Alina Trigubenko is the founder and CEO of Profi, an all-in-one operating platform for professional services for consultants, trainers, coaches, and other service professionals. Alina is a successful entrepreneur, technologist, and coach, and enjoys enabling L&D professionals to help more people and drive impact at scale.
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Table of Contents
Let’s start with a brief introduction first. Introduce yourself to our readers.
Alina Trigubenko: I’m Siberia-born, but California-nurtured. Siberia is a great place to build up stamina and grit. One of the sayings we always hear growing up is, “don’t sleep — you will freeze out,” which translates to taking control of your life by taking action versus being passive and waiting to be told. I started working when I was nine years old selling popcorn in the park during summers and making dumplings in my parent’s restaurant in wintertime. I was always a high-energy kid and loved doing many things — working, gymnastics, painting in art school, playing competitive chess (even winning some interstate competitions!), and nine years of music school. I kitesurf, sail, play tennis, and wake surf, snowboard, and ski now — and frankly, I need all of it in my life!
Working and being productive makes me feel great. And kitesurfing, tennis, and snowboarding are the perfect activities for networking. I’ve met and forged beautiful friendships with exceptional leaders while having fun playing sports together.
Our audience is interested to know about how you got started in the first place. Did you always want to become a CEO or was it something you were led to? Our readers would love to know your story!
Alina Trigubenko: I didn’t start my career to become a tech CEO. I started as a morning show producer at one of the biggest TV stations in Europe. However, beyond that, I’ve always been fascinated by what I call profis — professional service providers like coaches, trainers, therapists, consultants — and their dedication to their craft of helping people. Throughout my life, I’ve been the client of a big variety of profis (benefitting from these engagements greatly, of course), and what became so evident to me is their ongoing struggle with finding service enablement tools. Because honestly, there were none! At one point in my career, I trained as a mind-body practitioner and an executive leadership coach, and I got to experience this same struggle from the other side of the market.
The helplessness you can feel and the overwhelm of holding a world-changing, life-changing, heart-by-heart changing vision as a profi, but being sidelined or held back by technology… well, that just shouldn’t exist! Technology is here as a tool for us to advance our purpose and mission as people wanting to help other people. Our tech stack should make our visions real, not make our visions impossible. We all have enough challenges in this world already. And that was my call-to-action to build Profi. That is how, and why, I became a tech CEO. At Profi, our mission is to help helpers maximize their impact.
“Selfmade” is a myth. We all received help, no doubt you love to show appreciation to those who supported you when the going got tough, who has been your most important professional inspiration?
Alina Trigubenko: My dad and mom raised me as an entrepreneur. They either saw it in me or projected that I should be an entrepreneur, and so pretty much everything in my childhood was preparing me for lucrative self-reliance, fast decision-making, managing high levels of responsibility, seeing and then acting fast on opportunities.
My husband, Suren Avunjian, has been mentoring and psychologically supporting me through startup hurdles. And lately, Adam Miller has been extraordinarily supporting, mentoring, guiding, and helping me reach the next level in my life and business. My first boss, Dmitry Dmitrenko, took the responsibility on himself to grow me from an intern into a morning show producer at one of the biggest TV stations in Europe when I was just 18 years old. Through that transformation, he showed me what it meant to believe in miracles.
How did your journey lead you to become a CEO? What difficulties did you face along the way and what did you learn from them?
Alina Trigubenko: By following my passion for helping those that help others, I became the CEO of Profi. There have been a lot of hard lessons along the way. But surrounding myself with amazing people, and sticking with it, is what has helped me overcome those hardships. For others looking to do the same, there is no shortage of problems to solve — global warming, plastic, and other human pollution, inequality, exclusion, broken food, medical and mental health systems that have forgotten how to be human or heal, and so on.
My advice is to double down on what drives you enough to move through the fleeting ups and deepest downs you’ll inevitably feel when you’re trying to solve our world’s biggest problems. And be mindful of its impacts on others: human and nonhuman alike. Is this helping the most or hurting the most? Always choose to help. This translates from your words and behaviors to your product or service design and the “packaging” it’s delivered in — whether that’s a physical package or a channel you deliver a message on or engage with your clients on. It’s incredibly fulfilling to watch the fruits of your work — helping people deal with our most pressing problems — blossom on a branch heavy with all the possibilities we have as humans to do better and to be more. Find an impact that matters to you deeply. And don’t wait another precious minute. Go! Go do the thing day in and day out… and not for the money or the attention or the praise. Do it for the sake of doing it. Of being in it and feeling it from every angle. And watch as it comes alive in your life.
