Q&A With Oleg Konovalov


Good afternoon, readers! It’s my pleasure to present Mr. Oleg Konovalov, an author whose writing I’ve greatly enjoyed. Through his books I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the ins and outs of the world of corporate structure and business anatomy. His latest release, Corporate Superpower: Cultivating A Winning Culture For Your Business is an exceptionally valuable guide to cultural management chock-full of examples and practical recommendations. I appreciate him taking the time to share a little about himself. So, let’s get to it!

Kristy: Please tell us a little about yourself.

Oleg: I am originally from the northern area of Russia, Murmansk, which is above the Arctic Circle and similar to Alaska in terms of climate. For the last twenty years I am living in Birmingham (the UK) but still frequently traveling to Russia to see family and friends and for different business projects.

My work journey is quite colourful, from a deep-sea trawler engine room which is one of the riskiest professions to the top managerial positions. Fishing industry experience is invaluable. You must have an entrepreneurial spirit as no operations are the same, always be on toes facing tough challenges, strong character to face dramatic and unpredictable events, and be prepared to change.

I was operating businesses in the UK and internationally for 25 years and now concentrating on consultancy and speaking. Feeling an irresistible craving for more knowledge went for MBA relatively late and eventually gained a doctoral degree from the Durham University Business School.

Kristy: What inspired you to write Corporate Superpower: Cultivating A Winning Culture For Your Business?



Oleg: Corporate Superpower is the book about people and for people. I learned through my life one important thing – all energy and power resides in people and not in machines or technologies. My aim is to help companies, entrepreneurs, and start-up enthusiasts to create a leap in performance through their people engagement and thus, helping them to build their dreams.

Also, many of us have painful experience working for companies with negative culture, which I call Dark Kingdoms. My book discusses how to turn negative culture into productive force and restore employees’ respect and confidence.

Kristy: The book has already received fantastic reviews and has been described as a bible of culture management for modern leaders. What can smaller businesses and startups take away from this read?

Oleg: Organizational culture reflects the true nature of a company whether it is small firm or large corporation. It doesn’t matter a number of people working for a company, it is a matter how they feel working for it. Culture is not given but something valuable which demands constant tuning and strengthening organization from inside. At the same time, culture defines the boundaries of any company and so, its ability to influence customers and partners. This is so critical for small businesses to cultivate strong culture and gain this important ability to influence customers and partners as a matter of succeeding and survival on a long run.

This book is particularly important for start-ups. They have very short time to prove their viability and must progress to the best of their potentials otherwise fail. Culture is the most critical source of inner energy which must be envisioned and nurtured from a day one of any start-up. If not, such start-up wouldn’t be a team of the same-minded people but a bunch of joyriders which are not worried about project’s future at all. We can say – create a strong company soul, i.e. culture, or die.

Kristy: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Oleg: Writing a book on culture is a tough challenge. This is a mixer of worries, joy, miracle discoveries, taking the wrong route and coming back to start again. In other words, writing book is like living a short life facing all its emotions in a condensed way. At the same, I have grown as a person and as expert writing Corporate Superpower.

Kristy: Who designed your book cover?

Oleg: Thanks to the excellent team of the publisher WildBlue Press who designed the book cover. It appears very soft and appealing to touch. It was not easy to express the meanings of culture in graphics. I offered the idea of hands passing energy from one to another and the designers created the cover which perfectly reflects a nature of culture as a combined energy of many working for an organization.

Kristy: What would you like readers to know?

Oleg: I tend to discuss critical issues using three-dimensional approach, and four-dimensional view where possible. In my view, complexity is a pile of simple things and my job is to lay them out in a simplest for a reader manner. I always aim to analyze and discuss the issues unexplored before and open new horizons and so, opportunities for business development.

There are five critical issues that most readers are not aware and CORPORATE SUPERPOWER offers a detailed discussion of them.

  • Strong corporate culture has five mandatory functions – language, active doing, revitalization, self-detection, and self-regulation.
  • Corporate culture is responsible for value creation by providing organizational metaphysical resources through six main elements – teamwork, professionalism, accountability, innovativeness, trust, and shared vision.
  • Psychologically, there are two cultural types of organizations which define their identity – extroverts who are and introverts. The biggest difference between introverts and extroverts in an organizational context lies in goals, approaches in the development of organizational capabilities, imprinted roles and functions, types of human capital and thus behavior.
  • There is no data on how many companies have negative culture but all people have experience of them. However, we don’t talk about them making things worse. For instance, academic libraries offer almost 450,000 articles relevant to the study of organizational culture, and fewer than 100 of them talk about negative culture.
  • There are seven most critical factors which define cultural climate inside of a company from employee’s perspective – respect, job satisfaction, involvement, loyalty, shared affection and support, preparedness for change, and responsibility.

