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

Overtime - Nets News
Overtime - Nets News

June 28, 2010

Irina Pavlova

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

Meeting Mikhail What about the new owner – when did you first meet Mr. Prokhorov?

Pavlova: I met him in the fall last year, when this deal started developing. What are your impressions of him?

Pavlova: I’m not going to say anything, I think, that you haven’t heard before. I think he’s an extremely smart guy, and I’m so thrilled to be working for him, because it’s nice to work for someone that you’re proud of, and I think everyone that works for him has that feeling.

I also think that he’s humble: he knows that apart from being smart and successful in business, you also have to be lucky; he’s conveyed that a few times, that he knows that’s a factor in his success as well. I enjoy it.

He’s a guy who’s focused on winning – he’s very competitive. He’s fun. He’s definitely of the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality, so I think he’s a fun boss to have. So you envision those qualities rolling over into success with the Nets?

Pavlova: Absolutely. I think his drive, his enthusiasm, his passion for the game and I love it that he laid out a five-year plan … and we’re going to follow it! Even without e-mail? Ha.

Pavlova: [Laughs] It’s definitely counter-intuitive, but what he says about ‘too much information’ actually makes a lot of sense. I just look at my day, and how much time is wasted just filtering through all the stuff that we’re exposed to [gestures with BlackBerry], and sometimes you wish there was a little less of it coming at you from all directions. So I actually admire that about him. You mentioned the bringing the concept of ‘corporate evangelism’ to the Nets. How would you explain the term and its application here?

Pavlova: For each company, it’s probably a little bit different. We want all the members of our team to feel the same sense of enthusiasm for what we’re doing. That’s how you make the whole more than the sum of its parts.

I think what defines us right now is that we’re fun, we’re exciting, we’re here to win and we’re here to shake things up and make it interesting. You can sense that enthusiasm throughout the organization. And corporate evangelism is projecting that energy and that drive to the outside world – to our partners and our fans – making them believe in our potential and help us realize it. Apart from your work experience, what else should we know about Irina Pavlova?

Pavlova: I think it’s important to know that I came from a background that very few people that grew up in the US could even imagine. Russia was a completely different place a mere 15-20 years ago. To give you an idea, when my parents lived abroad, we would bring SPAM as gifts for their friends, because it was considered a good gift back in those days.

It’s just amazing to see how much Russia and Moscow, in particular, have changed. I’m very glad that I have that background, because it makes you appreciate the things we have now a little more. And also I brought my friendships and my relationships back from the days when it wasn’t easy living in Russia, so I think I’m probably shaped a little different from people of my generation who grew up in the West. Was there a specific point you realized growing up in Soviet Russia was different than it was in the West?

Pavlova: I think when I moved to the States, just (from) talking to my peers. You realize the things you talk about and the experiences growing up are completely different. How did that manifest?

Pavlova: Just in your ability to travel, for instance. When I was growing up, it was reserved for the few privileged people, and you couldn’t just get out. Now, Russians, you see them everywhere you go, because Russians want to see the world, they want to feel it. I think that’s from being closed off for such a long time – now we have this burst of travel activity. And on a personal level, travel is definitely one of my passions.

I also enjoy enjoy playing tennis, and I’m a very social person, so I like to cultivate my friendships. Does that give you enough to work with? Sure does. Thanks for taking the time.

Pavlova: You’re welcome.

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