Wow jet-lag and impressions have the best of me. Slept for 3 hours and was wide awake for 6:00 so I hit the pool. Almost lost my locker room key. Since I said “spaciba” (thank you) with a perfect Russian accent to an older woman who I was swimming with, she proceeded to have a conversation in Russian with me about a time someone almost left the key in the sauna grate… even though I kept saying I didn’t speak Russian… we got it.. it was a great local bonding experience. Yes, that is snow on the ground.
Sasha picked me up and we went to Big Brother Big Sisters Moscow office. I presented training materials to help with mentors, mentees and guardians, linked in the elements of effective practice and spoke about major event strategies. After lunch I worked with the Social Media Team on some navigation, frequency and outreach tips. Then connected the PR Team to a possible corporate connection here in Moscow.
Office Culture – from the moment I walked in I could sense true collaboration from the top down with Big Brothers Big Sisters Moscow. Sasha who is the Executive Director of BBBS was quick to point out her empty office where “the boss is typically supposed to sit.” She then showed me her office where she feels more comfortable with her Leadership Team – Head of PR and Director of Fundraising (Elena and Inna). She said she feels better in this office because they can exchange ideas more fluidly than being apart.
At BBBS they are a team of 11 very intelligent women in the office. The average age is about 26 and they all have college degrees in Social Work or Psychology. Sasha has her Phd in Animal Behavior. I noticed how much the team cared about one another. It was one of their colleges birthdays, they made sure to take a break before she left for the day and gave her flowers, small gifts and I even added a “Girl Power T-shirt.” Most of the group breaks for lunch and eats in the meeting room or down in the cafe… not at their desk like I often do back at home.
Some key takeaways already… Mentors go through 17 hours of training. They discussed ways to get buy-in from a business CSR team. For example during the Team Meeting they brainstormed ideas to identify possible restaurants to host a cooking class for their April Mentee/Mentor Match. Where we spend the time on creating events, they rely on CSR and volunteers to host the events, like I witnessed yesterday. This type of strategy allows more time and resources to be allocated on mentor training.
The highlight of my day aside from presenting, was meeting Ruslana my BBBS Moscow sister.. Ruslana is a Case Manager. She taken one for the team and will accompany me to St. Petersburg on Thursday morning to meet with Big Brother Big Sisters St Petersburg. She also helped me purchase a ticket to see Swan Lake in St Petersburg!!
After work I was ready to drop. Thankfully I caught a second wind because Sasha was on a mission to show me European Fashion. The fashion is really amazing. My nieces will be very spoiled upon my return. Lastly, when in Russia, I had to check out Starbucks and McDonald’s. That’s all… comments below appreciated!