Kristy: What are you currently working on?

Oleg: I see all organizations as the live bodies with biological properties and functions.  One of my previous books, Organisational Anatomy, discusses the optimum configuration of different types of organizations and allows business to achieve higher performance and recognize problems by treating the organizational diseases. I am working on a next book project which will explore the live nature of organizations further and will offer a detailed and step-by-step guide to building the effective business whether start-up or a mature company. The aim of the new book is to help businesses to achieve a superior performance by using their best inner qualities.

Kristy: What are some things you like to do for fun?

Oleg: There are few things which I am really passionate about – new business ventures, exploring something new, reading, and of course, fishing and fly-tying. I am very keen salmon fly-fisherman. I am always chasing a trophy Atlantic salmon and the biggest one which I caught was 16 kilos. It was an unforgettable fight.

Kristy: If you could choose any destination in the world to spend six months writing, where would you go and why?

Oleg: Writing a book is not spilling own self but finding own and then spilling the purified thoughts on a paper. I prefer fast-flowing river and deep forest to an overcrowded city and must recharge myself going into the wilds from time to time. In my view, nature is a best teacher and healer. I will choose a place somewhere close to a fishing river or lake, mountains, and deep forest, but close enough to a small city if I want to meet with friends or have a cup of coffee talking with new people in a coffee shop.

Kristy: Where can we readers find your books?

Oleg: Corporate Superpower: Cultivating A Winning Culture For Your Business is available in paperback and Kindle and audio will be available within a couple of month. Readers can find it on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, 800-CEO, and in bookshops throughout the USA.





Thanks again for the Q&A, and congratulations on the release of Corporate Superpower: Cultivating A Winning Culture For Your Business. I wish you much success!       





Teacher Appreciation Week 2017

Teacher Appreciation Week 2017 is here! What does that mean? It’s time to give a big shout out to the hard-working educators across the land! During the first week of May, or this year, May 8-12th (Conflicting dates, but you can’t go wrong with either) we celebrate a week of gratitude for the teachers that dedicate their lives educating the children of this world.

We all know that most teachers give so much more than a daily lesson. These sensitive, intelligent, hard-working folks put much of their time and energy into shaping, guiding, and loving our children. For some kids, that one special teacher may be their only source of safety, comfort, attention, guidance, a caring smile, and even a snack to fill their belly. I truly believe that teacher’s are the most special people on the planet. #Angels

As a student, mother, children’s author, and previous public school aide (many moons ago), I’ve had the pleasure of knowing an array of educators throughout the years. I’ll always carry a special place in my heart for the unforgettable people that helped shape who I am today and continue to do so.

My 2017 Teacher Appreciation #ShoutOut goes to Mrs. Jill Cofsky, from Oxford, Massachusetts, who also happens to be a talented voice actor. #HappyTeachersWeek to a positive, creative, exceptional lady, who continues to touch the lives of so many, every single day. Thank you for all that you do!



To learn more about Jill Cofsky, visit: @JillCofskyVoice


Give Your Children The Gift Of Health-


We’ve all been there. You open up your kid’s new toy and whew! It’s like a cackling skull and crossbones just floated above and flicked you in the nose. Yep, I’m referring to that nauseating odor that makes you wince (or gag) when opening a package. That smell is very likely a chemical soup of petrochemicals, PVC’s, phthalates, pesticides, BPA or BPD, lead, dioxins, ethylene glycol, methyl ethyl ketone, and (who knows what else?)

Unknowingly, your child will wear them, put them into their mouth, absorb them through their skin, and breathe it into their lungs. Chemicals so toxic, they cause asthma, cancer, birth defects, nervous system and organ damage, Down Syndrome, hormone disruption, behavioral changes, cognitive decline, and a myriad of other unfortunate, and many times, irreversible things.

Those of us who are chemically sensitive knew this long before the vast amount of information hit the web, validating what we already felt. Despite friends, family, and the occasional doctor throwing strange looks when you mention the swelling and migraines you’ve been battling since purchasing that new carpet or the disorientation you experience from a trip to the car mall, fresh window caulking, perfume, etc. We knew these products were making us sick.

To say that the regulation of chemicals in the U.S. is in need of serious reform is a gross understatement. Thankfully, independent research organizations have made it a priority to fight for our health and reveal the truth.

Now that this information is widely available, it’s your duty to protect your children from this toxicity. As a parent, naturally, you want what’s best for your child, right? They may not be able to completely avoid it out in the world but why put them in harm’s way in their very home? Bedding, toys, clothing, food…you control it, therefore, controlling the chemical load they’re exposed to, giving them the best chance at a healthy mind and body.

So what kinds of crazy chemicals are we talking about? Here are a few to put on your radar.
• PBDE’s Polybrominated diphenyl ethers * DecaBDE

These toxic flame retardants are found in hard plastics, toys, stuffed animals, curtains, mattresses, textiles, electronics, furniture, building materials, and hundreds of other products.

PBDE exposure is associated with thyroid dysfunction, hearing problems, neurological and cognitive disorders, cancer, birth defects, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, (the list is quite long). This stuff is in our children’s toys, mattresses, and couch cushions?
• PVC (Poly vinyl chloride)

PVC is a synthetic plastic polymer considered to be one of the most toxic carcinogens known to humans. Just one vinyl shower curtain can release over 90 volatile chemicals into the air. Yuck!

It’s found in toys, food packaging, flooring, adhesives, rain coats & boots, sports equipment, inflatables, solvents, adhesives, plastic wrap, mattress covers, arts & crafts, and a lot more- since it‘s so cheap. In fact, cost-effective lead is what’s used as the emulsifier. Massively high amounts (up to 95% higher) have been found in imported toys.

The proven health effects of PVC and it’s released dioxins are vicious. Immune system damage, endometriosis, birth defects, cancer, diabetes- stay away from PVC!
• Methyl ethyl ketone

This industrial solvent has been discovered in over 447 products. Boots, shoes, toys, clothing, art supplies, hats, baby bibs, teething rings, gums, resins, rubber and wax products. It’s a known neurotoxin as well as an irritant to mucous membranes, eyes, nose, and lungs.
• BPA & BPS (Bisphenol-S)

This devil of a carcinogen is used in plastics, toys, baby bottles, CD’s-DVD’s, dental sealants, PVC water lines, canned goods, paper money, store receipts, sippy cups, and more. It’s been linked to over 30 adverse health effects. A large amount of advertised BPA-Free products that were tested still contained toxicity.
• Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of toxic chemicals used to soften plastics and increase flexibility. It’s found in soft toys, IV tubing, mini blinds, food packaging, wallpaper, flooring, nail polish, hairspray, perfumes, detergents, soaps, lubricant, aftershave, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and more. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors and can damage the kidneys, liver, and reproductive organs.

Can you believe that over 80% of toys and children’s products sold in the US are manufactured in China and other Asian countries, where they do NOT regulate these deadly chemicals?

So now what? You’ve got to make changes, that’s what. Here are a few places to start. Do your research, educate your family, throw out the worst offenders from your home and car. Do you really need that gold, polka-dotted, vinyl shower curtain? Nope. Replace it with an eco-friendly cotton one or glass doors. Start fresh.

There are a ton of places to buy non-toxic children’s products, food, dishes, makeup, home furnishings and building materials. Stick with the most natural, least chemically treated everything.

When buying food, do your best to choose organic, non-GMO products. Organic is always best if you can swing it. For textiles, cotton, hemp, and bamboo are awesome (they look and feel great). Use natural woods, glass, bamboo, cotton, hemp, beeswax, ceramics, stainless steel, low or no VOC, for as many things as you can. Re-use cloth bags or recycled paper for shopping.
• Whole Foods Market or Food Co-op

You’ll find your organic foods, cookware, supplements, eco-friendly diapers & baby products, personal care, makeup, non-toxic detergents, they even have formaldehyde-free toothpicks!
• Target

They have a huge selection of 100% organic cotton, eco-friendly, non-toxic baby toys, products, bedding, towel sets, and children’s clothing. *Budget friendly.

These sites have an array of doll houses, toy boxes, instruments, games, rattles, teething rings, bed frames, clothing, bedding, and toys- all free of dyes, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals.

If you implement these changes, the next time you open up that toy for little Johnny, you may find that you’re greeted by a tiny sunshine instead of a green, ominously giggling, Mr. Yuck sticker. Best of luck with your new, healthier lifestyle!

Nurturing Your Future Bookworm-Inspiring Kids to Love Reading

Getting children to be enthusiastic about reading can sometimes be a challenge. Compared to the television, with all of its stimulating jingles, colors, and characters, reading may seem quite boring. That’s why the earlier they begin their lifelong love of books, the better. Books with vibrant art, rhyming, and lively characters is a great place to start. Soon they’ll be hungry for new words, worlds, and of course, special time with you.   

*Make sure to read with them daily. Although schedules get hectic, carving out 15 minutes for a story goes a long way.  

* Take turns reading aloud, alternating pages.

*Use funny voices or accents sometimes just for fun.

*Get them a library card and show them how to use it. Spend time there together and allow them to choose subjects of interest. You may also want to participate in some of the activities/programs that your branch has to offer.     

*Bring them to the used bookstore for new reads and encourage them to donate or share books they’ve outgrown.

*Make story time your uninterrupted one on one time together.

*Laugh! Reading should be enjoyable and fun.

*Discuss the story and characters- always encourage questions. Rouse their imagination by asking how they would’ve chosen the story to end or what happens afterward.        

*Have lots of literature at home and available to them. Make it a fun project to build and decorate a bookcase for their bedroom filled with favorite books.

*Prompt them to bring books along for trips, car time, waiting areas, picnics, etc. 

*Teach them to respect books, their pages, and to take good care of them. Allow them to develop a bond with reading in general.  

*Create decorative book markers together for every season for some craft time fun.

*Be an example. If kids see that reading is your norm, it’ll be theirs.

*Most of all, inspire them to make books and reading a part of their everyday life. Read signs, menus, games, flash cards, magazines, comic books, etc. Take them to libraries, bookstores, annual book sales, and flea market tables. Sound things out together, teach alternative meanings, challenge, and praise them often.

“What is another word for mommy?” Bibliophile. Bibliophagist. Logophile. Bibliomaniac. Bookworm. Happy.           

A December Day in Pittsburgh

It’s an already-dark 6:15 PM in Pittsburgh as I sit at my keyboard, distracted by the fat, beautiful snowflakes falling outside my window. Suddenly, I realize just how much I love this city during the holiday season. If the seasonal weather, spectacular lights, sporting events, holiday-themed activities for both adults and children, outdoor skating rinks, music, and traditional downtown window displays doesn’t have you feeling the least bit festive, then you may want to read How the Grinch Stole Christmas. A couple of times.

The ‘Burgh’ has so many wonderful things happening throughout the year but the holiday season is where you’ll undoubtedly fall in city-love. Here are a few activities that are sure to cement amazing memories and lift your spirits high into the snowy, (or rainy) Pittsburgh sky!

Start your season off right with the traditional Light Up Night Celebration.

Light Up Night kicks off the opening of the Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square. Lots of food, music, and fun. {November 18-December 23, 2016.} Receive a complimentary snapshot with Santa if you make a donation to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank.  

Layer up for some ice skating at Mass Mutual Ice Rink. With the holiday tunes playing, snowflakes falling, and nearby art displays in view, the ambiance is amazing.

Cruise on over to the PPG Wintergarden for some hot cocoa and to explore the Spirits of Giving From Around the World exhibition. Kids love the Gingerbread House and Train exhibit. You’ll surely enjoy Carnegie Science Center’s Miniature Railroad & Village as well

Kennywood’s Holiday Lights begins in November and has close to two million gorgeous lights! Sing along with the local choirs, hang out with Santa, ride the Gingerbread Express, or just walk around and have some food.

Pittsburgh’s Cultural District has annual performances of The Nutcracker, A Musical Christmas Carol,  A Christmas Story, & more.  

Need to expend even more energy? Take the family out to screams their heads off at a Steeler or Penguins game. (Ohhh yeah!) 

Trans-Siberian Orchestra World Tour at the arena is something you MUST experience at least once. Fantastic!

Even if you do none of the above activities, there’s something festive going on inside nearly every store, mall, library, or restaurant. There are local storytime events, sales, visits from Santa, giveaways, free concerts and holiday music playing most everywhere. Hopefully when you hear that familiar Salvation Army bell ringing outside the store entrances or along the wreath-lined street corners, it brings out the part of you that loves to give to the less fortunate. 

The holiday season is a great time to count your blessings. Not everyone has access to warm blankets, coats, shoes, a place to live, medical care, or food and there are many programs in the Pittsburgh region in need of donations. Coats, blankets, canned goods, money, toys, & books, are just a few items that you can donate to someone in need.

Pittsburgh has always been a festive, charitable, diverse, resourceful, humble, yet proud city and I’ll always be proud to call this place my home. #HappyHolidaysPittsburgh