#80 | Ukrainian Employees and People

Vladimir Gendelman, Founder and CEO of Company Folders, Inc. hired employees in Ukraine to access highly talented tech skills to program and design his custom print and promotional products company.

Back in 2014, he helped his Ukrainian employees move to avoid a Russian invasion and now again, he’s doing the same. Luckily, as of this recording, all are safe and back to work, some in Ukraine and some in other countries.

As a side job, he and a partner founded a non-profit organization, https://www.realhelpforukraine.org/ to directly support Ukrainian needs for food, medical supplies, orphanages, refugee relocation, protective gear and more. 100% of all donations go directly to the people in need.

Listen to this episode to hear directly how people are affected and helping in Ukraine.










Connect with Wendy - https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendypease/

Connect with Vladimir –



Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers - https://www.silvermansound.com


Apply to be a Guest on the Podcast

ATTENTION: Below is a machine generated transcription of the podcast. Yes, at Rapport International, we talk a lot about how machine translation is not good quality. Here you see an example of what a machine can do in your own your language. This transcription is provided as a gist and to give time indicators to find a topic of interest.


[00:00:34] Wendy: Hello everybody. And welcome back to another episode of The Global Marketing Show. And as you may or may not know, the show is brought to you by Rapport International high quality provider of foreign language translation, interpretation services, and they frequently launch tidbits which is interesting information.

[00:00:58] And so we brought you one here today. So everybody tap your nose. It's a gesture that's found in many cultures in the U S it typically means like on the nose or you're right, but in Italy it can mean watch out. Well in the UK, it means you're being nosy. So, you know, do you know another meeting for tapping your nose and what is it?

[00:01:20] Go ahead and share it with us. If you want to join the Facebook group, that's a good place to put it. You just look for Global Marketing and Growth tap in and get the conversation going. So today I'm, I'm very interested in this conversation. Our guest today is Vladimir Gendelman and he's the founder and CEO of a US-based company called Company Folders, Inc.

[00:01:47] It's an award-winning presentation folder, printing business. He is a thought leader on entrepreneurship, small business and business marketing. And he's a regular contributor to publications such as Forbes, Inc. and Fortune. He also has employees in the Ukraine. So we're going to talk about that and what's going on with his businesses and his employees.

[00:02:12] So welcome Vladimir.

[00:02:14] Vladimir: Thank you. And thank you for having me on. I'm excited to be here.

[00:02:19] Wendy: Oh, it's great to have you I'm. So looking forward to this conversation, so want to start out with right now, you have employees. In Ukraine, that's been invaded by Russia as, as we're talking about this, but this isn't the first time back in 2014.

[00:02:37] You had employees in the Danette screech and when Russia invaded, can you tell us about that and what, what happened then? And then we'll get into today?

[00:02:46] Vladimir: Yeah, back then in 2014, it was very tragic and scary and dangerous. But now thinking back compared to what's going on right now, it was a walk in the park.

[00:02:58] Because when Russia invaded in 2014 and they started shooting and everything, it was it was kind of isolated to that area. And I was able to help my, uh, employees to move to hurricane. Quickly. So they moved to heart, give the started new lives. They found places to leave. Some of them have kids in hurricane like really, really put roots in.

[00:03:25] And, uh, of course, eight years later now they've been seven and a half. They are leaving through another innovation and now that affects the whole Ukraine. There is no safe place in Ukraine anymore because anywhere you go, it's, it's, it's, there are shootings some places more than others, of course, but shootings are experienced everywhere.

[00:03:51] Wendy: So, so back in 2014, you moved your employees quickly to har cave and they set up new homes and new offices. And then Was the place they were living in Donetsk was that taking over by the Russians and D did Ukrainian stay there? So what happened to that area that was invaded?

[00:04:11] Vladimir: There are Ukrainians still there.

[00:04:13] So some of my employees still have parents who live there, but it's destroyed. There are Russians there, but once again, once they take over, right, they have no reason to fight anymore. Even though shootings, you know, periodically we're helping in many ways. And yes, they left everything behind. Some of them owned their apartments.

[00:04:36] You know, in, in, in cities, usually people live in the big. With apartments. And a lot of times you can actually own their apartments, which would be our equivalent of a condominium, I would say. Um, so, so two of them owned their own apartments and you know, they may pay money for, and, uh, which is majority of their net worth.

[00:04:57] And of course, after invasion of that went down to nothing. And, and to this day, some of those buildings are been shot at, and, you know, the value of those apartments has pretty much went down the drain. So now they move to heart gift and, uh, they started new life. They started assimilating inherit, give granted it's the same country.

[00:05:20] It's the same everything. Right. But it's a different city, different friends, different atmosphere, different everything. Um, so they're doing that. And one of them bought a, their own apartment finally at the end of 2021. So, you know, let's just say six months ago

[00:05:46] and they did not even finish remodeling the police as the worst stereotype. And now all this money that they put in and keep in mind in Ukraine, you don't necessarily have the system of mortgages, like we're doing everything else. Right? So all the money they put in is now gone. The value of the apartment is gone.

[00:06:06] So that's one of them, another one put down the deposit and the place, which was majority of their money did not even take possession. And Russians invaded. So now that's another horrible situation. Granted, this is just money, right? So they they're alive. So at least that's all good. But yeah, there are a lot of devastation there.

