today. The source of inspiration for a successful woman is often her own family. Tell us how your family helps you achieve your goals?
I can say confidently that my family has made a great contribution to my career growth and to becoming a successful woman. If it were not for the support of my husband and our parents, it would be almost impossible to do work with maximum involvement, while raising 3 children. It takes a lot of effort from a woman to properly allocate her time so that she does not lose attention to her family and is not completely devoted to work. I often have a feeling of guilt in front of my children, whether they have enough mom, we try to make every hour spent with them high-quality and only take into account their wishes. All three of them are of different ages, with different interests, which complicates the task even more, but I think I can handle it. With Nina, we often have frank conversations on topics relevant to adolescence, Zuka is a football player and loves when I attend his training sessions or games, and Ilya asks me to roll on the floor with him and play Spider-Man. My husband is also busy, but we try not to make important decisions without each other, stay alone from time to time and stay interested in each other all the time.
How is your story related to Apart Development? How did you go from a cafe waiter to the CEO of a successful development company?
As I have already mentioned, I have been going this way for a long time and hard, and 15 years of work experience is added to 8 years of academic education, but I never stop there and constantly try to take the necessary professional courses. I believe that nothing easily accessible has such taste and value as the feeling after hard work and time when you feel deserved because you were going in the right direction. This can be seen in practice, when a manager at the trainee level knows who has what competencies, feelings, and needs, he is much more correct in his decisions. It is better to evaluate the work of each employee. Managers and directors are not born directly, it also requires appropriate competence so that employees also feel and appreciate you. My main field of activity is marketing, which is one of the driving forces in companies, but the position of director includes more functions that I learn every day and try to be the kind of manager that I would also like to have. I have worked with more than one high-ranking manager, so I have many examples, both good and bad. I feel the support and respect from the employees, and this gives me hope that everything is not so bad for me.And finally…
I want to end the interview with a motivational phrase for those who are now taking their first steps, who burn their hands on the coffee machine and suffer undeserved remarks with tears – this is all experience, and if we know exactly where we want to go, we will definitely achieve our goal. Obviously, I’m not going to stop either, I’m growing up with the company, and we have ambitious plans for the future in the field of construction and development, and I’m sure that in 10 years my children will be even more proud of my status as a successful mother.
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