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Nataliia Pelykh

Nataliia Pelykh

Nataliia is a Senior Value Advisor at Zscaler - a Cybersecurity company

  • Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Role: Senior Value Advisor at Zscaler

  • Sector: IT (Cybersecurity)

  • University degree: Corporate Finance, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

How does your usual day look like?

I wake up at around 7 am. My day starts with breakfast. I cannot operate without proper breakfast, and a croissant with coffee won't do the trick. On a typical Monday, I head to the office to be there by 9 am. 

The usual day will always have a few meetings, internal and/or customer ones. If there is a planned interview with the customer, I can travel to their location that day.As I am the most productive in the mornings, ideally I plan to do the hardest tasks before lunch. Should it be deck preparation, data analysis, or learning more about product capabilities, I focus on those in the first half of the day. A typical lunch in our team starts at 12:30 pm. 

In the second part of the day, I analyze the data on progressing opportunities in Salesforce and update the records (if relevant). During this part of the day I also often browse through the materials shared by my team members either as part of knowledge sharing or working on internal innovation projects. Usually, meetings end by 5 pm.

After that, I am heading home and will take a short walk if the weather is nice. After dinner, I often watch some courses or read books. I am trying to go to bed by 10.30 pm.

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

I am fascinated by how a cloud security product might drive the business toward its wider strategy and observe tangible results. And people, of course. It's invaluable to be surrounded by people, who you can learn from and get an inspirational boost.

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

Communication and strategic thinking.

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

The most joyful days were those when I got unsolicited feedback from people whose careers or perceptions about work I was able to transform. To hear that I set a new bar for them was a gem.

What was the toughest career decision you’ve ever made?

The first switch from a consultant job at EY to a software-related role in IT. That was a completely new world with vocabulary, processes, and methods that were unknown to me.

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

Listen without strong assumptions upfront. It's valuable to have hypotheses before the conversation, but I learned to uncover more by genuine listening.

How did you get to become a Senior Value Advisor?

I must say that I did not know that a job title like that existed until I got one. But in essence, it combined all the things that I did in my previous experiences - customer advisory, go-to-market strategies, IT experience, and financial analysis. All at once! So it seemed that I was building a path to this position the years before.

Professional networking for women matters, because….

It heavily helps to broaden the perception horizons and find supportive allies.

What makes you gracefullyBOLD?

From the perspective of our community, I am open to taking big initiatives without prior experience. For me, a growth mindset and accountability make a big difference in cases of absent experience.

If you could give younger women any piece of advice, on any topic. What would it be?

Look for diversity in experiences. And I am not saying to change jobs every 18 months. What I am saying is that even within one role or one company there are many initiatives that you can try along your main tasks. It will help you to learn more about your strengths or things that you don't like. How else would you know? Also it will set you up for success in further progression and possible career pivots.

How do you spend your weekends or downtimes?

I like going for a long walk or making small trips for a couple of hours to visit new places in my surroundings. During autumn-winter, I can also sit with my cross-stitching for a few hours.

How do you deal with stress and build resilience?

Being resilient has become my motto for the last 2 years since I needed to leave my home in Ukraine. During this time I lived in Poland, in the UK, and recently decided to move to the Netherlands. And I changed a job in between. 

Dealing with a series of life changes is hard.

For me, it is very important to talk through my fears and challenges with someone close. I cannot handle it inside if I am stressed. Family, friends, and like-minded people turned out to be my biggest support to go through this time. Especially, in giving the perspective on what I've already passed through. When I have this perspective reiterated by them, I have faith that this stress I can overcome too!

I also did a lot of learning to shift my focus from being stressed. It gave me a feeling of control and an easy way to see the progress.

What would have been your alternative career path?

Product management as a never-ending journey of problem-solving.

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

I'm currently taking Google Cybersecurity Certificate path, which consists of 8 courses. Also, I've recently begun my journey in learning Dutch.

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

My friend from university times.

Once we were discussing high salaries and top positions. She said, "If these positions exist and someone gets them, why I can't be that someone?".

That reframed my thinking about impossible options. Since then, I frequently remind myself of the possibility of becoming that someone.

What would you do if you were not afraid?

I would open a school on communication topics. Maybe public presentations, maybe negotiations.

The previous interviewee left a question for you: “What was a pivotal career moment for you?”

When my manager trusted me to lead a big program at high stakes. It helped me to believe in myself and understand that not only my direct peers have faith in me. After a while, I understood that I could do even more than I thought of myself.

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

  • What's your superpower: Energy

  • Favourite restaurant (state name and city): BAO, Kyiv

  • Favourite fashion brand: The one that fits me

  • Favourite beauty product: Good sleep

  • Favourite perfume: Versace

  • Book recommendation (state title and author): "Never Split the Difference" Chris Voss

  • Next holiday destination: Not defined

  • Your hobby: Cross-stitching

  • What’s your mantra? "I will learn it."

  • Who inspires you: At a given point in time, myself  3 years ago

  • Tea or Coffee:  Tea

  • Red wine or White wine: White wine

  • Morning bird or Night owl: Morning bird

  • Cat person or Dog person: Cat person (technically I don't have either, but I like both. I just like cats a bit more)

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

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