[00:06:28] I see that with everything that's going

[00:06:31] Wendy: on. So where's her cave in the country. Has that been one of the areas that's been really

[00:06:40] Vladimir: practical level to the ground right now, it is very, very close to the Russian border there. And it's definitely like, I look at the photographs and can't recognize it.

[00:06:52] Wendy: So tell me, where are your employees on?

[00:06:56] Vladimir: So here's what happened. I have seven employees in the Ukraine. Four of them were in hierarchy, one in the pro one in, nikolayev and one in, oh, leave. So w when the war started, the one that wasn't, we've crossed the border into Poland right away, like we're talking about within hours before they issued the law, that man between 18 and 60 cannot leave the country.

[00:07:31] So he got pretty lucky with that. And the reason he did that is because his sister lives in Poland. So he just went over to her.

[00:07:37] Then the four guys in heart, give Warren heart gift under all the Shalon. And they're all the shootings. As I was talking to them on the phone, I heard rackets fallen down and I heard the sounds of destruction and devastation, which was horrible. So they weren't in those conditions until there was a little open between the chaplains and at different times they left the city and they went to the, uh, what is it to the west?

[00:08:12] Uh, Tober, it's still beef. And as the results are kind of settled in Vinita salmon, Ivana free gifts, some temporarily stayed in Poltava and then went further to region.

[00:08:29] Wendy: So they went further away from the Russian border, but they're still in Ukraine.

[00:08:35] Vladimir: Correct. Also when this whole thing started, the worst started here we consulted with an ex army Colonel who told us just general strategists or during the war, like the kind of areas that would be important for Russians to take over.

[00:08:55] And obviously the same areas would be important for Ukrainians to, um, protect and we'll leave there really looked on Google. With their addresses to see who's located where, and we were able to instruct some of the people to move to different areas, just to be safer. So that worked well. So now, you know, they moved and they obviously wanted to get out of the country.

[00:09:20] So one guy, so one guy left right away. As we mentioned, the second guy then is he has three kids and when you have three kids, they left you leave because that's a lot, it keeps the handle. So he's, he left with his family and he is now in Germany. So then second guy, third guy Sergei. He due to the health condition, he received the paper saying that he had.

[00:09:52] Not good enough to basically serve in the army. And with that paper, he was able to be country where he is in Poland. And then fourth guy and a totally was able to leave literally by running across the border through fields, not the official part of the board of the right, but through the fields did the mean Ukraine and Moldova, and then he ended up in Bulgaria.

[00:10:21] So from that perspective, four of them are safe. They remain in three. Uh, the one who wasn't nikolayev is still there at home because he has elderly parents who who couldn't. So you stay to look after them. The one in new pro is also at home. He kind of doesn't see anywhere to go. We're talking about over 6 million displaced people in in Ukraine, within Ukraine, what's called internal refugees plus another, uh, what is it like over 4 million by now?

[00:10:57] I think of external refugees that are in other countries. So because of that, it's really hard to find places to stay, you know, supplies, food and everything else in populated areas. So he's at home in the pro and the another guy Yoojin is with his family in a region of.

[00:11:22] That is relatively safe right now. They, they do hear bombing months in awhile in all these areas, but not like constant showing or anything.

[00:11:32] Wendy: Oh, that's a different perspective. When you say that they're safe still, they only hear Wyoming. I mean, that's just so far out of my realm of experience to, yeah.

[00:11:43] So talk to me about. I mean the emotions. You've got to be terrified, trying to protect your family, not knowing where you're going to live, having lost everything. And then every male between 18 and 60 is supposed to serve in the military. So they also have a commitment to you to do the work and they want to make a livelihood.

[00:12:03] Like what are the emotions when they're deciding whether to leave, stay, fight, and are the fifth, sixth, and seventh guys that you were talking about? I caught Eugene's name, but I don't know the other two. Are they staying in there fighting them? Or how, how do they, where are their emotions and how are they handling this?

[00:12:25] Vladimir: So the men between 18 and 68, they're not supposed to fight. They cannot leave the country in case they have to pay. Because right now they have enough, I guess, army or. Uh, volunteers, civilians who are also fighting, so they don't have to go fight, but they still can not leave the country. There right now, finally, back to work and I think have helps them, you know, give their mind occupied with something else.

[00:12:55] As far as the emotions scared tired at the same time. The ones who are, you know, the guy who's in Vince, a Eugene, um, he has a family, he has little kids, he has a wife, right? So now the concern is for the family. The fact that, you know, he's not in a position to really do anything about what's going on and so on and so forth.

[00:13:20] But from what I understand, the majority of emotions are fear and just started this, so everything that's going on, what

[00:13:27] Wendy: are they sinking? That's going to happen? Are they really living day to day?

[00:13:33] Vladimir: Uh, it's not even, day-to-day, it's more like an hour by hour.

[00:13:36] Wendy: Tell me more about that.

[00:13:37] Vladimir: They, they have no idea what's going to happen. They don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. They don't know what's going to happen, you know, leave that on today because everything changes and could change very, very quickly. They are obviously hoping that the areas they're in right now or will remain safe at least for awhile with hopes that if they will have some kind of heads up, if they have to leave yeah.

