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Irina Pavlova Q&A: Sports, Spirit and SPAM (2 of 3)

June 28, 2010

Irina Pavlova

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.Irina Pavlova recently sat down with to discuss her position, her background and what its like working with new owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Part II of our transcript follows.

Getting to Google Whyd you go to Russia for university and then come to the US for your MBA?

Pavlova: Pure opportunity. My first job out of college and I was a Spanish major, so I come from a completely different world was with Prudential, in Newark, so its funny that Im circling back, almost to my roots. I was part of their analyst training program, and after doing that for three years, I realized the gaps in my education that Id need to fill. Business school was the most logical step and thats how I ended up at Stanford. Whered you go from there?

Pavlova: I was in finance for most of my professional career. I worked a little bit at Merrill Lynch, and then for a family-owned company in San Francisco, doing equity analysis and money management. And that preceded you becoming the first employee of Google in Russia.

Pavlova: Correct. How did that opportunity come about?

Pavlova: Again pure chance and luck, being in the right place at the right time. I was moving from San Francisco to Russia without a job; I decided that once I was there, Id look on the ground. I got introduced to a gentleman at Google that was setting up an emerging markets practice, out of London. We met for coffee. At first, they didnt think they were going to go into Russia. Then they decided to do it, and I just happened to be there at the right place at the right time, and that was it. What was it like working for Americans in Russia?

Pavlova: Funny you should ask. It was tough. The communication challenges that I know arise from foreign companies dealing with Russians? Thats where I bring my experience from. Americans just do business in a different way, and I think its important for the two sides to trust each other. Working at Google sometimes was challenging, because the Americans dont always trust Russians to do the right thing. What did you do to engender that trust?

Pavlova: I think just by being here, being open and letting our partners see that were not the Boogeyman, were not the Mafia; were normal people, doing business just like anyone else here. I think that removes a lot of the stereotypes, and just dealing with people face-to-face really makes them trust you more and makes you trust them. It works both ways. Having worked for such a major digital player, how do you view the role of digital properties in sports and sports marketing?

Pavlova: I think its huge. I think its huge and growing. Im a friend of Nets Basketball on Facebook, and Im very happy to see how thats going and how much support were getting from all our fans. And I think its going to continue to evolve, both as a means of communication, getting our message out there, and also to get feedback from the fans, in terms of how they feel about what were doing.

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