Ekaterina Kochetova joined Hyphen in November 2021 as an Associate, working primarily with our Client Partnerships team.
She works closely with Dr Erhan Ermis, one of our Co-Founders, and Pietro Vecchiato, VP of Client Partnerships, to understand our clients’ needs and provide the experts they need for their engagements.
While this builds on her professional background, which includes experience in political consulting and advising international non-profits on the adoption of digital technology, her role with Hyphen has presented her with a myriad of new problems to solve and countless exciting opportunities.
To understand a bit more about what Katya does and how it fits into Hyphen’s grand plan for the future of work, we asked Katya a few questions about her experiences so far.
What sorts of clients do you work with and how do their needs differ?
The pool of clients Hyphen collaborates with is very diverse, ranging from sovereign wealth funds and national governments to top-tier consulting firms and developers working on mega-projects. This means there is always plenty of variety in the challenges our clients face.
Our projects have ranged from setting up an e-sports World Cup to improving a national statistical survey, so it is fascinating work that always poses a unique challenge.
How do you find working with such a wide array of high-level experts from a range of different fields? Is it challenging or enjoyable to have to cover so many industries?
It is always extremely stimulating to meet experts and consultants from Hyphen’s ever-growing network. For me, each such occasion is an extraordinary learning opportunity.
One of my very first expert calls was with a senior policy expert who spent his whole career working for top-level EU institutions. We ended up having an incredibly profound discussion about matters beyond just work and I was so excited to learn about his experiences in policy development and decision-making.
It is truly incredible that at Hyphen we get an opportunity to engage with experts from such diverse industries, and I value this part of our work a lot.
What is the biggest challenge for you in your job? How do you deal with that and what skills would you say are important for your role?
The pace at which we work within the Client Partnerships team is often very fast. Back-to-back calls are a day-to-day reality of our business. These can cover a whole host of different topics and could see me speaking with new members of the Hyphen network, talking with clients to understand their needs, or something entirely different such as internal staffing discussions.
The speed at which things on both client and expert sides can change is rarely counted in days; these are things that need to be dealt with in a matter of hours, which can be quite demanding.
We always need to act – and react – quickly and be prepared to reshuffle things on the fly. It is not always easy, but it has taught me to be more flexible and resilient, which are both valuable traits.
Erhan and Pietro have decades of experience between them and are two people you work particularly closely with. How beneficial is to be able to learn from them every day?
I always appreciate the great support and guidance I receive from the leadership team at Hyphen, who are always willing to help however they can.
This applies to everyone at the company but is particularly relevant when I think of Erhan and Pietro, with whom I am most actively involved in business development efforts. I am very proud of the dynamics within our team, as readiness to help and openness are two of the core elements of it.
How is it working for a company where you are so able to communicate directly with those in charge? Do you feel like your feedback is valued?
I find it incredible to work so closely with Hyphen’s leadership and be treated like an equal thought partner. It never ceases to amaze me how open everyone at Hyphen is, including senior members of the team. This collaborative environment is helpful and progressive when it comes to making changes, asking for and incorporating feedback, and looking at ways to improve.
Our bi-weekly retro and planning sessions are excellent too. Everyone openly shares their experiences from the past two-week sprint and discusses any thoughts they have on what works well and where we can improve. The whole Hyphen team, regardless of what department they work in, always makes me feel that my feedback is welcomed and appreciated.
What were your expectations before you joined Hyphen? What has been the thing that has surprised you the most?
The biggest and the most pleasant surprise was to discover how friendly and respectfully everyone treats one another at Hyphen, as we are truly a team of like-minded people. Openness, readiness to help, collaborative spirit and unwavering desire to improve are all things that we all share as values.
How would you describe your work life to a friend?
It’s a great balance between the flexibility of remote work and the joy of quarterly co-working gatherings. There is also the combination of the day-to-day hustle of a fast-paced business environment and the joy of being part of a friendly and collaborative team of like-minded individuals.
While some will look at the instability and uncertainty that comes with working for a start-up, the beauty of building an incredible product together from scratch is really fulfilling and makes me feel that my work has real value to it.