[00:14:00] Wendy: Okay, so let's switch back to you. Why don't you tell me a little bit about your company and then we'll get into why you have employees in Ukraine and how it is for you. So tell me about your business. Sure.

[00:14:14] Vladimir: So the company is, you mentioned earlier, it's called company folders, Inc. And we are a printing company.

[00:14:21] When, when I started out, It started out as a boutique or of presentation, folders, binders, and envelopes. Um, it was folders regionally, and then we introduced binders and envelopes with the idea that we're specializing in presentation covers, right? So we are not, we're not necessarily experts in the actual presentations of go and say the folders or actual content that goes and say the binders or actual content that goes inside the envelopes.

[00:14:51] Right. Your business, you know, what needs to go there. Um, but what, what we're really experts at is the covers for it, which is where folders, binders, and envelopes come in. And we offer the largest selection of Descartes' print methods, uh, finishes paper choices than anybody else out there. And then we have another side of the company where we do all the promotional products as well.

[00:15:21] Wendy: Okay. And so all the presentation folders that you do, I'm on your website now, which is company folders.com. You can, you custom and print those logo on

[00:15:32] Vladimir: there. Logo images No with foil stamp, we emboss, we, we can do four color printing. We can do a spot color matches. We can do a, now that we can do, we do do all sorts of lamination gloss, matte, soft that a combination of print matters come up with some amazing, amazing.

[00:15:54] Um,

[00:15:54] Wendy: yeah, and you've got some pretty impressive clients share who some of them are.

[00:16:00] Vladimir: Well, some of our clients are in the fel, Google. We did work for Walmart for their subsidiary jets that come. Uh, we work with a lot of big colleges, universities, uh, including duke where Yola. We do a Chick-fil-A army Navy and a non Ford.

[00:16:21] Wow. BGA. I dunno if I can.

[00:16:30] Nestle chocolates, gearshift chocolates.

[00:16:33] Wendy: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I also see Sotheby's Siemens hallmark. Yeah. You've got some fantastic names. Okay. And why do you have employees in the Ukraine? What are they doing for you?

[00:16:48] Vladimir: So employees in Ukraine are programmers designers and testers quality assurance. And they are the people who work on that website.

[00:17:00] Wendy: Okay. And why did you hire there? Cause you're based in Detroit, right? Correct. So why did you end up hiring a Ukraine?

[00:17:08] Vladimir: So I was born in the heart of Ukraine, myself and. When they started the company, I don't remember exactly how, but that was participating in some kinds of online forums discussions. There was no social media back then.

[00:17:24] So the closest thing you had were either a forum or a discussion board, and through those sources, they actually met this guy who helped me make a first website. And of course back then the standard of living between us and Ukraine was way bigger. The difference was way bigger than it is right now.

[00:17:44] And the rates were way lower in Ukraine. So it actually make economical sense. And on top of it, the way I saw it was I can help somebody from my hometown, which was great. And when it came time to do another round of a website, I natured. We found another guy there. And after that, they realized that they probably need somebody full-time to constantly work on the website.

[00:18:08] So I hired one guy, then another guy, then another guy, you know, that's how we have seven or eight. Now,

[00:18:14] Wendy: how many employees total do you have?

[00:18:16] Vladimir: We're in about 20 people.

[00:18:17] Wendy: Okay. And the rest of them are in Detroit or where else do you have people. Okay. And so anything that can be done from a distance, you ha how did you decide what positions to hire in Ukraine and what ones to keep in Detroit?

[00:18:35] Vladimir: Well, so Ukraine in general, the technology is pretty, is it a pretty high level? So when it comes to program is designed. That's that's what they're good with. Outside of that call center would be a good thing to outsource to Ukraine, but we don't have a call center here because we get all of our customers through the website and we do have people who answer the phones, but they're here local into truth, because I think it's important to have people locally here who constantly experience the product who see how it's all made.

[00:19:12] And, um,

[00:19:14] Wendy: yeah. Okay. So you have your website people and then whose, so people who answer the phone are in D R in Detroit. Do you have an office there? Oh yeah, of course, yes. Okay. So you have about 10 to 15 people in the office and then 70. And what other positions are in the office?

[00:19:34] Vladimir: You know, whatever your usual office staff is, phones, riders, production.

[00:19:45] Wendy: That's just really interesting to see that because a lot of people in the United States are still hesitant about hiring people internationally. So it's interesting to see which ones you, you know, have found that are an advantage to hiring in the Ukraine, in which ones you'd still keep local in the office.

[00:20:05] So that's very, very helpful information. When you were first starting the company and managing it, what were some of your biggest struggles about managing a virtual workforce?

[00:20:21] Vladimir: That's a really interesting question. My biggest struggle with managing workforce period was

[00:20:29] making sure that they are working for whatever reason. I had this notion that people are not going to work and they just going to waste my time. So I would like walk around and like, you know, look, just look at things and, and, and constantly ask questions. And I mean, that was micromanaging, right?

[00:20:52] That's really what it was. And, and micromanaging. People in remote locations is way harder there. So obviously that posted a different challenge, but luckily over a few years I learned that micromanaging is not a good thing, not a healthy thing. Right. And that you don't evaluate your employees based on whether the work or that you really evaluate them based on the results they produce.

