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Ekaterina Tsvetkova

Ekaterina Tsvetkova

Ekaterina is a Director Sustainability Consultancy EMEA at Schneider Electric

  • Location: Budapest, Hungary 

  • Corporate title: Director Sustainability Consultancy 

  • Company: Schneider Electric Sector: Sustainability Consulting 

  • University degree: MSc Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management, Central European University; MSc Atmospheric Pollution & Control, University of Manchester

How does your usual day look like?

I start my day at 6am. First thing I do every morning is to drag my kids out of bed and prepare them for school. I check emails for anything urgent that came up overnight as global work means somebody is always working somewhere around the globe. I am not a big-breakfast person, so I rarely eat before the school run. So my breakfast is usually my coffee. Now with the post-covid flexibility I usually decide whether I work from home or from the office depending on the intensity of the day and whether I am needed in the office. The mornings I usually spend in meetings and calls with colleagues and clients from Asia and Europe. My afternoons are packed with meetings as well but it’s Europe and the US now, and regardless of the time of day I am always on call with our sales team to support them. On a good day I leave the office at 6pm and catch up with family/friends for dinner. After dinner I check emails before I put kids to bed and allow for some quality reading time.

What are the things you like the most about your job?

My job is an intersection of many functions - there is service delivery and innovation, client and people management, and advisory but most importantly, but most importantly my job adds to the better future for our kids and our planet. I do genuinely believe that my team and I are at the forefront of change-making as we advise companies on how to transition to a more sustainable and carbon-free future.

What are some of the skills you utilise the most in your day-to-day at work?

There are certainly hard skills - as a sustainability consulting professional, there is a lot of professional knowledge that has to be acquired and utilised on a daily basis as the space evolves literally every day. For example, we recently calculated that in 2023 my team have calculated, estimated, educated, advised and modelled decarbonization trajectories and actions of our clients that by 2030 this will result in a combined impact of at least -40 million tonnes of CO2e. This is huge. And of course, there are soft skills - as a manager of a 60 people team within a services sector, it is my daily routine to be a colleague, a mentor, a manager and an advisor. My role sees me wearing loads of different hats at the same time.

What was one of your happiest days in your career and why?

The days when my clients' actions change - the days when they commit to decarbonise in line with the 1.5C trajectory. The days when my team members get promoted. The days when I see how tangible my impact is on the team that I lead and on the clients that I serve.

What was the toughest career decision you ever made?

Probably the toughest is yet to come

What is something you had to learn to become better at your work?

The most important transition for me was from an individual contributor to a leader. People are oftentimes promoted to their first leadership role because they are very good at what they do in their job. Then, they need to learn how to lead other people, how to empower, to trust, to coach and to give constructive feedback. You cannot lead people without taking this into account and working on it every day.

How did you get to become a Director in a Sustainability Consultancy?

With the growth in the sustainability area and my ambition to move from operational leadership to strategic, the opportunity came from within as the growth and expansion allowed for the promotion.

What's the career advice to your younger self?

Never assume, be bold and ask questions. Think not only about what is important now but what will become important in the long run.

Professional networking for women matters because….

This is not only the source of inspiration and collaboration, but also affiliation and camaraderie. We succeed when we bounce off each other.

What makes you gracefullyBOLD?

Understanding that I am on a journey to being gracefully bold allows me to experiment and praise myself for every achievement I have and this knowledge gives me power to be bold.

How do you spend your weekend or downtimes?

Active family time - playgrounds and parks - on one hand and a cosy armchair with a favourite book on the other.

How do you deal with stress and build resilience?

By character I am a problem solver, so resilience comes very naturally to me but on top of that, I prefer to compartmentalise stress so it can stay connected to a situation rather than a day, a week, or a person.

What would have been your alternative career path or alternative University degree?

My bachelor is from a law school, so my alternative was in the early years of my career, in fact, a corporate lawyer.

What are you currently learning or what’s one of the last things you learnt?

I am about to start reading a book called Radical Candor by Kim Scott and looking forward to learning more about challenging and caring in a professional context.

Who is a (female) professional that inspired you along your career journey?

Rachel Carson (author of the Silent Spring) had a profound impact on me in the beginning of my environmental sciences university studies. She was bold, passionate, persistent, she trusted herself but also she navigated the system gracefully that allowed for the book to be published, the laws to be changed and the generations to come to have that book. “In nature nothing exists alone” she wrote. And this is so true for all of us, our jobs, our families, our lives.

What would you do if you were not afraid?

I would start wearing high heels again 🙂

The previous interviewee left a question for you! “When did you consider yourself to be a success?”

Every time I hear other people quoting me or referencing what I said or done. For good reason, of course.

One word answers & quick fire round. Let's go!

  • Your superpower: Breaking big challenges into small tasks

  • Favourite restaurant: Ristorante da Alvise, Venice

  • Favourite beauty brand: Lipstick Dior Addict by Dior

  • Favourite work wear fashion brand: I don't have one

  • Favourite perfume: L'Imperatrice by D&G

  • Book recommendation: "How Women Rise" by Sally Helgesen, Marshall Goldsmith

  • Next holiday destination: The Netherlands

  • Your hobby: Mountain skiing & reading

  • Favourite mantra: "Do good and throw it in the sea."

  • Tea or Coffee: Coffee

  • Red wine or White wine: White

  • Morning bird or Night owl: Morning

  • Cat person or Dog person: Cat

Thank you Ekaterina for sharing your journey & wisdom with us!

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