“Who runs the world?!” Beyoncé, and girls.While women entrepreneurship has increased 114% in the last 20 years, there is much room for improvement when it comes to supporting women-led initiatives and women-owned businesses across multiple sectors of the post-pandemic economy.The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey found that in emerging markets 35 percent of women aspire to become entrepreneurs.In addition, 30% of women entrepreneurs are set to expand their staff in 2022.Social media and e-commerce drive this socioeconomic and cultural shift.Diasporas play a significant role as well.
The WEKH report reveals that almost 40% of businesses in immigrant communities are founded by women.Historically, Eastern Europeans have been among the most mobile populations.
From Natalia Vodianova to Melania Trump , the social impact of these diasporic trailblazers is immense.Yet, Hollywood continues to grossly mischaracterize Eastern European women for questionable comedic effect.
Recently, Netflix’s Emily in Paris (Season 2) portrayed a young Ukrainian woman in a stereotypically unflattering light.
This year, an episode of HBO’s sequel to its Sex & the City franchise featured a young businesswoman and Carrie’s downstairs neighbor stereotyped as ‘a Russian sex worker’ due to her financial success.It prompted a swift social media backlash from many Eastern European women around the world.
To help foster a different view, here is an inspiring group of women from the Russian-speaking diaspora.These entrepreneurs are using social media not only to build their respective businesses – ranging from fashion to financial literacy to real estate – but to inspire connections to create a lasting change from St.Petersburg to Los Angeles, Dubai, Monaco, and beyond.
Mariia Grazhina Chaplin @mgchaplin
In the two decades since being crowned Miss Ukraine, Grazhina Chaplin had become a leading broadcast presenter on Russian network television, a viral digital marketing producer, and CEO of the World Influencers and Bloggers Awards ( WIBA ).Her dynamic media career even withstood the test of a pandemic.
Despite multiple logistical challenges, the WIBA 2021 ceremony took place in person in Cannes celebrating the positive impact of women on social media.The event honored legendary photographer Ellen von Unwerth and supermodel activist Coco Rocha among other international nominees .
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“Nowadays the Influencer is a new profession between journalism and showbiz.Influencers have huge audiences and tremendous impact.
Many proved themselves to be a vital source of life-saving information for their followers,” notes Grazhina Chaplin.Since the onset of the global lockdowns, content creators had to learn multiple new skills, adapt to re-inventing their respective wheels from home offices, and stay physically and mentally fit to keep their careers going.
In 2022, her company is hosting an ambitious event on Côte d’Azur.The World Influencers Forum will take place at the iconic Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on May 17th with over 800 invited participants from across the different segments of the Internet.When it comes to her personal content, she is re-introducing glamour to her audience’s timeline.“This year I decided to focus on Haute Couture gowns to brighten up the world that became a little grey and gloomy.”
Aleksandra Beliakova @aleksandra_b
Astrologers say the more you tell a Scorpio no, the harder they will work to sharpen their sting.Beliakova was one of the early adopters of professional social media in Russia as a digital content manager for Ginza Project, the prestige restauranteur group in St.
Petersburg.When she launched her own media agency, she was surprised by the naysayers.She channeled her frustration, skillset, and passion into advocating financial literacy and entrepreneurial independence for women.
Last year her book “Do You Speak Rich?” became a bestseller and her offline workshops drew 15,000 people.She is helping her followers in the Russian diaspora (and beyond) heal the generational trauma rooted in poverty and oppression.
She notes that social media now has the power to impact stock exchange and real estate market with a force unprecedented for traditional media outlets of the past.Meanwhile, she has set her personal sights on the Next Big Thing: music, fashion, and film.
“I want to express myself as an artist on the global stage.
The main goal of my creativity is to make people believe in themselves, to not be the victims of circumstances.I am here to prove by example that anything you dream of is possible!” states Beliakova.Her first single has an on-brand title Money and is already climbing to the top of TikTok charts.
She attributes 60% of success in the digital marketspace to being authentic and vulnerable in sharing one’s knowhow and creativity with 40% allotted for business and tech support.
“Before the pandemic I traveled all the time.Now I realized that, frankly, I love myself more as a homebody,” says Beliakova.(Un)fortunately, given the scale of her ambition, staying at home is not on the horizon for 2022.
Katya Kovtunovich @katyakovtunovich
From studying journalism in Russia to interning at British Vogue to launching her brand in Dubai, this is a case study in fashion diplomacy .Kovtunovich became enamored with Sadu, traditional Bedouin fabric, and perfected her own design over a decade.
Last year it was honored to retail as one of Dubai’s official heritage souvenirs at EXPO 2020 and the iconic 7-star hotel Burj Al Arab .“I was at a cafe in Monte Carlo and saw a lady wearing my dress.