[00:21:21] Right. Because at the end of the day, if they work 24 7 and produce nothing, nobody needs that. And if they never work, but produce amazing results. That's excellent.

[00:21:34] Wendy: So how do you measure results?

[00:21:37] Vladimir: It's different for everybody, for, you know, for developers. So tasks that need to be done. And you know, it's, it's, we, we know roughly how long it takes to do things and, you know, we have deadlines and as long as things are done by deadlines and everything is good.

[00:21:55] Wendy: Okay. So that's a, that's a huge learning curve that a lot of business owners have to go up is how do you manage that? Because I see the ongoing discussion with other business owners is whether you do time tracking or do you manage to okay. Ours or do you do that? So it's a, it's an interesting curve to get up and over quite when somebody is producing, you can really feel it.

[00:22:19] Vladimir: Yeah. Very, very big mental change.

[00:22:22] Wendy: Yes. Yes. So how about, what other challenges did you have or biggest struggles with managing.

[00:22:30] Vladimir: Well, that was the, well, there are constant challenges with managing cultural things come into play. So, you know, in the beginning we had a culture by default, so to speak, which is never usually that good of a culture full of toxicity and everything else.

[00:22:51] And over time we started building that out, uh, that eventually came down to identifying your, you know, mission and the core values. And then you implement those values. You live by those values and that improves the culture and makes the workplace much more pleasant to be it. And somehow I think I got like, yah, I have amazing.

[00:23:16] Everybody's a real expert at what they do. They work hard, they produce phenomenal results in their areas. So yeah, that's, that's where I am.

[00:23:27] Wendy: So at the start, you said there were cultural things that could really affect the, how you manage when you said cultural. Did you mean like your company culture or did you mean, okay.

[00:23:41] Okay. Cause I thought you were going down the cultural issue of you know, managing people who live in different countries.

[00:23:49] Vladimir: I'm from that country. My culture.

[00:23:53] Wendy: So that's your culture, but you hire a bunch of Americans,

[00:23:57] Vladimir: correct? Well, so I'd been in the us for what, 32 years now. So I am Americanized, but I still get that culture as well.

[00:24:08] Right? So at the end of the day, I don't think I'm Ukrainian anymore. I am fully American, but because it's still get the other thing. Right. And I would say I'm somewhat in the middle

[00:24:23] Wendy: because they get both because you're bicultural, you understand the two sides. So what are some of the differences? You sit in a unique position to say, oh, Americans think this is funny or different about Ukrainians and Ukrainians.

[00:24:39] Think this is funny and different about Americans. What are some of those examples? You've come across.

[00:24:45] Vladimir: I honestly don't know if the only funny moments we had done, unfortunately, I can't really remember what they were. It just some use of language when you translate, you run into snags. But outside of that, the culture, like nothing funny or not funny, it just, that people think differently where you, you crane, they will work hard

[00:25:11] for the most part. People there will execute very well tasks. You give them, but they find that actual task creation is better than you.

[00:25:22] Wendy: Explain that to me,

[00:25:25] Vladimir: uh, like identifying things that need to be done and how to solve the problems that need to be solved and how to solve them. And it might actually be either cultural or might have to do with the fact that they are not here. Right. So they're not as exposed to everything that's going on in the company as we do in the us and Michigan.

[00:25:45] Wendy: Oh, interesting. Okay. And you haven't been able to figure that out?

[00:25:50] Vladimir: I don't know if I really hear which part of the weather it is because it just identified it. It's better to do problem solving, test creation, project management here, and you know, the actual work over there

[00:26:05] Wendy: and then give the tasks. So have you, have you worked. Been here then through your whole professional career.

[00:26:14] So you really operated as an American business person, whereas in, so you didn't, you haven't worked up the hierarchy and Ukraine to understand, like who's creating the tasks there because somebody has to be doing it.

[00:26:26] Vladimir: Correct? Correct. So very possible. There are people there who can do that.

[00:26:32] Wendy: Right. And so is, would you say Ukrainian is more hierarchical or more flat organization or does it it's much more hierarchical, so you would expect to get a list of task from your boss?

[00:26:47] Vladimir: I that's my understanding. Yeah.

[00:26:50] Wendy: Yeah. Okay. Now have you hired anybody in other countries?

[00:26:55] Vladimir: We have had employee in I want to say, maybe we trade some people in India. We had somebody in Pakistan. Uh, we have worked with people in the Philippians, but those were more project-based as opposed to full-time employment.

[00:27:11] Yeah, I think that is probably, probably it.

[00:27:15] Wendy: Okay. And so working with Ukrainians, of course, it's very easy for you because you speak Ukrainian. You understand the culture you're from there, you're helping other people when you've gone off to hire people in other countries, has that been more challenging?

[00:27:34] Vladimir: Yeah. Good question. Probably yes,

[00:27:36] with Ukraine. I can at least visualize things with other countries. I can't, because they haven't been to India, Philippines or Pakistan, but at the same time, the conversation is, Hey, this is the project we have, right. This is the documentation. These are the requirements, you know, show me something that, that says that you've done this kind of work before, and you can do it for me and, you know, once they do great, go do it, then.

