Teaming up Leaders

The leaders’ week held in Moscow at the end of September brought together the company managers, experts, the first two groups of the Strategic Management Reserve training program, and the candidates to the 3rdgroup. The participants spent three days discussing leadership and succession, listening to digitalization experts and to the Reserve candidates presenting their project initiatives.       

It is to be recalled that Strategic Management Reserve (SMR) training is the task set by the company president. The training is conducted by the Corporate University within the strategic project “100 new generation leaders to implement the strategy” and is based on professional schools, knowledge management system and mentorship.

Innovations: A step forward to automation, accuracy, and speed!

A.I. Isaykin mentioned that values are an effective tool for building successful long-term relationships with the customers.

The week was opened by the innovative session – presentations on leadership, strategy, new trends, and digital projects. Click the link in the article to access the video of all presentations (available for the company employees and within the corporate network).

The company president Alexey Isaykin in his inspiring speech laid emphasis on values as an efficient tool for building long-term and successful relationship with the customer.     

Then the Research director of Skolkovo management school Vladimir Preobrazhensky took the floor. He spoke about global innovative trends of the present and the future, focused on VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) and shared his experience on how to manage changes.

Alexey Strelnikov, BITFURY expert, SAP ex-consultant in aviation field spoke about digital ecosystems based on blockchain technology. He compared blockchain with a book, saying that just as it’s impossible to tear a page out of the book for others not to notice it, so it’s impossible to change the text as it’s available for other people. The speaker shared his opinion on how to apply blockchain in Volga-Dnepr Group.

Roman Dushkin, the artificial intelligence system architect continued the innovative session. Digital intelligence, it’s role and applicability in different life spheres allowed nobody stay indifferent. Now Roman conducts Teleschool classes and chatbot calendar.

Oleg Venichenko spoke about digital traceability of goods and services

Oleg Venichenko, the lead expert of The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration told the participants about digital traceability of products and services at all stages of manufacturing, processing, distribution, transportation and sales.

Tatiana Arslanova, the Group vice president on strategic management, Alexey Kukanov, the Group IT director, Denis Maximovich, the head of Innovative Development Department, ABC, presented the mainstreams of Volga-Dnepr digital transformation.

Everyone remembered the performances of external speakers (from left to right): Vladimir Preobrazhensky from the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management, Alexey Strelnikov from BITFURY, Roman Dushkin, system architect and developer.


The Future Leaders program participants shared their experience on projects implementation. Among them Fedor Novikov, member of the SMR program first group, Pharma Transportation director, ABC, Lubov Kamalova, member of the SMR program second group, deputy director on economy, ABC, and Elena Kareva, head of the fleet guarantee service department, ABC.

– Participation in the Future leaders program really helped much, – said Fedor Novikov to the candidates to the SMR program third group. – We had very professional lectors, especially from GE. There’s a lot to put into practice. Another important thing – we all had different background and positions in the company. Knowledge sharing, networking contributed really much to our growth and development. It was beneficial time. I’m sure you’ll make the most of this event!

Fedor Novikov shared his experience and lessons learned in the implementation of the Pharma project

The session was crowned with the presentation of Anatoly Ermolin, a politician, expert, head of innovative educational projects. In layman’s terms he spoke about project management, gave recommendations on how to find and “activate” leaders.

At the end of the session the Group managers greeted the 57 SMR program participants from Russia, China, the USA, Germany, Great Britain, UAE.

Sergey Shklyanik, the Group senior vice president:

– Your energy and willingness to communicate your ideas become noticeable. But you need to remember that with any project it’s very important to meet the deadlines and customer’s expectations, and to stay within the budget. You need to know the customer’s needs, to always stay tuned.  

Tatiana Arslanova, the Group vice president on strategic management, VDM managing director:

– I wish you kept your state of mind as long as possible, so that it wouldn’t be just “toy” ideas,  but something to be really implemented in the company.     

Dmitry Obsharov, General director, ATRAN:

– It’s not about the process. In the end, it’s the result that matters. So, I wish you to timely achieve the results! 

Alexey Kukanov, the Group IT director:

– Hopefully, the third “flow” will be more powerful than the first two! You are idea drivers; you must be willing to achieve tangible results.

”Management Court”

The second day was devoted to project initiatives the SMR program third group candidates were presenting to the Group experts, who assessed their knowledge of management functions, their leadership potential, and management competences.

The final day of the leaders’ week was especially exciting for all SMR program candidates. They were defending their initiatives in front of the Group top managers, showing how their projects can benefit the company and the customers, contribute to the strategy implementation.