Tell us about your company. What does your business do and what are your responsibilities as a CEO?
Alina Trigubenko: As the CEO of a quickly growing startup, I wear many hats. My responsibility is to be a resource to my team, our clients, and the community in any and every way I possibly can. As for our technology. Profi is an innovative new, secure professional service operating platform for collaboration, billing, scheduling, reporting, client and team management, and more. The Profi platform is a cloud-based service that helps professional service providers – solopreneurs, teams, and organizations – increase revenue through optimized service delivery, deeper client activation, and automated business processes.
The platform also provides turnkey, holistic tools and workflow automation that help busy professionals increase client engagement, manage teams and services, provide customized client experiences, securely collaborate, manage and automate payments, and much more. Profi is flexible, in that it can scale as an organization’s business grows. The result is an all-in-one solution that helps busy professionals automate cumbersome admin tasks, allowing them to focus more on providing services and growing their businesses. All that is required of professionals is a willingness to show up for their service delivery (session, appointment, etc), Profi handles the rest.
What does CEO stand for? Beyond the dictionary definition, how would you define it?
Alina Trigubenko: To me, the CEO represents leading by example. I am a servant leader and to me, that means my job is to create a higher purpose for our clients and employees. My job is to both drive the vision and help with the details. Like I said earlier, in a startup you do it all.
When you first became a CEO, how was it different from what you expected? What surprised you?
Alina Trigubenko: I’ve had a lot of great mentors that have helped prepare me for being the CEO of a startup. I knew what to expect and have embraced the responsibility fully. But even with that, I am still learning every day. Being CEO means you are always learning. The minute you think you know it all, you’re in trouble.
There are many schools of thought as to what a CEO’s core roles and responsibilities are. Based on your experience, what are the main things a CEO should focus on? Explain and please share examples or stories to illustrate your vision.
Alina Trigubenko: The CEO needs to represent the mission, vision, and values of the organization. As CEO, you are the champion for the entire team. It’s not about you, it’s about your products, your staff, and your customers. Do what’s right by them and you’ll always succeed.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Alina Trigubenko: Before Profi was Profi, it was Aware now. We rebranded because our product was expanding beyond our original market. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into building Aware now, so it was hard to say goodbye to it. But now we are extremely happy that we did it because Profi has become far more than we could have imagined.
How would you define success? Does it mean generating a certain amount of wealth, gaining a certain level of popularity, or helping a certain number of people?
Alina Trigubenko: To me, success is measured by your impact on society and others. Are you making the world a better place, or are you just taking from it? If you can do something good for someone else, or society, you are successful.
Some leadership skills are innate while others can be learned. What leadership skills do you possess innately and what skills have you cultivated over the years as a CEO?
Alina Trigubenko: Because of my background in journalisms, I am a good listener and I am a student. I find that there is a lesson to be learned in everything and that anyone can teach us something new. Other skills needed for being a good CEO include endurance, patience, vision, humility, integrity, empathy, and drive.
How did your role as a CEO help your business overcome challenges caused by the pandemic? Explain with practical examples.
Alina Trigubenko: COVID-19 forced digital transformation across industries, consumers’ habits and expectations online have only risen — people paying high-ticket for your services now expect a top-notch digital service delivery experience from you. This has become one of the “from good to great” differentiators in business. You can’t turn into a tech company overnight (and we shouldn’t all try to turn our businesses into tech companies in the first place — we all should optimize and maximize our strength points). This means that you need to partner with a comprehensive, niche-specific, purpose-built platform solution. At Profi, we’re profis ourselves, and we research and design our platform with other profis in mind.
As for our challenges: we started selling in a pre-COVID world. And fewer professional services organizations saw the immediate need for digital transformation, customer experience, and additional security layers. Today, these are a must-have for organizations wanting to scale, retain customers, and unlock additional revenue that’s only possible with an all-in-one solution. This kind of unified approach gives orgs a single, secure portal for everyone from the business owners and managers to their service providers and their clients.
Do you have any advice for aspiring CEOs and future leaders? What advice would you give a CEO that is just starting on their journey?
Alina Trigubenko: Never stop learning. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions with the information you have at the time, but never stop learning. And always work to maximize your impact for the good of others and society.
Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge with our readers! They would also like to know, what is one skill that you’ve always wanted to acquire but never really could?
Alina Trigubenko: That is a tough one. I’ve always wanted to be able to levitate….
Before we finish things off, we have one final question for you. If you wrote a book about your life today, what would the title be?
Alina Trigubenko: To Be Continued. This would be the title because there’s always more to the story.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Alina Trigubenko for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Alina Trigubenko or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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