[00:28:05] Where my results. We had bad experiences with that. We also have good experiences. The guy we worked with in Pakistan, uh, he was doing our marketing. We worked with him numerous times, and then he eventually now lives in Switzerland and he works for Ikea and he has a pretty big job there,

[00:28:23] Wendy: so. Okay. So he worked out great for you.

[00:28:27] You just happened to lose him because he went onto someplace else.

[00:28:31] Vladimir: Well, yeah, and the project that he was working on ended, and we didn't really have other work for him

[00:28:37] Wendy: and what didn't go well

[00:28:39] Vladimir: it's not that it was anything in particular, just the people wouldn't deliver what they were supposed to deliver. Um, you know, sometimes people over estimate their capabilities and maybe present themselves. Don't tell you everything. So you have this impression, they can do it. And of course you end up wasting a lot of time that way.

[00:29:01] It's all, you know, you have to expect that the new ways.

[00:29:04] Wendy: So it wasn't cultural, it wasn't country. It was just wrong hires for the project, which happens all the time. Happens all the time. Yes. If you've ever done hiring you do. Okay. So a lot of people in the U S are afraid of hiring international employees, you know, with agreements and contracts and no idea who they are and the distance away and the time zone.

[00:29:29] And, um, you know, not knowing who you're going to hire, you know, the feeling of unfamiliarity, what experiences can you share advice? Can you share for people as to why they would do it and how to minimize the risks to be successful at it?

[00:29:46] Vladimir: Well,

[00:29:47] few things, first of all,

[00:29:48] The talent when you're just limited to your locality, right? For certain positions, there might not even be a candidate. That's good for you. Uh, so the more you can broaden your Logility, the more you increase the potential of hiring the better people. And of course, if you go internationally where you are open to hire people in any country, right, that increases your pool of candidates tremendously.

[00:30:17] In some cases you end up saving money because the standard living in those countries is lower. Therefore the salaries are lower. In some cases you can actually benefit from the time to. Because, for example, if you are doing a call center kind of a thing, and you hire people in different time zone, that means that they can work when you're sleeping.

[00:30:44] Right. Which means that you can answer phone calls twenty four seven between, you know, by having people in different time zones. Those are probably the biggest,

[00:30:54] Wendy: biggest benefits. Yeah.

[00:30:56] Vladimir: Yeah. And the spires trusting and everything, you know, you just have to. Take a leap of faith document, your, uh, job description, like really understand what you're hiring for and what your expectations are. You know, put yourself in a situation where you do the job and you do it remotely.

[00:31:17] You know what it's like when you don't, I've never been to the company. You've never seen the people you work with in real life. Right. And you will not see them in real life. And yet you still have to do the job. Like what kind of resources you would need from those people. What kind of understanding you need from those people?

[00:31:34] What would help you if they gave you right. To do the job better and then just try and do it and give it all for the people you hire remotely and trust them by default. And hopefully it stays that way. It doesn't you'll have the reasons not to trust them. Right. But that goes with everybody else in.

[00:31:55] In general, people are good everywhere in general. People want to do good job. They want to learn. They want to grow. They, they, they, they want to Excel.

[00:32:06] Wendy: So it's finding that right. One. Now you had talked about the culture by default when you're pulling in those people, you said one of the things that was hard was building a culture with mission and values. What have you experienced with working with people from different cultures and how you bring together a company culture that works

[00:32:35] Vladimir: well?

[00:32:36] The company culture it's different than every company, right? Then our it company folders. Our culture is all about being really good at what you do. Grow and daily basis by learning constantly something new. It's about, uh, delivering excellence agent value to anything you work on and elevating others in the sense that, you know, we help each other.

[00:33:03] And that kind of that kind of a culture is not country-specific right. That is the place that everybody,

[00:33:13] Wendy: yes, that's very good. Cause I give examples of a manufacturing company that focuses on zero defects. There's another company that's Boston center list, and then you have Uh, 3m that focuses on innovation. And so yours really seems to be, you know, like that add value, it's learning, delivering elevating others.

[00:33:38] So, uh, so that's a nice way to capture what does go across culture. You also mentioned that some of the funniest moments are the use of language. When translation, how do you communicate in your, your company?

[00:33:54] Vladimir: They all speak English.

[00:33:55] Wendy: Okay. And

[00:33:56] Vladimir: so you don't, when I talk to them, I speak Russian, but uh, but outside of that, they will speak English there.

[00:34:02] Wendy: So you speak Russian to them, your, all your cranium, but you default to speaking Russian.

[00:34:09] Vladimir: So

[00:34:10] we never spoke Ukrainian. So I never technically left Ukraine. I left Soviet union '

[00:34:18] Wendy: cause you left long ago where it was still the Soviet union, where Russian was the language and the

[00:34:24] Vladimir: ration was the national language. And majority of Ukraine spoke Russian. When you go outside of cities, you know, villages to know people spoke Ukrainian, but in series, they didn't, I never learned, I didn't do a no Ukraine.

[00:34:38] Wendy: Oh, how fascinating. Yeah. I studied foreign service and international politics at Penn state at college. And when I was studying was probably about the time you were coming over and it was all about the cold war in the Soviet union. And so I'm just, you know, I'm having a lot of flashbacks now about.

[00:34:58] You know what the world looked like them. So, uh, yeah, I hadn't put the timing together. When you were speaking, when you said you spoke Russian and then so after you left, did more people start speaking Ukrainian in the cities or has that stayed consistent?

