«Body» and «deed» are the words with similar pronunciation (in Russian), but they have a completely different lexical meaning, and it’s rather difficult to applicate them in one context. But as for a successful entrepreneur from Chisinau, Tеtіana Kazantseva, whose life is described in these notes, those words literally intersect and rhyme in the most fateful period of her life. It was when she found a new self, at that very time, while others would give up and float away with the flow of life into the harbor of premature old age and disappointment.
Let’s talk about the history of your acquaintance with sports and your champion achievements.
My acquaintance with sports, namely basketball, happened thanks to my mother Olga, Vice-Champion of the USSR championship of the highest league in basketball. Before I learned how to walk, I was already at all my mother’s workouts, and apparently, as they say, the love for this sport was passed on to me with my mother’s milk. Well, when I was 8 years old, my first coach was my Mom, and it started in Hungary, where my mother was practicing at the time, and then I started to practice and commenced my sports career, although it was not evident for me at first sight.
After half a year, I played for one of the best children’s clubs in Hungary and stayed there for several years. During this period, I won many championships, and then returned home to my native Chisinau. I continued my studies and kept playing basketball. Upon arrival, I was included in the national team of Moldova. I think we were the best of the best among juniors. We were second to no one in my country. We are 5 times champions of the republic and the Universiade. We reached the 2nd place at the European tournament. And we have also won many other championships. People say that there is a turning life point in the life of every woman. As for me, it was after obtaining 2 degrees and receiving a master’s degree at New York University in Prague.
And by the way, I have been dreaming of becoming a diplomat rather than an athlete since I was a child. For me, it was the fulfillment of a dream. I worked at the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Moldova as an advisor to the Minister of Transport. The dream of a diplomatic career resulted in the fact that I know seven languages, including such a unique European language as Hungarian. Anyone who is familiar with linguistics knows that the Hungarian language very specific, and no one except the Hungarians understands it.
I crossed paths with the Hungarian delegation at one of the forums. And I helped them with translations. At first, none of them could believe that I was Moldovan. They thought I was a Hungarian who lived in Moldova. I had helped them a lot and finally made friends. When walking in the corridor at the forum, I saw a man walking, surrounded by an imposing retinue. He came up to me, held out his hand, and said: «They tell legends about you here, about the knowledge of Hungarian».
Frankly, it was very nice. It is even more pleasant when you are only 24 years old, and you are hardly the only woman at the main European forum of European transport ministers, which takes place annually in Leipzig.
What was your way from the Ministry of Transport to the UN like? Did you work there as a representative from Moldova?
No, Moldova has only two seats in the UN and I was not a representative of Moldova. My work at the UN is different, it’s the story about dedication, about knocking persistently on the door which leads to your dream.
And did you knock?
Yes. First, during another trip as part of a delegation from the Ministry of Transport, I ended up in Geneva. And I said to myself and to the minister: «I will work here». They laughed. And then I applied for the UN. I sent my CV and recommendations, and I was contacted. I passed an interview. And then I was invited to work as an expert in projects related to transport, and then to the ILO, the international labor organization.
How long have you been working for the UN? Has your dream come true?
From 2012 to 2014. It came true. But the reality turned out to be different. On the one hand, I work for the United Nations. I live on the shores of Lake Geneva, in an apartment overlooking the lake. Every morning I had an opportunity to jog along the coast. After all, I have been playing basketball for 16 years and I could not really imagine life without sports. This is a very beautiful picture, a dream.
But on the other hand, I was working hard. The UN is an organization where no one is in a hurry. The working day swings at 10 am, and by 4:30 pm it is already over. Including coffee breaks and lunch. It was pity for me. You want me to give an example? I was entrusted with a project: «Meet the deadline». Hooray, I think there is work to do. I estimate the volume, I think that two days will be enough. «Deadline is three months». And how can I describe my emotions? What should I do 88 days out of 90? Simulate work? I don’t like and don’t know how.
By the end of the second year, I assessed the prospects, and there was no at all. The UN is an ossified hierarchy. Nobody gets fired. It’s the kingdom of retiree, a vicious circle that supports and preserves itself. And I decided to return to Moldova.
What happened on your return? Public service onсe again?
No. I opened a beauty salon, a business that every girl is willing to open, it’s like with barbie dolls, and it went well. Surprisingly, the opening of the salon coincided with the birth of my first son Alexander, apparently, he gave me so much strength and energy that I left my job. But over time I lost interest in this business and sold the salon at a good price and took care of my son.
When the Medpark Medical Center opened, and when it began to develop its Center for Aesthetics and Beauty, they turned to me for business consulting. By the way, at that time I had a company in Prague for business consulting and business migration. An excellent business area for a huge number of business migrants from the former CIS countries. This business has helped me form many important and influential business relationships. Thereafter, I became the chairman of the Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery and for the next three years I plunged into the world of beauty.
Three years later, I decided to quit, so Investors began to rethink the strategy, and I decided that I would not wait for disagreements that became obvious.
And so, I reached NEOGYM. Although it is still difficult for me to connect Basketball, Ministry of Transport, UN and Neogym. The spheres are so different from each other.
Tell me, how does it feel to enter a new company and make a revolution as a leader?
No, I’m against revolutions. The idea of destroying everything to the ground and building from scratch is not my business model. All I did was a step-by-step development and a policy of small changes.
I have been the director of NEOGYM for almost 5 years. During these 5 years my life has changed very abruptly, I met my second husband, who was surprisingly a former athlete, but a football player, Alexander Golban, who is now the President of the Football Gym Association. He is also the Director of the National Teams in the Football Federation of Moldova. He is the father to my three kids, which makes me the mother of 4 beautiful children, Alexander, Ekaterina, Maxim, and Anastasia.
With the birth of twins in 2020, I was nominated for Mom of the Year award and won. Now I proudly carry the title of Mom of the Year 2020.
What is more fascinating is that now everyone will ask me: how did you give birth so many children, and who takes care of them? I will say that I never go on a decree, a parental leave, and so on, my opinion indicates my life this way: all the biases have gone somewhere in the past, a modern mother is different, if she wants, she can do everything. Success is 99% of labor and 1% of talent. That is why I chose this path.
A successful mother is a mother capable of being a good wife, leader, partner, director, and all this rolled into one. I bring up my children so that they know how to achieve their goals from childhood. I invest a lot in their development, education, and sports. In a healthy body healthy mind.
From childhood, I teach them to be gentle when necessary, and strong when it’s appropriate. That is why my children, due to their age and awareness, are always with me, at work, they take part in many charitable projects for landscaping, planting of trees, helping children and families. We take part in various forums and conventions.
They may not yet fully understand, but this is how I think they should behave at modern times. It is even easier for them to instill values in the world, and at the same time teach business activities. Now my son is only 7 and he already says: «mom I want to be a strong businessman like you. I just want to be the president of the Construction Company and I will build the most beautiful and coolest houses and buildings».
My other two-year-old kid, Katya is already actively involved in landscaping projects and other projects for children.
And the twins who are now 6 months old still have a little time to simply relax and enjoy the fact that they are just little treasures.
As a mother of the year, I generally want to create my own women’s club of active business mothers, who, united, can change a lot in this country.
Now I know for sure that a woman can do anything. And the biases of a businesswoman and a woman with many children are now completely destroyed. Now I am a strong woman, who will always be able to overcome any obstacles, cope with all difficulties, be successful in all endeavors and, most importantly, be the best mother and wife. Moreover, I am sure this is only the beginning of a successful and interesting journey called life. And the biggest success is yet to come.
Author Olesea Sirghi
Foto Tеtіana Kazantseva (archive)