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Tue, May 28, 2024


The HR Maestro: Yulia Zavyalova's Art of Career and Branding

Yulia Zavyalova is a trailblazing leader in international IT, currently serving as the Chief of Staff to the Global Sales HR VP, overseeing HR programs across 52 countries. She rose from assistant to top manager in just 9 years, excelling as HR Director at Hewlett Packard Enterprise for 7 years before relocating to the United States. Armed with four higher education degrees, including a master's in international HR management, Yulia is a testament to continuous learning and expertise. Apart from her corporate success, she blends her career with entrepreneurship, running the 'Career in Dress' blog and empowering women through consulting and training since 2020. Juggling a thriving career, marriage, and raising two sons, Yulia stands as an inspiration for achieving professional success while harmonizing with life's essential facets.

Could you share insights into how you crafted your personal brand within the HR domain?
The term "personal brand" is trendy nowadays. But what lies behind it?
Three components: our results, external image, and our connections. The easiest way to build a strong personal brand is through social media. There's no need to attend boring conferences or work tirelessly, just sit at home, share stories on Instagram on expert topics. I think nowadays any professional must be present on social media to be in demand and help a larger number of people.

What obstacles did you face on your journey to becoming an HR star, and how did you overcome them? 
Being a "star" is relative. In my previous position as HR Director, I was a star because I had a supportive environment. When I moved to the States and became not just an ordinary employee but lagged until I changed teams, stars aren't standalone; they exist in the company of other stars.

Can you discuss the pivotal moments or experiences that helped shape your career in HR?
A pivotal moment was at Procter & Gamble when I was told I had no potential and would spend my whole life as an assistant. I remember being terribly upset and switched to another company. Three years later, I became a director in the new company.

How do you leverage your personal experiences to empower others in their professional growth? 
The most important thing is to help a person see their own strength. People don't need ready-made recipes; they need to understand how to tailor the system to themselves. A girl once approached me, saying she's the wrong kind of HR, she always wants to solve business tasks, not HR tasks. We outlined her career trajectory, and recently she wrote to me that she became a CEO.

In what ways do you believe your approach to HR differs from conventional methodologies? 
Traditional approaches assume that personnel are a resource. I believe that everyone is talented, and the main thing is to understand where their strengths can be applied. I believe that when a person is in the right place, they feel happy every day. So, HR should be called the "Department of Employee Happiness."

What strategies or methodologies do you employ to help individuals find their professional paths within the HR spectrum?
I use the Gallup Strengths Finder test, in-depth interviews, coaching, and talk a lot about my mistakes and failures. Ironically, the latter turns out to be the most valuable.

How do you see the HR landscape evolving in the coming years, and what advice would you offer to HR professionals adapting to these changes? 
Human Recourses can be divided into three functions: scientists and methodologists (many companies already have expertise centres), service function (assistants who perform routine tasks and answer employee questions), and business HRs who will help the business build a skill-based workforce. The latter will be the most valuable in the market because business transformation is a skill that every company needs.

How do you incorporate technology and innovation into your HR practices and teaching methods?
The biggest innovation recently is artificial intelligence. There will be fewer people performing routine operations, and more people managing machines.

What motivated you to start offering courses, and what are the key areas these courses cover? 
I noticed a significant gap between what we were taught in schools and universities and what people need for work. Many lack the skills to build relationships with their supervisors, seek career sponsors, and work on their personal brands. You won't believe it, but even creating a compelling resume turned out to be a challenge for many.

How do your courses help individuals discover and enhance their professional identities within the HR field? 
Well, my courses are like the GPS for your career. You know, the kind that tells you when to take a U-turn before you end up in the desert. We navigate through the career landscape, avoiding potholes and helping you discover hidden gems in your professional identity.

Yulia Zavyalova

What advice would you offer to aspiring HR professionals looking to make an impact in the industry, both in terms of personal branding and career development? 
Imagine you're a superhero in the HR universe. Your personal brand is your cape, and your career development is your superhero training montage. Embrace your inner HR Avenger, and remember, even superheroes update their LinkedIn profiles.

As a working mother of two sons in a new country like the USA, how have you managed the balance between family life, immigration challenges, and your highly successful career in HR? What strategies or support systems have been crucial in navigating these multiple responsibilities and achieving success professionally and personally?

Ah, the ultimate juggling act! It's like being a trapeze artist in the circus of life. I've mastered the art of balancing family, career, and immigration challenges. My secret weapons? Coffee, a good sense of humor, and an occasional power nap. It turns out laughter is the best stress relief, and coffee is the fuel that keeps the mom-preneur show running!

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