[00:35:16] Vladimir: So my understanding is that when Soviet union fell apart,

[00:35:21] they started to have more of a nationalism and Ukraine, right. To kind of build the Ukraine up. And with that, they started implementing more of making Ukrainian land bitches, uh, official language of the country, which totally makes sense. Right. Yeah. Um, And that's so because of that, more people speak Ukrainian.

[00:35:47] I don't know if everybody there speaks Ukrainian, but definitely more people. I would imagine that pretty much everybody could, but at the same time, I talked to my friends from before. Like they will speak Russian and they speak Russian to each other to

[00:36:01] now there is a very good chance that after this war there will definitely be a much higher percentage of people speaking the cranium.

[00:36:09] Wendy: Right. So after this war, I know none, none of us have 2020 hindsight of looking at it, but you're in touch with people that are there and you come from the country. Yeah. What is the feeling as to what after this war is going to look like.

[00:36:28] Vladimir: That's the most interesting thing, because I think that Ukraine is positioned when it's rebuilt, right. To be way better than it ever was. Number one, number two, I think Ukraine is positioned to be rebuilt as a leader, uh, technologically and I would not be surprised, uh, that the citizen Ukraine are going to be smart cities, completely connected with, you know, the buildings and traffic lights and like all of it from technological perspective.

[00:37:05] And they think that a lot of foreign investment is going to come into Ukraine very, very quickly that will help build a bill out. So. Whenever that happens. Ukraine is going to be sitting very, very pretty. The big challenge is between now and the end of the world, because nobody knows when, how long, how

[00:37:29] Wendy: okay.

[00:37:30] But you're really feeling like Ukrainians are going to prevail and Ukraine will come out and be read redeveloped with marinade.

[00:37:40] Vladimir: I don't want to make it sound the wrong way, but I think the fact that the country is completely destroyed right now,

[00:37:46] we'll be we'll help because it has to be rebuilt in. If you are going to rebuild it, you might as well go all out and do it right. Because the whole infrastructure would have to be doing. In many cities now. And of course I'm saying it helps the country with a grain of salt because meanwhile, people are dying every day and you, no matter how you build the country, you cannot bring those people back.

[00:38:15] Right. And that's the unfortunate part, the most unfortunate part.

[00:38:20] Wendy: Oh, it's horrible. It's just horrible to watch. And then you wonder with the number of people that have left the country, how long it goes on will depend on if they will go back because they're rebuilding the lives or wherever they are. And so to have to go back and restart.

[00:38:36] Vladimir: Absolutely. And here locally together with a friend of mine was started a nonprofit to help people of Ukraine. Right? So to date, we have moved. Numerous orphanages to safety with supply. So we don't one of the things there's, you know, Ukraine is still very bureaucratic or country just like most countries, especially in Eastern Europe and all the big NGOs work through the government.

[00:39:10] And that creates a lot of issues, right? Uh, logistical, operational, and so on, so forth. So what we do is we work directly with people on the ground. We work with people in Ukraine, Poland, Romania hungry, Germany, Netherlands, France. We raise funds here in the us. And then we send money. So we worked with people underground and Ukraine who basically give us feedback of the kinds of supplies and food and whatever else that they need.

[00:39:47] We source it for them. So up until now, we were sourcing everything from different countries, even shipping stuff from here. Now we have identified numerous Ukrainian companies that produce things that actually started operating again. And we're starting a new initiative or helping Ukrainian entrepreneurs because now people who donate with us, we spend those money as much as we could with the Ukrainian companies, which AE supports those entrepreneurs.

[00:40:25] Uh, supports people who work in those companies, right? Because now they have work to do so they can get paid. It supports the local economy. It helps with the access for the country. Uh, the logistical issues are much easier to deal with because you're already in the country and it's also less expensive to get it from there.

[00:40:47] Then from outside

[00:40:48] Wendy: right now, a hundred percent of the donations are going directly to recipients, right?

[00:40:54] Vladimir: A hundred percent. We have no administrative fees. We have no employees for that. We just do that part of ourselves.

[00:41:03] Wendy: Right. I just came from the EO conference and they were talking a lot about this. So if you're listening to.

[00:41:10] I was at

[00:41:10] Vladimir: GLC. Do you remember Jenny federal beach from the truth?

[00:41:16] Wendy: He's your partner. Okay. Who was, she was running around. So EO is entrepreneurs organization for our listeners. This is an organization of entrepreneurs from around the world that are amazing. They run successful businesses. They give back a lot to the community that support each other.

[00:41:36] So I've, I'm a fairly new member I've been in there for two years. So this was my first GLC. So Jenny was running around, giving out stickers with a QR code that could take you directly to your website, which is real help for your CR ukraine.com.

[00:41:54] Vladimir: oh.org.

[00:41:56] Wendy: Okay. I may be on the, the wrong one, then I'm glad you correct it.

[00:42:02] Oh, no, no, no. It goes there too. Okay. Real help for ukraine.org. And when you go there, you see a father holding a child and a donate now button. Otherwise you can go into one of the projects which are really impressive with how quickly you've set this up. So there's emergency food, their support for orphanages.

