Irina Pavlova Q&A: Sports, Spirit and SPAM (1 of 3)

Overtime - Nets News

June 28, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—Irina Pavlova made this interview easy. So easy that she smoothly flipped the script at its conclusion, quizzing the questioner on his own role within the Nets organization.

That ability to facilitate two-way communication will serve her well in a new job as President of Onexim Sports and Entertainment. She laughed quickly (joking that every time someone has mentioned the Brooklyn Arena (“uh-REEN-uh,” she’s turned her head at hearing her name ”EE-reen-uh“), and also revealed a broad understanding of the issues she’ll be dealing with while coordinating the team’s employees in New Jersey, Moscow and Brooklyn.

She sat down with to discuss her position, her background and what it’s like working with new owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Our transcript follows.

Irina Pavlova

Revealing the Role You’ve joined the franchise as President of Onexim Sports and Entertainment. What’s that job going to entail?

Irina Pavlova: My role is to bridge the gap between the management here in the States and the Moscow office. The way I see it is: I’m here to facilitate everything that needs to get done to get us a championship team. I think, at times, it involves translating some cultural communication differences; other times it’s just gathering information and transferring it the right way. Basically, I’m a conduit for information flow – that’s my main goal, to make sure everything runs smoothly. How’s it going so far?

So far, so good. Very busy, but I’ve had a lot of help and I’m very grateful for this opportunity. I definitely feel part of the team, which feels great. Your background isn’t sports heavy – what attracted you to basketball?

Pavlova: I think basketball is a very easy sport to get into: I love the energy, I love watching the guys play; the few games I’ve been to, I’ve really enjoyed. To be honest, I’ve been telling everyone that if I was presented with the same opportunity for baseball I think I’d find it a little more difficult to get into. [Laughs.] I’ve really been enjoying it. It’s a new experience for me, but one I’m embracing fully.

It also allows me to put my business background to good use. I’m very involved in all the strategic and financial decisions and I’m excited to see the results of my work translate into a better team and a more fun experience for our fans. What are some of the cultural differences you anticipate dealing with?

I think the most difficult stuff is that the Russian business environment is a little less structured than the American (one), and I think that’s something I can help out with because I’ve worked for both Russian and US companies. I understand how it works. I think most of the problems that usually do arise for foreign companies working abroad involve communication. Just knowing how Russians think and do business and how Americans perceive it, I think I can be helpful in that.

Most of it is pretty basic. But they say, ‘The Devil is in the details,’ and I think some things just get lost in translation. So I need to make sure we have communication flow. What should someone know about how you’ll approach this job if they’ve got no familiarity with your background?

Pavlova: I think the main thing is I’m not here to meddle. The team has great management, and I’m not here to tell them how to do things. I’m here to make their jobs easier, to facilitate any support they feel they need and to make sure everyone is in the loop regarding any concerns or issues that come up. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m replacing anyone – I’m definitely not. I am just here as an addition.

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