The project initiatives defense is still in process. On completion the Management Committee of the project “100 Leaders” will make decision on the candidates to be enrolled in the SMR program third group for training and projects implementation.

Good luck to all the candidates!

This is what the reservists of the SMR program first and second groups shared:

Anastasia Lokteva, Deputy head of digital customer service, ABC:

– We’ve learned a lot of new interesting things, some of them beyond the ordinary perception. Artificial intelligence, global digitalization – things which seemed impossible for our parents, are quite real for us. The SMR program candidates’ background is impressive. It’s evident that there’s been a lot of work done both on the part of the candidates and the Corporate University. Hopefully, the most interesting projects will be implemented very soon!

Vladimir Ostroumov, Head of corporate accounting department, VDM:

– Training was approached differently this time. Candidates to the SMR program third group had to defend their project initiatives at the very beginning of the program, which was to some extent challenging. Nevertheless, some ideas were really practical, what I think was stipulated by the corporate-specific elements, which was very important. Particularly, I enjoyed the presentations of Oksana Gorbunova and Alexander Rodionov. 

This is what the candidates to the SMR program third group shared

Alexander Medkov, Head of banking products and insurance documentation group, VDA:

 It wasn’t easy, but it was both interesting and useful! We got communication experience with the Group top managers, gained new knowledge on IT. We managed to expand our knowledge about the company in general. It was useful to learn the reason for “headache” other businesses and departments were suffering from. I’m sure that participation in this program will let me grow as a leader to be able to generate more value for the company and its customers.

Vladimir Grechkin, Head of procurement department, VDTM:

– The first session day impressed me most. There was a lot of interesting and mainstream information. It’s great that the company devotes a lot of time to innovations, which will contribute to further development in the fast-changing world. Communication with top managers really helped to expand the horizons, so that we could see the company perspectives and feel energized to generate more value for the company and its customers. It was interesting to listen to colleagues defending their projects – a lot of valuable ideas united with one concept – the company needs integrated information system for different businesses. Time deficiency requires faster information processing for decision making at any level. I wish all the participants to bring to life their project ideas.

Michael Sanin, technical service planner, AMTES:

Things to emphasize:

  • Networking with colleagues from the Group different business units;
  • Thorough understanding of the company strategy, objectives, mission as they were presented by the top managers;
  • Clarifying questions and challenges the company is facing now, which require new business initiatives;
  • Entertaining and useful presentations of the invited speakers who shared their huge experience and new approaches to business management and control;

Presentation on the artificial intelligence. To my mind, it’s really worth learning, keep abreast of new developments, be ready to global changes in all life spheres.

Anatoly Zagordan, Head of aircraft structure and resource department, VDA:

– The most memorable moments: the president’s strategic speech – important, holistic, insightful; also Roman Dushkin’s presentation on innovations – timely, progressive, high-tech; A.Ermolin’s presentation – captivating, manlike, “cherry on top”.

Ivan Goryunov, senior legal advisor, VDM:

– The leaders’ week like all preceding stages was very intensive and interesting in terms of information recency and relevance. I’m thankful to the Corporate University for the chance to participate in the program!

Surprisingly we realized that despite diversity and variety of presented initiatives we shared a common goal. Personally, I appreciate the knowledge applicability for realization of current objectives and new ideas. 

The Future Leaders program is both an opportunity to grow with the company and a unique chance to gain, accumulate and share knowledge. Variety of experts’ experience, diversity of the tasks we performed, feedback received from colleagues and managers – in aggregate it is all very important for forming and practicing management competences.

Denis Sagitov, Specialist on economics, AMTES:

– The first thing to mention is the event format – when there’s a common venue for live communication, it is more productive than virtual communication. A lot of new acquaintances. Live meetings with colleagues I often work with by phone or computer. It’s absolutely different! Such events make business units interaction more practical and trustworthy.

The first session day was marked with important knowledge. I would split this information into internal and external. External information came from external speakers who told us about the world’s problems and trends, and ways to deal with them. We as managers will have to be able to move beyond the routines and to learn to think strategically. 

Internal information was related to the company. It is very important when the company values, strategy and other essential knowledge is communicated to every employee.  The company won’t have future if there’s no common understanding of its development strategy. That’s exactly what we are here for. As a representative of foreign company I can say that when in Russia the company is overflown with a new “knowledge wave”, we got just a couple of “drops”. Speaking common language, understanding each other is really important for the Group efficient operation.         

