Julia Terenjuk is the co-founder and CEO of Creative Capsule. Under her leadership, Creative Capsule has experienced healthy growth and has built a reputation as a trusted provider of high-quality software development services. She has extensive strategic management and operations experience, having held senior management positions in various industries.
MSTS: What are some pivotal points that got you to where you are today in your career?
Julia Terenjuk: I can think of two points that stand out. These allowed me to successfully start and run my own company. The first one was getting an opportunity to be part of an entrepreneurship program at UMKC and learning about running a business by doing a couple of internships at local companies as part of my MBA. The second was getting a job as an internal auditor for the City of Kansas City, MO. As an auditor, I was able to learn what makes various types of operations successful and get involved in software implementation audits. I realized I enjoyed the world of software and knew I wanted to do more. So when I met my partner Salil, who had a software engineering background, the idea of starting a software services company together was very appealing.
MSTS: What changes have you seen for women in business in the past 5 years? What do you think we’ll see in the next 5 to 10 years?
Terenjuk: Truthfully, I have not really been thinking much about changes for women in business as I don’t divide the world across gender lines. I don’t notice that when I sit down at the table, I may be the only woman. I am a believer that no matter whether you a woman or a man, our limitations come from the abilities, not gender. Also, businesses benefit more when they have both women and men in leadership roles. I believe we, as women, can create our own opportunities by being creative and persevering.
MSTS: What struggles did you face the most as a woman at the start of your career?
Terenjuk: I don’t attribute the struggles I faced to me being a woman. While I faced many struggles to get where I am today, I don't feel it is because I was a woman. It was because I did not have people to vouch for what I could deliver. Winning clients was a challenge as we had no social network or relationships established when we started. Not many people were willing to entrust their project to two foreigners, a lady from Estonia and a man from India.
MSTS: What do you think is the biggest challenge women in business face today?
Terenjuk: Overall, if I look at the national level, women lack exposure and access to financial capital. I think to be able to get the same resources in this area, women have to work harder and prove more.
MSTS: In your opinion, what’s the best way women in business can make a substantial difference?
Terenjuk: Being confident in their abilities and focusing on what makes them unique in their approach or business model and staying true to that. Also, not shying away from partnering with men, as there many men who believe in our abilities and the value we can bring.
MSTS: Which women are you inspired by and why?
Terenjuk: My inspiration comes from my mother. She sacrificed a lot for me to be where I am today. Thinking of her sacrifice motivates me to accomplish more and push myself further.
MSTS: What advice would you give your 15-year old self, knowing what you know today and having the experiences you’ve had?
Terenjuk: Don’t be afraid to try different paths and stop comparing how you do against other peers. Try to notice what type of work feels satisfying and pursue it further. Don’t push hard against the closed door, it may be a wrong one, and you may need to try another one.
MSTS: How can women help each other to continue advancing in business?
Terenjuk: By making more opportunities for accessing capital. We can also help by being honest and practical in providing feedback to each other. Sometimes we lack directness as we are afraid to hurt someone’s feelings.
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