When Maryna Hradovich joined the digital marketing firm SEMrush in 2011, she was part of a three-person team responsible for setting up the North American division of the company—which at the time was an early-stage startup from Europe—in the United States.
Today Hradovich is the president of SEMrush, and has helped facilitate its massive growth over the past few years, both in revenue and its employee roster. The company is now recognized as a market leader, has more than 400 employees in four countries and boasts big-name clients including eBay, Disney and Overstock.com.
Hradovich is a passionate technology and business professional who continues to make a name for herself and the company. She recently won two awards—based on industry impact, market leadership and company growth—from the American business magazine SmartCEO. And she has achieved all this before reaching the age of 30. The Northeast Philly Toastmasters member shares her experience below.
Tell us more about the SmartCEO awards.
I won the 2016 Philadelphia Circle of Excellence Award and the 2017 Philadelphia Future 50 Award, which honor the region’s accomplished business leaders and the fastest-growing organizations. Winning both awards was more than I expected. It was a great experience not just in terms of winning, but also in terms of enjoying the journey. When you are in the thick of things, you sometimes don’t get the opportunity to really take in all the milestones you are reaching.
What kind of work do you do as president of your company?
At SEMrush, the scope of my work includes everything from general operations management to fiscal management to strategic business development. Our niche within the tech industry is digital marketing—our solutions help our users better market themselves online. This is a highly competitive and complex space and we have stayed ahead of the curve. What I like most about this industry is that it continually evolves. There is never a dull moment, and that reflects within our company culture. We are an increasingly flat organization [which means there is little or no middle management between staff and executives] where an entrepreneurial spirit and innovative mindset are job requirements.
How has Toastmasters benefited you?
I immigrated to the United States from the small nation of Belarus in Eastern Europe on my own in my early 20s, after studying international business at Belarus State Economic University. I didn’t speak much English and I was self-conscious about it. I picked up the language fast, but that was not enough. As I grew in my career in the highly visible field of digital marketing, I knew that it was critical for me to build my public speaking skills. I had great ideas and knew what I wanted to say—Toastmasters helped me with the “how.” Thanks to Toastmasters, I am increasingly more comfortable and confident while speaking in public forums. I have also noticed that I communicate much better in one-on-one settings.
Elaborate on your personal mantra,“No job is too big or too small.”
Anyone who has worked in an entrepreneurial culture knows that the learning curve is steep and work demand is high. Often, there is no one to whom you can delegate tasks. What that means is you figure out and do whatever needs to be done without complaining—whether that is taking on a new, unexplored market or driving to the notary public to get a stamp on a document. I truly believe that my success, past or future, is directly tied to how closely I follow this mantra.
Do you have any advice for members?
Trust the Toastmasters process because it works. Those simple, small speeches are very powerful exercises, and they will cumulatively help you with expression, communication and confidence no matter what kind of work you do. Even if you may never need to give a speech to a room full of people, the Toastmasters experience will help you make strides in your field.
Mariam Jehangir is the editorial assistant for Toastmaster magazine.