The second session day we were assessed on the SMR program entry criteria. We were defending our initiatives, so everyone could prove him/herself.

On the third day the top 20 initiatives were presented to the company top managers. This is a good format, a great chance to communicate your idea to the company top executives. Its’ worth a lot.    

In general, I personally got huge experience and a lot of positive emotions. I also would like to mention those who organized and conducted the event at a high level.

Artem Surkov, Head of employment law department, VDM:

– I would like to mention positive and productive communication with the colleagues from the SMR program first two groups, with experts who assessed our initiatives. Every comment they made was crucial for us to polish our presentations for the company top managers.       

It’s great that our foreign colleagues have also become candidates to the program third group. I think it’s worth practicing disregarding the projects realized.

Vassily Zhukov, Director of oversize cargo transportation, ABC:

– I gained positive experience during this week. I would like to mention the innovative session and R. Dushkin’s presentation on artificial intelligence, his personal experience in AI application for Moscow’s transportation network optimization. Anatoly Ermolin’s illustrations of management resolutions in extreme situation are also remarkable.   

A.Isaykin and T.Arslanova’s presentations were informative and insightful. They were speaking about the 2052 strategy and the company transformation which depends on our ability to identify, evaluate and apply available innovative solutions.  

 Assessment session was entertaining – in a fair competition with the colleagues from across the world. I must admit that was challenging to compete with so many perspective ideas. Obviously, concentration in the same place at the same time of so many bright minds from the SMR program first and second groups and candidates to the third group allows viewing any problem from different perspectives, formulate new approaches and find new solutions.

William Lian, Deputy Customer Service Manager, ABC, Beijing:

– It is my great honor to attend the assessment session for group 3. During the meeting, I learnt more ideas from the experts about the most advanced technologies all over the world, such as big data, block chain, AI system. We also learnt more from other colleagues through their idea in initiative projects.

Our core value is labor. We serve clients through our work. I am very exited that our company always focuses our business on satisfying customers, always shows its respect to talents, always focuses our business in China. I will keep learning to better serve our customers and generate  value through my work.

Frank Theisinger, Sales Director Global – Heavy and Outsized Cargo, AFL:

– It was indeed nice to see the young generation of potential leaders and the ideas and thoughts on how they see the future of the company and partially of the industry. Also the presentations from people outside the company or how they see our company helps to streamline and rethink your own ideas and how you see the world.

For me one of the most interesting parts was to talk to complete unknown people from technics / amtes / development etc. – it is crucial to understand their concerns / ideas (headaches). The brainstorming session is something that the company should also more include into their daily decision making process – since these are the most fruitful discussions.

Kendy Choi, Sales lead specialist, ABC Subsidiary, Belgium:

– On the first day, during the speaker sessions, we learned that digitalization is key, that we are moving towards the need of automatization, accuracy and speed. The hardest part is not the digitalization itself, but the ‘how to transform and achieve this digitalization’, without making things complicated – again. During the Group sessions, the experts from the previous SMRs were sharing their experience on how we could improve our presentations. For me – this was already a good indication of how the sessions to come will be, as we will be guided and mentored to become a better version of ourselves. It also made me realize that to get a good result it is imperative to put the right people together. Cultivating the next generation, developing consistent talent and successors is necessary for sustainable growth. Being asked to propose project initiatives is a very clear example that the Company has an open door policy and acknowledges and welcomes fresh and new innovating ideas from anyone who is willing to contribute to the success of the Company.

I am very much looking forward to the Training Program and motivated to grow together with my peers!

Ekaterina Furenkova: Lead ethics specialist, VDM:

– I would like to thank the Corporate University and all the experts for organization of this major event. The session was really intensive. The first day information presented by the experts seemed like a faraway future. But the next two days when we were listening to the candidates presenting their initiatives it became clear that such company, processes and people transformation was quite possible and real. It was nice to see so many young, ambitious and passionate colleagues. There was a beautiful moment at the end of the event when the Group president asked a question: ”Who wants to see the results of the strategy implementation in 2052?”. Everybody raised hands. Such events inspire, motivate, energize for further training and development.

Nadine Seidelmann, Customer Service Manager, Germany, ABC Subsidiary, Frankfurt am Main:

– It is an honor to participate in the session. To get the chance to hear and understand the thoughts and background ideas from Top Management is great. It was very good experience to present our projects and receive a direct feedback from the experts. This is very helpful for the future and of course in daily work.