Caucasus Business Week had an interview with Iza Gotsadze, Head of Communications at Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC (AGL), where she talked about her current and past jobs, her career path and achievements.
Can you tell me a little about your educational background?
I hold BA in Journalism and an MA in Communications Management.
What was your first job?
I started working as a party PR specialist in Parliament when I was 18.
And what is your current job?
I work at Adjaristsqali Georgia as the head of communications.
What was your earliest achievement?
I spent my childhood on stage as an event presenter. I think my first appearance on stage was my earliest achievement. I defeated my fear, overcame the beating of my own heart, and even managed to enjoy the whole process. I was only 8 years old then, but I can still remember this emotion clearly.
What are some other projects or achievements that you are proud of?
I represent the company that is building the Shuakhevi Hydropower Plant, one of Georgia’s largest power generating facilities. Our social projects are setting high standards of social responsibility in our country. I take pride in all of the projects that we have implemented over the past two years and their considerable contribution to Georgia’s long-term development. So far, we have implemented roughly 70 social projects aimed at improving the quality of life in upper Adjara.
What is one field that you would never work in?
In some ways, the work we do sets the tone for our lives because it consumes so much of our time. I enjoy communications, but I think I would be less successful in a technical field. That being said, there is a strong need for technical specialists in Georgia, and I would advise anybody to choose a technical profession.
What makes a person successful in your field? Besides knowledge, what special characteristics are required?
Strong communication skills. Communicating with people is an art, and a company’s image depends on effective communication. A PR specialist is responsible for developing that image and forming a company’s long-term reputation. In addition to knowledge, this job requires broad vision to determine the best communication strategy, one that takes into account all possible risks and dangers.
How is the PR field understood in Georgia?
Some companies do have a strong understanding of the role of PR in business. They work on long-term strategies and recognize the need for PR services in their company’s success. However, many Georgian companies remain skeptical about PR and think that its role is limited to media relations or executing decisions made by top management.
The PR field still remains in its infancy in Georgia. This is a problem that is particularly evident in the process of personal image building. For example, when politicians are advised to act in a way that would generate positive public reactions, their personal characteristics are not taken into account.
This creates artificial public personae that are inadequate and do not inspire public confidence. PR specialists should understand that the most efficient strategy for image formation is to consider the personal characteristics of the person and highlight their strengths while not ascribing to them characteristics that are artificial or unfamiliar to the public.
How easily do you manage crisis situations and quick decision making? Do these crises affect quality of your business?
I believe that crisis management and making fast decisions under pressure is an important part of any manager’s job. Managing a crisis without harming the quality of work requires not only a strong character but also depends considerably on experience and knowledge. In my 15 years of experience, I have come to learn that a crisis is just a challenge that you can accept, overcome, and use as an opportunity to achieve better results.
Is there an interesting experience from your life or work experience that has had a strong impact on you?
Even though I work in the PR field, I studied to be a journalist. At first, I had a lot of doubts about whether starting the journalism program was the right decision for me. During my studies at GIPA, I interned at a major Georgian TV broadcaster. This was a very interesting period in my life filled with novelties and challenges. In the last few seconds before a live broadcast, in spite of the adrenaline, there was so much to do and so many decisions to make. Everything had to be right the first time because there wouldn’t be a chance correct any mistakes later. I learned my part in this rhythm and decided that this was the right field for me. This ultimately led me to a career in the PR sector.
If you weren’t working in PR, where would you work?
If I had to choose a different profession, I would certainly work in business journalism. What are your strengths as a businesswoman?
I think my strengths are my abilities to make decisions quickly and take responsibility for my actions.
What do you like about working for your employer? What makes the company interesting for you?
That is something I could talk about endlessly. The company encourages all of its employees to fully realize their potential and make the most of their abilities. We work as a team to overcome challenges and advance the goals of the company.
Facing challenges is part of any energy project, not only in Georgia but throughout the world. Problems arise every day, but resolving them efficiently without harming the company’s reputation is what I find to be the most satisfying part of my job, especially because our company’s management fully recognizes the role of the PR department its success.
Is there anything you don’t like about working at your company?
There’s nothing to dislike when you love your job and work in an environment that supports you.
Where do you see yourself after 20 years?
– It’s difficult to say where I’ll be in 20 years, but I think by then I will have moved from the private sector to the public sector.