[00:42:25] They, uh, Pasha was a winner of the master chef competition. And I've seen him on TV that he has just been baking bread and giving it out to the city.

[00:42:38] Vladimir: So in here, son, he's in here, son, uh, all the bakeries were destroyed, so he was able to get one of them operational and he bakes bread and gives it out to people for free and.

[00:42:52] Supported him by paying for all of it. As people donate to us. And this, this is what they meant by grassroots. Like we worked directly with people. We have a, uh, this guy whose name is in hurricane who we help him source food, get food, buy food diapers, all sorts of other supplies like that. And then he distributes it literally to people who live in the area where he lives.

[00:43:17] Right. So he, I believe, uh, the number is about 2,500 people that he is able to distribute it to in the, the area that he says, which is South Africa, which is the, the area that gets hit the most in her cave. And he's completely destroyed. So

[00:43:35] Wendy: why don't you tell us some of the other causes that you're donating directly to?

[00:43:39] That's fantastic.

[00:43:41] Vladimir: So that's that, uh, we have delivered truckloads of food straight to orphanages. We we provide help and support to Ukrainian refugees. In other countries, some of it is through guys at EO, Poland. They stepped up enormously, uh, and, and provide unbelievable amount of help and work to help those people.

[00:44:06] We also work with some people in EO Romania we support LGBTQ community in the Ukraine. We provide medical supplies. Tourniquets is a big thing. Uh, those are the devices that help you stop the blood when you get wounded you know, outside of the medication syringes and things like that. Protective gear is important because you have, you know, regular civilian people who are walking around with a potential of being shot or Heath with the remainder of something, uh, some kind of irregular bomb.

[00:44:45] Um, so with that, we, we held them with protective gear, such as a Bulletproof vest. Right. You know, we, in our mind, both professed would be worn by somebody who is facing. We are not even comprehending the fact that for you to walk on the street, You're better off with a Bulletproof vest on, because if you were to get shattered by chance or something blew up next to you, that will protect you, that will help you.

[00:45:13] So that's a big part of it then, you know, obviously all the child supplies such as wipes, diapers, formula, bad food, all of it.

[00:45:24] Wendy: And so, I mean, I think this is a real important point. If you're listening to that, this, this, this is entrepreneurs from EO that have bonded together throughout the world to collect money, to donate to people directly in Ukraine.

[00:45:41] And I know the people that are doing this and I can vouch that all the money is going there. This is, this is completely from their hearts and from their organizational skills, they've been able to do it so flat on me or what's the website. Again, let's make sure people know

[00:45:57] Vladimir: it real help for Ukraine that org.

[00:46:01] Wendy: And I did scan the QR code when I was at GLC, which is the leadership conference that EO holds once a year and donate money. And I didn't know, I wanted it to go where they thought the most urgent place was. So you can pick one of those places that you'd like to donate to. If you have a passion about that, or you can pick for a general donation and then you decide vitamin, right.

[00:46:27] How did you decide what general donations, where they go?

[00:46:30] Vladimir: Well, just like with everything else, things change all the time and the general donation funds go to wherever they're needed the most right now. Mm.

[00:46:43] Wendy: And what do you is needed the most now?

[00:46:45] Vladimir: So, for example, we just had the urgent need for tourniquets that we delivered in hurricane that need arose very quickly. In some cases, it's food, in some cases, it is orphanage related stuff. And you know, if, for example, we don't have enough money donate to just an orphanage cause. And when you've more than the rest of it will come from the general fund as majority of people do donate to the general fund.

[00:47:14] Wendy: Oh, is that the case?

[00:47:17] Vladimir: Some people are very adamantly. This is the money for orphanages. They say the money for LGBTQ. This is for protective gear, but for the most part, that's all channel nine.

[00:47:26] Wendy: Okay. And that's, and you can trust the people cause they're, they're talking to the people. I would not have. Have guests that tourniquets would be a huge need.

[00:47:35] And that just breaks my heart to hear that, but better to save a life, um, by using a tourniquet.

[00:47:43] Vladimir: Yeah. Surgical kids sometimes, you know, you have to

[00:47:47] do like a quick surgery and the spot is people get wounded, right? Because there are cases where you cannot even take those people anywhere else, because you might not have anything to take them in like a car. In some cases there'll be no place to take them to because the hospital has been destroyed. So if somebody could, you know, fix your wound, even if it's in a really bad way, because people might not have the experience that it's still better than not doing it.

[00:48:17] Right. Right. Right. So.

[00:48:20] Wendy: Yeah. So again, that website is real help for you, crane.org. And you have a business owner on here that talked a little bit about his business, but it's talking most about how you can donate money that would go to direct to people on Ukraine. So Vladimir it's, I mean, I know how hard it is to, to run a business, but real quickly you've started a, um, a nonprofit agency that is, that is helping people.

[00:48:48] I mean, it's just amazing to watch, so thank you. How do you say thank you and Ukrainian, do you know,

[00:48:55] Vladimir: in Ukrainian Jacqui, in Russian specimen

[00:49:00] Wendy: and how do you say in Ukrainian docu? So docu. Oh, we've run out of time. I'm sure there's so much more that we could talk about. And it, it seems hard to flip from this topic to how I normally and the podcast.

