Caucasus Business week offers you an interview with Khatia Alpaidze Head of PR and Marketing Department at Clean World, where she talked about her first and current job and her hobby as a fairy tale writer.
What are you by profession?
I hold BA degree in journalism, however, I have worked as a journalist for only two years. I have also passed Caucasus University’s MA degree in strategic communications. I have been working in the marketing and PR field for 11 years.
Journalism has taught me how to remain unbiased and frank. At the same time, as a marketer I try to be a respondent desirable for all professional journalists: frank, right and professional.
Your first job.
I started my first official job at MediaNews agency. However, I had earned royalties starting school period. I grew up in Samtredia and my articles were published at the district newspaper. I used to participate in various competitions in Samtredia, where event organizers used to select anchor-reciters for district events. Since I could deliver a speech, I was frequently selected for this position and I could earn small royalties. This factor was very exciting, motivating and important for me, a 13-14-year-old girl.
It should be also noted that I, being 15, obtained a scholarship of the Samtredia District Governor, as a successful pupil. I was a smart child turning around all the time, because I knew I had to rely only on myself and my mother, who was seeing my potential and was trying to assist in directing this potential to the right way. Naturally, this is not OSCARS speech of gratitude, but I thank my mother for that.
Current job and position.
Currently I work for Georgia’s one of the biggest cleanup companies – Clean World. I work as a head of marketing and PR department. This name is quite long and I prefer to briefly say PR Department Head.
Our company is a permanently growing body with focus on innovations and development. We employ about 1500 persons and serve more than 700 state and private organizations all over Georgia.
Your first success.
My first success was my first book of fairytales and novels “Everything, that is Everything”. The edition was printed in Kutaisi with small circulation and was sold out at once. This is the merit of my mother, because she noticed I was writing something all the time at the light of candle at night (electricity was not in that period in Samtredia) and I was storing these exercise books. One day my mother took them, read and showed these writings to Otia Ioseliani. She asked him to read those writings to learn what her girl was scribbling. In reality, she was interested in what Otia Ioseliani would say and how valuable my writings were.
As I remember Otia told my mother that I had invented excellent names for fairytale heroes and he asked my mother to show me to him (I was 14 then).
And this happened. We visited Mr. Otia. I got to know him and he advised me to continue writing. In this way, first my book was published.
Affairs, projects that you have implemented and you are proud of them.
I would recall one and I am proud of it very much till today. In that period I was working for Caucasus University as PR manager. We developed an integrated media course for media school promotion that called for involvement of 12-grade pupils of various public schools in the education program.
11- and 12-grade pupils interested in journalism were taught to fundamental principles of journalism, PR and marketing. Succeeded 3- and 4-year students and MA students of Caucasus University media school were also involved in the project. In that period I was a MA student too.
Why was this project so important? Because we transmitted experience and motivation to those students and their talent, high scores, their attitude to studies and hardworking did not remain unnoticed. We also showed to the 11- and 12-grade pupils what kind of students were studying at our university, how talented students they were and what kind of young people they could become in several years. I was the project director and I keep friendship relations with these pupils till today.
The field where you will never work.
I would never become a doctor. However, I can provide first aid, if necessary.
What characteristics make a person successful in your field? Besides knowledge, are special features required?
Full freedom – this is important. Aspiration for freedom leads us to success. Purposefulness, continuous and tireless working and struggle for your goals bring real results definitely. Ability to take decisions quickly, because the time is money. Money is also Freedom. Devotion to your business and freedom is here again. Love is freedom, is not it?! Richard Bach’s Seagull Jonathan Livingston manages flying thanks to the love of freedom. People should be able to water flowers in rainy day. I mean this freedom. This is success.
Is it possible today in Georgia to study PR at high level or international knowledge and experience is necessary?
Everything depends on practical experience. All cases are of individual character. Knowledge can be received in our country too, but this knowledge can be deepened and strengthened in Europe and western countries. Naturally, the more you know, the better it is. Moreover, in the era of computer technologies, we have various online courses and this is a quite good practice for receiving knowledge and experience in distance.
Naturally, I would leave abroad if I had due financial support in that period, when I started MA studies. But I would not leave for only studies, but also for acquaintance with people, streets, bridges,aged people, children, culture of those countries. To be frank, I would visit western countries for this objective.
Is PR perceived and understood in Georgia in its classical nature ?
In the last period, the demand for valuable PR and Marketer agents are has become more in-grow, because people have understood their importance for organization, but this is a new direction in Georgia anyway. On the one hand, it is clear that PR is good, but they have a little different perception. They think PR should write articles, translate, organize events, order uniforms, draw clients and many similar things.
This signifies the problem hides in ourselves, marketers and PR specialists. There is very few professionals in this field in Georgia and we do not try to improve the situation, to upgrade perception of our potential employers about what is PR, what is marketing, what is promotion, what is event, what is the difference between them, what PR does and so on. There is one solution: we should sit down and decide how to grow in this field and how make employers aware who we are in reality, what we do and why this is important. Otherwise nothing will change and we will remain as employed PR specialists for managing social networks to attract clients, perform staff function in parallel regime and so on.
How easily can you discharge crisis situations and take decisions? Do similar cases affect quality of business?
I noted above that the capability of taking quick decisions is of crucial importance and not only crisis situations require quick decisions. This is the whole complex. Promptness should not fail the business. This signifies that any decision should be taken in reasonable timeframes.
Quick action is necessary, in general, because the time runs. Quick reactions particularly weigh in emergency situations, but this reaction should be very reasonable to maintain quality.
Interesting episode from your life (business life) that has changed your lifestyle.
Recently I launched my personal business, created a page in the social network called as Katiani. I make T-shirts for adults and children and various accessories with images of only cats.
I like animals very much, especially cats. In my childhood I liked remaking clothes and therefore, I have decided to adjust my childhood hobby to this love for animals. Reaction was quite impressive. Initially, I organized the regime of expectation. I invented a legend on how a cat was arrested because of dropping down a vase from a table, how grandmother was requesting its release from prison, how the inmate cat requested for improving working conditions in the cell and how a magistrate released it because of hardworking.
Having left the prison, the cat launched its own production. This unoffensive legend exploded the whole social network and I found many cat lovers in Georgia, contrary to my expectations. 2% of profits from sold products are handed over to adolescents with Down Syndrome. This is the social responsibility of Katiani and I am very happy doing this business.
Without this profession, where would you work?
I would be a good psychologist. Because when I see people and their eyes, I already know what kind of nature and spirit they have.
What is your strong side and characteristics, as a businesswoman? Independence and continuous aspiration for development, innovation and desire for assisting other people, flexibility and promptness, professionalism, patience and frankness. These characteristics create may strong side.
What is your benefit from the company where you work? What makes this company interesting for you?
I like that our partner facilities are always clean and people talk about this. For example, we clean the facility, where you have a dinner, do shopping, we care for its order to create cozy, clean and safe atmosphere for our customers. I am happy because of this, because I think cleanness of these facilities gives birth to something deep feeling called as environment protection, care and protection of elementary hygienic norms, because all of us deserve to live in clean world!
What creates the most discomfort in your job?
Readdressing – this is awful!When you need some information, you ask a due person and they answer they are busy and redirect you to others and then it turns out the other does not have this information. This is very bed practice and unprofessional attitude.
Where do you see yourself after 20 years?
At home, with my husband and children (currently I do not have children), with Katiani, Jasmin tea, fireplace, papers and pan.