Caucasus Business Week offers you an interview with Mzia Sharashidze, PR Manager of Tbilisi Zoo, where she talks about her first job, career path and names important features and aspects that successful public relation manager and should have.
-What are you by profession?
– I am a graphic designer and this is my primary profession. I have graduated from Academy of Arts, faculty of graphic design. For a certain period, I used to work in my degree field, but later I started working for radio and TV stations and gave up painting temporarily.
I picked up PR profession after several years, when I was studying communications management at GIPA. Later, I passed trainings in art of sales, social media, organizing of events, efficient communication and presentation, service of consumers, negotiations and problems management. Finally, I shaped a good bouquet of knowledge, experience and skills and this factor considerably assists me in current activities. My primary profession of graphic-designer has also turned out also very useful, because I have tight communication with designers and the vision of a graphic designer considerably alleviates my communication with them.
-Your first job place.
-I used to earn money starting from school years, when I used to make handmade things (bags, beads) and sell them. The first job place, where I officially took wage was Radio One (106.4 FM). I was 18 then and a radio presenter was a glorious and honorary profession in that period (especially at 106.4 FM radio station). And one day, without hesitation, I went to radio station and offered my candidacy for the position of a musical program presenter. I passed certain tests to determine how well I knew musical world and finally, they hired me next day.
I have worked at radio for 10 years. At the same time, television programs also appeared in my life. I became a TV presenter and I have led programs at various leading TV channels for about 15 years.
I was aspiring for everything new and innovative and finally, I sank in the PR world and I remain devoted to this field till today.
-Current position and job.
-Currently, I work as Tbilisi Zoo PR manager.
– Your first success.
-If we talk about PR field specifically, the first success came after graduation from GIPA, when the first company, where I had submitted my resume, employed me. People face difficulties to find job and they think it is useless to send resumes and it is impossible to attain goal without friends and relatives. However, everything happened in different way in my case, without protectionism. Certainly, this was my first success, the step that gave me a new job, chance for professional growth, development and self-fulfillment in the new field.
In general, we can call all new jobs, all new businesses to be a success, because despite the job is bad or good, experience and gained knowledge always work. And new friends and co-workers, who pass the new way jointly with you, also remain with you.
-Business, project that you are proud of even today.
-Naturally, during 10-year career in PR field, there would be many projects for taking pride in. Any good specialist would name a long list of successful projects in response to this question. I can do the same, but I will not name specific projects.
The most difficult business for PR specialist is to change human values and to ruin established stereotypes, shape different opinion, penetrate a human reason and grasp the most important emotions from the secrete corners of the human heart.
I find similar projects glorious. For example, I am happy when someone reminds me of Elephant Grant operation and I frequently talk about this project as an invited speaker, because it is one of the best samples of well-planned PR campaign. What was important in this project? People who were not previously interested in animals, became the elephant fans and friends. On that day, a great number of people were waiting at Zoo entrance to learn information about the elephant health condition. They were offering assistance without seeking any benefit. They were bringing food, children did not go sleep without information that the elephant would survive.
And what else? I am happiest person, when people say they know Zoo and they tell Zoo stories to children at night. When the flood stormed the capital city, these people showed huge support and sympathy to our animals. Our white lion Shumba was the best sample. Everybody was particularly sorrowful because of his death, because everybody knew Shumba. He was a friendly animal to everybody. People had special attitude to this lion and therefore, his death was especially regretful.
-The field where you would never work.
-For example, it is unimaginable for me to take efforts in politics, but I would be banal and say Never say Never.
-What makes a person successful in your field? Besides knowledge, what special features are required?
-I would name an ability of positive thought, besides a standard package of skills – the ability to see good in everything and everywhere. It is impossible to persuade people to like and love what you do not love and believe in.
-Is it possible today in Georgia to study PR well or international knowledge and experience is necessary?
-I believe that those, who want to learn something by heart, will reach success at any time and everywhere, even more so modern technologies simplify process of search of required information. However, international knowledge and experience broadens scope, helps you get rid of bewitched circle, new ideas and new methods for problem solution arise, various creative channels open, enthusiasm grows. Even short-term training abroad suffice to perceive the domestic everyday life in different light and return to usual environment with fresh ideas.
-Is PR perceived and understood in Georgia in its classical nature?
-Regretfully, I frequently meet situations, when PR specialists are considered as grigs from Krilov’s fable, who jumps and creaks, while ants work to create winter reserves. Many individuals cannot realize that, like ants, PR specialists also perform hard job.
-How easily do you manage to settle crisis situations and take decisions? Does similar cases affect the working process quality?
-As a rule, I am very self-mobilized in crisis situations, more self-mobilized than in ordinary, quiet environment. Sometimes, I think the inactive and idle part of brain gets activated and that’s why I manage to do business at high level in extraordinary regime. As to decision-making process, I always listen to field specialists and people, who know more around this or that issue. Then, I think a lot and only after that I take a final decision.
-Interesting episode from your life (business) that has changed your life.
-I think the June 2015 flood was the most extraordinary and emergency period in my life, when Tbilisi Zoo was almost demolished entirely. Today I recall that period as an evil dream or thriller film. Several months of stress, sorrow, pain and tension, when I could not eat, sleep and was working in extremely nervous environment in continuous regime. What has this period changed in my life? Regretfully, I found out that people can commit injustice. However, fortunately, I also made sure that there are more people, who can fight against this injustice. I saw coward people, but I guessed that there are more people to rely on.
-Without this profession, which field would you take efforts in?
-I am an all-or-nothing person and perfectionist. Therefore, I am completely sure that I would be excellent doctor (especially surgeon or plastic surgeon) or goldsmith.
-What are strong sides of your character, as a businesswoman?
-Willpower to smile in difficult situations.
Joking about myself;
Problem Resolution skills;
Humor in emergency situations;
Ability to persuade others easily;
Solution of life problems thanks to practical decisions;
Making scrupulous order;
Ability of making several affairs simultaneously (as a rule, males make concentration on one issue, while women are able to think, write, make phone calls, listen and watch Facebook page too).
Playing with my child with 40-degree fever.
Ability of recovery, when you think everything is over.
-What benefits do you receive from your employer company? What makes this company interesting for you?
-I have recently read such a thing: «No human exists, who on the verge of death, would dream of time spent at office and job. People mainly regret that they did not spend much time and did not pay due attention to family, friends and favorite affairs». I am happy, because I do my favorite business. Mondays do not push me into depression and I do not hate going to office.
-What makes major discomfort in working process?
-interference in my job
-dispersion of concentrated attention.
-Where do you see yourself after 20 years?
-I do not have any idea, but I hope I will not be a boring, ever discontent, critically-tuned and sick old woman.