[00:49:18] So w w we're going to do it, but I'm going to adapt it a little bit. So what would you say your favorite foreign word is right now? It doesn't have to be all time, but right now,

[00:49:29] favorite foreign word can be an, any language. So even if you have an English word or Ukrainian or Russian

[00:49:38] Vladimir: one word, or like a small phrase, no,

[00:49:40] Wendy: you can go for a small phrase.

[00:49:43] Vladimir: So have you heard it's? I would say it's too. Have you heard that, that phrase, Russian worship go.

[00:49:54] You're not familiar with that.

[00:49:58] Wendy: I've heard go screw yourself in English,

[00:50:01] Vladimir: Russian worship, go screw yourself.

[00:50:04] Wendy: Oh,

[00:50:05] Vladimir: okay. Only it's not skip yourself. It's the whole, you know, blown direction. But where it came from is there is a small island there called snake island. And there was a Russian worship nearby, um, who, I don't remember exact details, whether they ran out of yes or they needed some kind of help.

[00:50:29] Right. And they reached out to this island, who's like Ukrainians. And they were asking for help. And the guy looked at him, you know, because the distance was there. He looked at the ship and he said, Russian worship.

[00:50:44] Yourself. And that became a phrase that's used and, you know, you can find t-shirts that say that magnets, like all of it, but it signifies the strength of Ukraine, right? Even, even at the moment where you know that the worship could destroy the island and he still chose to stand strong. Uh that's one.

[00:51:12] And the other one is when Zielinski said, no, he was offered to him, the country, he was offered to come to Israel. He was offered to come to America, Germany, wherever they were offering him. They were offering to pick him up, like getting him a ride and all, and he said, I don't need a ride. I need ammunition or weapons, whatever he said.

[00:51:34] Right. And once again I, I think it's a pretty strong symbolic statement for what Ukraine stands for.

[00:51:43] Wendy: Well, I think the whole world has just been amazed at the spirit of the Ukrainians and how strong you've been able to stand. So it's, it's very inspirational. Yeah. And so how about a a memorable cultural experience that you've had

[00:52:01] Vladimir: when we,

[00:52:06] when we first came here? We arrived at night. And we actually knew family who came here two months before we did. Um, they picked us up from the airport and I remember we were driving to, to their, uh, they were renting an apartment then because they were in Detroit area for like the whole two months by then.

[00:52:25] And we driving back and I remember from the airport, I remember it was dark and rainy, so we didn't really sin. And we get to their apartment and, you know, we, I don't remember details, but we probably eat dinner, right. Talked and went to bed. And the next morning they all went to work. So I woke up with my parents and the lady, the mother, she told my mom to have cereal.

[00:52:53] And they have fruit loops.

[00:52:55] I have, we have never seen cereal before they didn't have it in Soviet union. And you know, so, and they think she might've mentioned to my mum that you got to use cold milk, but my mom assumed that, you know, how could you use cold milk? Cause that's not how you make grain. Right? So she boiled the milk and she put fruit loops, fruit loops in it.

[00:53:19] And she boiled the fruit loops. And to tell you that it tasted disgusting would be to tell you nothing. However, I eat it because you know, that's what we had. But then when they all came from work and we discussed that, like everybody started laughing so hard. And then of course they tried fruit loops with cold milk.

[00:53:41] That was as amazing as amazing could be until I realize at some point that the amount of sugar that you have on fruit loops, we, uh, yeah, so I stopped eating, but I still remember the taste and phenomenal.

[00:53:59] Wendy: It's fantastic. I love that. Cause I could just see the mush of fruit loops and the Hotmail.

[00:54:06] Vladimir: I mean, if you really want to see, go boil some flips,

[00:54:10] Wendy: I'm tempted, but I could get enough of an image.

[00:54:15] Oh, that's fantastic. Well, where can people reach out to either to learn more about company folders or about the work that you're doing for Ukraine?

[00:54:27] Vladimir: So company folders that can, uh, you can reach me through. My email address is bladimir@companyfolders.com. People can email me directly go to the company folders that com website or go to real help for Ukraine, that org website.

[00:54:44] And there is a contact form there also, that goes to me.

[00:54:48] Wendy: Fantastic. Well, let Amir, and just, so you get his email, right? It's V L a D as in David, I M as in Mary, I R. Company folders.com or you can go to real help for Ukraine dot Oregon. It's a beautiful website. That's just amazing the work that they're doing.

[00:55:08] So thank you so much flat Amir for being here today and sharing all your experiences. And I hope that anybody who's thinking about hiring people from other countries, uh, you certainly learned about how to set up, uh, a culture that'll work, find something that is closable, and to try the different, different places in the world where you can get employees.

[00:55:31] Cause you can find some real hidden talent. I've been, I've been amazed, I've hired from different people and it's been really easy to work across borders and cross time zones. So. Like this, and you have friends that might be interested in listening to this podcast and learning more about what's going on in Ukraine.

[00:55:49] Please forward it on to them. I think this is a special episode. And again, if you want to join in the conversation, go to global marketing and growth, the Facebook group and asked to join them. Of course, we'll let you, ed. Thanks so much for listening and we'll be back with you next week.

[00:56:08] All right. Great to have you here.


Recent Posts


Questions about global marketing?

Talk to one of our experts in a free 30-minute consultation.

Conversational marketing-1