One Year at Seedstars: Behind the Scenes (Employee Story)

July 27, 2019

It’s easy to find a job, but it’s quite difficult to find a place where you can unleash your hidden talents, feel valued and pursue a great mission (which is aligned with your personal one).

At Seedstars, we ask our people what they like about the company and how did their lives look like before and after joining Seedstars. Meet Eugenia Shevchenko, Seedstars Summit CEE Manager who shared with us her journey at the company, key learnings, adventures, and challenges.

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Eugenia: "Last year in autumn, I jumped on a call with Seedstars for the first time, never having heard the expression “to jump on a call” before. Everything sounded super interesting and this quick start brought me all the way up from a position of Traveling Associate to the Seedstars Summit CEE Manager. Why?

Organizing events is my passion: I can wake up, go to sleep, eat, talk to my parents but I will always keep in mind THE event. It may sound unhealthy but I think this is what passion means.

My parents, my friends, and acquaintances still don’t really understand where I work and what I actually do. It makes me smile all the time while trying to explain how we organize events remotely or describing to my 8-year-old brother why investors invest in startups, whilst his next question is: “Why someone would simply give their money, do they have so much money? Can I get some as well?”. I can talk about the company and explain my responsibilities for hours. It gives me so much pleasure and a feeling of being really proud of what we do.

At my previous job, I was searching for personal growth and was about to take a bunch of courses: Excel, Illustrator, etc. It comes as no surprise that these plans were always postponed simply due to a lack of time. In my first week with Seedstars, I had to use all of the above. Learning how to develop a strategy while rushing into new unknown tasks became my hobby. Apart from that, I realized that I had never brainstormed, given feedback, evaluated myself and reflected on what I really do as much as at Seedstars. By the way, I had never thought that I could be that creative because I am a 100% ESTJ, pure executive. Nevertheless, my team showed me how to! It means that basically, people can learn how to be creative, although it goes step-by-step, by opening your horizons.

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I won’t hide that there were some low points, especially when I realized that I needed to work remotely, which meant staying at home in Kyiv 24/7. It really shut me down. Before that, I was a super sociable person. I did dozens of extracurricular activities at the university, and being excluded from the society put me in a certain state of depression. The Seedstars Summit 2019 in Lausanne helped a lot. While I was in charge of coordinating 170 people — startups, delegates, ambassadors — I’ve never felt alone. Some startups even thought that Eugenia was a chatbot that answered quickly, straight to the point and with a personal approach to everyone.

Also, it would be silly not to mention my team who were always there by my side. Having a 30-minute 1:1 call scheduled for each week with your colleague/friend where you can talk about anything but work, helped as it was a breath of fresh air. A wisely formed team is more than 70% of success and this is basically what we have. Currently, what I am doing is traveling a lot as it helps me to focus better and get some inspiration from people.

People are curious about my travels, and indeed I do travel quite a lot. However, not many of them know and even would ever think that while doing this I am constantly “out of comfort zone”. My biggest phobia in life is flying. But I have flights twice a month or even each week. I simply think about this flying procedure as a dentist appointment that I have to go through. Fear is basic, but the desire is stronger.

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Eugenia and her father who is a big fan of Seedstars

I was about to continue with five or seven tips on how to stay strong while organizing events, but in the end, I decided to give only one piece of advice. If there is stress, there should be no stress. The main idea is that everyone around you should always have the impression that you are super calm, and everything is under control even if you don’t feel like that. You could say “Yeah, it is easy to say”, but everyone can own their feelings and emotions, so please, do so.

My first priority at work is taking care of people. Team, partners, startups, mentors, investors, and any other stakeholders - it is all about people. I realized that at the Regional Summit in Kyiv and made it clear that for me there are two main internal milestones of a truly great event: get shit done and a personal approach to each participant. In those two I got 3 out of 3 points at performance evaluation from my peers and leaders, and it feels super cool when your own values are overlapping with the company ones.

For me Seedstars is about people, growth, enormous amount of knowledge, sleepless nights before events, support from my dear team, learning by doing, international lifestyle, traveling, and full empowerment. I could go on and on, but one of my favorite expressions is ‘less is more’.

To sum it up, I want to highlight the following statements that lie in the foundation of my work&life principles:

  1. Learning by doing.
  2. Fear is basic, whereas desire is way stronger.
  3. If there is stress, please, do not stress.
  4. A wisely formed team is more than 70% of success.
  5. Get shit done and personal approach to everyone.
  6. Less is more.

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Also, it wouldn’t be me if I did not invite you to the Seedstars Summit CEE – beyond your limits: innovate, invest, inspire, in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on the 22 of November. This event is the first one that I’m organizing in the country I have never been to. It sounds challenging but very much alluring and thrilling, especially if it comes to learning about the Kazakhstan ecosystem, the world’s largest landlocked country and the ninth-largest in the world.

If you are reading this article, you are invited by default to the Seedstars Summit CEE 2019. My team and I are waiting for you in Kazakhstan this year and remember: innovate, invest, inspire.


Are you willing to enrich your network with valuable connections, learn, and meet change-makers from all over the region? Then don't miss your chance and grab your ticket to the Seedstars Summit CEE 2019 taking place on the 22 of November in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan!