Olya Ishchukova, Co-Founder of Models In Tech

Olya Ishchukova is a marketing and PR specialist who has worked with a number of startups and is passionate about connecting fashion and technology. Olya is part of FashTech.org and she organizes events in SF and NYC. FashTech is based around a series of talks and informal networking to promote and discuss everything that has to do with mobile, wearable, bloggers and eCommerce technology. She has helped entertainment and technology brands create and shape their reputations including MTV Russia with over 22 million subscribers.
Olya has dual degrees in Public Relations and Linguistics from Ulianovsk University, one of the first Russian Universities in the Pan European Higher Education Bologna Accord. She operates across cultures and languages to engage with target decision-makers and deliver measurable results. Keep reading to learn more about this driven Expat Woman who is most definitely an inspiration to us all!

Olya Ballpark-6705
twitter: @ModelsInTech

TEW: What made you move to the USA?

Olya: I have always wanted to go to California. I guess you can say the “california dream” motivated me to come here. But talking about San Francisco, this city picked me, not vice versa. I had a couple of friends from school who moved here some years before me, so they were a big help in the beginning.

TEW: What prompted you to get into the promotional modeling industry?

Olya: When I first moved to the states I didn’t have any connections, so while doing internships, I started modeling. The promotional modeling industry was a big part of my income since there are tradeshows and conferences every week here in San Francisco.

I didn’t like being treated as a “booth babe” who just stood there and smiled, so I saw an opportunity to utilize promotional models for their knowledge and beauty.


TEW: Tell us about the promotional modeling industry. How does your agency stand out?

Olya: Models In Tech values a model’s education. All of our models have knowledge and experience in marketing, sales, and business-related areas which make them exponentially more effective than just a pretty face.

Each client has special needs and objectives for their events, so we make sure our spokesmodels are familiar with these objectives and goals. Training on a product is mandatory. That’s why we are truly an extension of the sales/marketing team.

We have an extremely diverse clientele. Some of our partners and clients include: FashTech.org, Ferrari, WebCongres, CreoPop, TouchPico, Looksery app, The Needs App, StartUp Socials, Oracle and Dreamforce Conferences, Medical Forum, Aesthetic Meeting, Law Online Incorporator Company, and many more.

As you see, our clients are from very different areas.


TEW: What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur? Your least favorite?

Olya: I just like creating my own business, trying new things in marketing, sales, and PR. I like being my own boss. My least favorite things are the risk and lack of sleep. But if you don’t take risks, you don’t drink champagne.

TEW: If an expat woman has a great business idea, what are the three most important steps she needs to take to launch her business?

Olya: Be excited about your business, be determined, and be focused. Do a lot of research before you open your business, make sure you stand out, and have a solid business plan.

TEW: What advice would you give to professional expat women trying to start their own business in the US?

Olya: You need to have some financial security to fully go into your business and have a good adviser or lawyer on board. Networking opens a lot of doors for new businesses. I would say go out there and meet as many people as you can in the industry you are targeting.

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TEW: What is a typical day like for you?

Olya: I start my days by getting Blue Bottle Coffee from the cafe downstairs. I’m lucky to have this good coffee every morning. On a typical day I go to the office, have calls, meetings, lunches, and happy hours or networking events in the evening. If I have a quiet evening without any events I go to the gym or workout at home.

My weekends aren’t too exciting because I have a lot of work, but I always try to find a healthy balance and take a couple hours off to recharge. You can’t be a robot, if something I’m working on frustrates me, I just leave it for a while and come back with a good mood after I’m rested.

TEW: What three things do you like about the USA?

Olya: I like the spirit of “go get it” and how people motivate each other. Everything is possible, so “Just do it!”

TEW: What three things have you found most different in the US from your home country that have been difficult to adjust to?

Olya: There were big changes since I moved from Russia, so it took time to learn about the culture, laws, behavior, businesses, and taxes. Being raised in a different country with different rules made it challenging and time consuming to adjust to in the beginning. I’m still learning something new everyday.


TEW: What are three fun or interesting facts about your home country?

Olya: Russian people are very straightforward and open. If they like you, you will be invited to their family. They will share their home and food with you. But, if they don’t like you, you will be the first one to know.

Russians are also very superstitious – we do believe in little things and signs. Russian girls are big fashionistas. They won’t even go for a quick run to the store without makeup and an ironed dress. We love high heels too!

TEW: What is your favorite quote?

Olya: “If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney


Written by:  Olya Ishchukova and Martina Trejo
Photographs courtesy Models in Tech

Nyna is the Founder and CEO of The Expat Woman, a global platform focused on connecting, supporting and empowering women who have moved abroad or plan to relocate. She is also a LinkedIn coach, consultant, trainer and speaker. LinkedIn played a huge role in my professional journey abroad, helping me build a network of powerful expat women and allies.

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