Personal Stories of America at Work

Monthly Archives: March 2011

How One Immigrant Launched a Successful Business from Her Dorm Room

Russian émigré Aleksandra Efimova launches two ballet businesses from one humble beginning

"They believed in me, so I started showing ballet shoes and selling them to local dance schools.”

Lucky growing up with 420 square feet

I’m an accidental business owner, surprised by my career path because it’s not what I thought life had in store for me. Growing up in the Soviet Union, I lived a very average life. I was born in 1977 and at that time, the Soviet Union was promoting equality—everyone lived in very similar conditions. The leaders of the Communist Party were living a more privileged life, which the majority of people didn’t even know about. Our apartment was 420 square feet and had three rooms, including the living room—way more than most of the other neighbors. Five of us lived in our tiny apartment: my mom, dad, grandparents, and me. We felt very, very lucky.

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molly | March 22, 2011 | Entrepreneurs, Innovation, Small business, Women | 1

Leadership Guru Jim Kouzes on Soul-Draining Jobs, Leadership and the Millennial Generation

Jim Kouzes and Jamie Woolf

Jim Kouzes is coauthor of the best-selling and award-winning book, The Leadership Challenge, with over 1.8 million copies sold. The Wall Street Journal has recognized Jim as one of the twelve best executive educators in the United States. His new book The Truth About Leadership, was published in August, 2010. Jim spoke about work and leadership with Jamie Woolf of The Working Chronicles.

The Working Chronicles:  Many people today find themselves in soul-draining jobs. What advice do you have for people who are looking to make their work more fulfilling?

Jim Kouzes: In order to grow to become the best you can be, there have to be three conditions: you have to have passion for something, you have to have a purpose on which to focus that passion, and then you have to persist. This is why I don’t like the advice that says, “You are going to have five different careers in your life.” That’s BS. You’re not. You cannot become the best in five different things in your life. You can get good at five things, but you can’t become the best. It will take you five years to get good, and ten years to become world-class competitive. And then, because everything is changing–new technologies, new techniques, new methods, new challenges–you’re going to be learning all over again. So you have to look at what you have passion for, what purpose you want to serve, and how you’re going to persist.

Read the full interview >>

molly | March 08, 2011 | Education, Innovation, Leadership | 0

The Working Chronicles

  • The Working Chronicles captures an intimate look at work in 21st century America through candid interviews with people from all walks of life and all corners of the country.

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