Many months ago, I approached Galina Achkasova-Portianoi and asked her to write a piece for the Journal - I had met Galina several times and was struck by her enquiring mind, clear thinking and dedication to her work. She sent the words you see below and I am very grateful to her for patiently waiting for its publication to coincide with an update of our website. Thank you Galina...
"When Amanda approached me about writing a guest blog post, the subject that she suggested seemed a little surprising initially, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised how she 'hit' the nerve, as the subject has been inately on my mind for the last few months.
I grew up in a big family, surrounded by smart, witty and driven men, who valued and appreciated women and confidently beautiful women who were successful in their chosen professional field, yet always dedicated time to me, teaching valuable life lessons, while nurturing my spirit and body. I grew up with a notion that it is possible to combine work and family, as well as host endless dinner parties & have a fulfilling life – it all came down to surrounding yourself with the right support network and nurturing it. As I sat at a dinner table, full of opinionated people, I got to observe grown-up behaviour at close quarters, which equipped me with the innate 'no bullshit' compass, which is serving me particularly well while working in my chosen professional field.
Beauty, as fashion, is full of creatvity and inspiration, but it also magnifies flaws and imprefections of not just human bodies or skin, but human nature as well. Often, with women in particular, you get to see two faces, like Dr Jekyl and Dr Hyde, and while mentoring and sisterhood are still popular buzzwords, when the push comes to shove, women at times fail miserably to genuinely put words into action, unlike men, who seem to be more straight forward in their attitudes.
So to answer Amanda's question about who inspires me, I can name many personal examples, but if I had to sum it up, it would be like this:
- Genuine people, who don't pretend to be perfect or to know everything, but who are always eager to learn more.
- People who compete with themselves and not the others. People who not only dream, but follow their dreams and make them happen, even when the world has got its sceptical mask on.
- People who are generous with sharing their time and knowledge, as well as inspiring others, instead of elevating themselves by standing on top of others. I believe that any business can have a human, and not just a corporate face – the secret to success is to be genuine and unapologetic about who you are & run a business that benefits not just you, but consumers as well, while supporting your team's needs and letting them realise their ambitions & potential.
I am inspired by generosity of spirit and compassion in hard times, when people go far and beyond their call of duty, like the medical team of Brompton Hospital. This generosity of spirit often comes from people like you and I, and not celebrities, who our sociey seems to admire and to mirror. I am inspired by people who don't just say, but actually do and by those who help shape lives of our society, as well keep us safe – teachers, policeman, firefighters, soldiers, doctors and nurses. Most of all, I am inspired by real people with a true core and a generous heart. I try to practise it everyday myself and to pass it on my children, hoping that there are plenty of you who feel the same way. As the formidable Mrs Burstein, founder of Browns Fashion Boutique, recently said in one of her interviews 'relationships have to be genuine and spontaneous"
read more form Galina at http://www.galinka.co.uk/