It felt surreal!” exclaims the designer.Social media success moves in mysterious ways.Once, Ohood Al Roumi, the UAE Minister of Happiness and Wellness at the time, recognized Kovtunovich at an event.She subsequently wore her jacket to deliver a speech at the United Nations.The pandemic challenged the jet-setting designer to share her more introvert-friendly side.
“I used to think the wow effect of my Instagram was from all the traveling and the exciting things that happen along the way until I realized it was me who made any place happening .My biggest asset is me as I am.
That is what people appreciate the most,” reflects the designer.She also made unconventional moves that won her respect of a growing audience.She encouraged younger followers not to buy her more expensive designs, but to invest money in their education.When Emirates Airlines announced layoffs, she volunteered to coach young flight staff to pivot careers.The story went viral, and her influential friends extended mentorship offers as well.“I’m not a likes-and-clicks person.
I am a people’s hearts person.I experienced a lot of setbacks in life, but always believed in never giving up.
This is my connection and commitment to my followers”.
Roza Sinaysky @moodyroza
One of the most impactful Jewish voices in style media, “Moody Roza” had quite a fast and furious year: relocating from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles, giving birth to her child Sonny, and opening Kolbo showroom and agency which became one of “ LA’s best kept fashion secrets ”.All during the pandemic.Known for her globetrotting fashion editorials, she had to adjust her content to account for travel restrictions and changes in lifestyle.
“After moving to LA it became palm trees posts and more personal insight into my new role as a mum and wife,” she says.The year 2021 was marked by a series of high-end placements getting the brands she represents into major department stores.Meanwhile, 2022 is earmarked for sharing more great designers with her growing audience, supporting local fashion scenes around the world and bringing exciting new names to the United States.“In the digital 26K followers might not seem like a lot, but when you think about it, twenty-six thousand people is a whole city!” notes Sinaysky.As the mayor of her personal fashion town, she remains committed to listening closely to her international constituents.“It’s crucial to understand who you are talking with to make the best impact.
I don’t use TikTok, for example, but can manage five specialized Instagram accounts at once.
The most important thing is to stay true to yourself and not feel that you ‘must’ post.Rather, you want to be excited about your content.”
Olia Kedik @oliamoda
It’s always thrilling to witness someone conquering their next level .This award-winning editor and stylist successfully rebranded her personal style profile into a fashion media platform celebrating individuality and self-expression by introducing emerging designers to nearly a quarter of a million followers.Kedik has been a regular buyer at #MBFWRussia scouting creative talent on and off Moscow runways.She now manages collaborations and sales and scales her business model to embrace more responsible, sustainable consumption.
“Over the last few years, there has been a noticeable change in how people approach fashion in general.
Breaking fashion rules and recontextualizing items has become a way to signal one’s authenticity.Before, we dressed to belong; now, we dress to stand out,” notes Kedik.In 2022, she plans to focus on incorporating digital fashion into her content strategy.Virtual items and NFT assets could be a powerful tool of engagement with passionate tech and style savvy consumers.She credits social media with giving ordinary women an extraordinary opportunity to feel seen, heard, and understood while fostering an empowering sense of community.“The pandemic has created a discerning and appreciative audience, one that is eager to learn and grow.It’s a great feeling to know that my work gives people confidence to unleash their unique style and become a better version of themselves.
It’s what drives me to continue doing what I do.”
Tatiana Derovanessian @dreamlivingla
Whenever you imagine celebrities and influencers, real estate agents are unlikely to be the first on the list.Derovanessian is a powerhouse outlier changing the public perception ( and potential ) of the industry.Expert guest spots on shows such as Behind the Gates and Find Me a Luxury Home introduced her passion for mindful and beautiful lifestyle to the luxury-savvy audience.
When her YouTube channel surpassed 10 million views, a social media star was born.
“I started receiving direct messages from people all over the world telling me that my content was so inspirational.It was incredible to see my ideas resonate so widely,” recalls Derovanessian.She has struck a feel-good nerve with her mix of optimistic business insights and intelligent affirmations.Now she is preparing to launch three exclusive brand-new properties in Bel-Air and Beverly Hills.“My hands-on approach is something I take great pride in.
I play an integral role in every aspect of the property development from inception, design, creative direction, and marketing to the resale.It’s an equally challenging and rewarding process,” she says.She is also fluent in the Russian, Armenian and Farsi languages which helps build and maintain a global network of clients.In 2022, she is looking to expand her team of women associates taking the real estate game to the next level, on her terms.Her social media strategy is likely to follow its innovative trajectory as well featuring holistic lifestyle, extraordinary homes, and on-brand aspirational content.
Her secret for keeping the demanding digital audience happy and coming back for more? “I believe it’s all about creative, compelling, relatable storytelling.”