Alona Lebedieva, the owner of the industrial and investment holding “Aurum Group”

The greatest ambition

By my nature, I am a perfectionist, so I constantly try to develop and improve. It is interesting; it stimulates and gives me strength. In the long run, such a constant movement is probably my organic need, and therefore I do not separate personal development from developing my own business. These are parallel, complementary processes.

The core of the diversified holding “Aurum Group” is heavy railway machinery enterprises that provide a full range of works for customers in this segment, from design to operation. In particular, our plants produce freight mainline cars, for example, common types of cars – gondola cars and grain carriers. Also, enterprises build pellet cars, dumpcars, platforms; carry out overhaul, depot and current repairs of cars, produce nodes, spare parts and brake equipment for them.

We as well as all the manufacturers of the country, are going through difficult times, but thanks to a positively disposed team and the desire to develop, we are constantly looking for new niches, improving processes, modernizing production facilities, and developing related areas. For example, last year a car repair shed was opened, using the facilities of the car-building “Diesel plant”, soon we plan to establish a wheel-roller shop, in the meantime, we are discussing the production of new models of freight cars.

In addition to engineering, we are actively developing agricultural enterprises focused on crop production. More than 12 thousand hectares of land under the management of the group have been allotted for grain crops, in particular wheat, oilseeds, slightly smaller areas – for barley and some niche crops. Using innovative technologies in agribusiness, we systematically modernize production and update the agricultural machinery fleet, actively expand the land bank, applying a modern approach to a balanced system of farming aimed at soil conservation.

Responsibility, persistence and toughness

Unfortunately, now in our country, any investor cannot feel protected, the courts neither worked nor work. It is exactly because of the lack of independent justice in Ukraine that industrial espionage, raiding, and many other ways of hostile take-overs are flourishing. And all this against the background of the unstable political and economic situation in the country, the lack of any program for the development of national industry, apparent neglection of the authority of the requirements of domestic manufacturers and, finally, military operations in Donbas.

Under such conditions, I simply have no right to make a mistake. I fully realize that I am responsible for the people who work in the group’s enterprises, and their families. Therefore, under any circumstances, I always try to find a solution that would help to save jobs and production, perhaps not in full, with certain limitations, but to save.

I am very demanding both to myself and to others, and it does not matter who in front of me is an employee or a member of my family. Therefore, humanity is a very important characteristic for anyone, but it is necessary to distinguish between work and life. Indeed, professionalism is the

basic requirement of an employee. If the professional level of a colleague does not meet the challenges that are constantly changing, if a person is not a fan of the business and does not develop, we should split in a professional sense.

Most of all I value honesty and decency in people, and if I feel doubts about whether I can trust or not, we say goodbye.

When you work a lot, invest your experience, time, resource into a certain idea, not only you, but also every member of the team must appreciate and understand the common efforts. To achieve the high quality of the final product or a certain service is a great piece of work and heavy responsibility. That was namely to years of employment in the industry which taught me to be responsible, persistent and tough. This industry has truly tempered my character.

Personal taboos

I don’t have such taboos. I appreciate sincerity and openness, therefore I do not perceive falsehoods, I immediately feel when somebody is trying to deceive me. I do not like to borrow money to friends. Unfortunately, life shows that after this, in most cases, friendship ceases to exist.

Money is not only a responsibility

In general, I am not a gambler. When deciding to invest in a new project, I primarily prefer a detailed analysis. However, in our portfolio, there are also new, more risky venture projects. Usually, their share is small – approximately 5-10%.

I greatly respect people who, despite their status, managed to remain primarily people. Being a human and being able to empathize for me is the most important thing.

Charity

Once I got with a child to a state hospital. The state of that hospital just overwhelmed me. There was an impression that I was in another dimension, so much that the old shabby children’s wards contrasted with the modern interiors that we are used to in everyday life. I am very grateful to the doctors and nurses, owing to the enthusiasm of which the medicine still exists in our country. Only thanks to their professionalism and concern, children’s hospitals in Ukraine are still functioning.

This annoying event in my personal life became an impetus. This is exactly the case when money is about the opportunity. The opportunity to help. Three years have already passed since I founded a charity fund dedicated to the restoration and modernization of the material and technical facilities of children’s hospitals. We do a complete repair of children’s wards, equip hygiene rooms for mothers and children who are under inpatient treatment, buy new furniture and appliances. In Kyiv, we have already helped three hospitals create truly comfortable conditions for children’s inpatient treatment.

One day before Christmas, looking through the news, I saw a post on Facebook, which I remember even now: “Someone lacks money for a new iPhone to be happy, and someone needs this money to live.” It struck me so much that I immediately decided to help. Thus, we began to cooperate with the charity fund “Mom and Baby”, which undertakes a lofty mission – deals with newborns.

It is very important to provide the baby with prompt full medical care during the first 24 hours of his life. Unfortunately, in many families, there are no funds for the necessary medicines or, say, a shunt system, which must be urgently installed to provide the child with the opportunity to live fully.

When I later receive photos of smiling, happy, and, what’s the main, healthy children, I am incredibly happy that I was able to help.

In general, we support many different childcare centres in the regions where our enterprises operate: these are kindergartens, schools, medical outpatient clinics, sports teams and creativity centres. A lot has been done, however, being a realist, I understand well that there is still more to be done.

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