A Tribute to my best friend - my wife Natalya
A week back on #InternationalWomenDay, I decided it is time to write a tribute to the person that matters most in my life. My best friend, my partner in crime - my wife Natalya.
It's time for me to say a massive thank you to Natalya Walker. Natalya is my wife, my best friend and she pushed both of us to found and create our boat sharing company Boataffair. We are having the most amazing journey together. On and off the yachts. Natalya is strong when I am not. She challenges me when I go off-piste. She is my proverbial anchor. I should be so lucky to be on this startup rollercoaster, indeed the rollercoaster that is life, with her. We are fortunate enough to be able to work together in our startup. So what is our story and what is it I value so immensly?
We did our MBA together at Imperial College London. We shared the reasons for doing an MBA, the similar backgrounds (corporate and successful careers, yet we wanted something different) and the shared values. These were the key things that brought us together. Looking back this makes sense: you finally find a person who truly understands what you want to change and why in your professional life. With your colleagues, friends and even partners that’s not always the case. When you quit your job and go for a full-time MBA forgoing income but looking excitedly to the future, some people may not get you. That happened to both of us a lot. People in your circle may admire your courage but they may never truly get it (unless they went through that experience themselves). Then you meet a person that gets it and best part yet – shares exactly the same values and passions as you do.
We ended up being in few working groups together over the course, but not all. We did, however, study a lot together, brainstormed case studies we discussed in class and prepared for exams. Challenging each other was always fun and since we had different backgrounds (Natalya in Project Management and Business Development and Adrian in Finance and Consulting) – it was really fascinating to see how the other one thinks or looks at the problem. When you are doing an MBA with all its intensity that nobody can really prepare you for (our Programme Director during induction week did tell us – prepare as from next week you will feel like as if the information is coming at you as from the fire hydrant) – many people on the outside would not understand. So, having a person going through all that with you and for the same reasons and being on the same intellectual level is a very beautiful and bonding experience.
It got better. After a few years we moved to Switzerland and started our own company! The shared desire and passion to go into our entrepreneurial journey played a big role in forming a deep bond. However, it took us a little while to “give birth” to an idea and subsequently our startup (boutique boat and experience sharing platform). It took this long because we both agreed (even during very early discussions during our course), that we only wanted to pursue an idea that we had a true passion for. Funnily enough, we have discovered we both were passionate boaters only after the MBA when we went on a holiday together. Me on a motorboat since 18 and Nataliya sailed since 15. The stars were aligned:)
When we don't work (YES; we still do have a bit of free time!!) we love to laugh together, go for walks, enjoy the mountains in Switzerland and we love to spend every free minute we can with our son who turns 6 very soon! When I can't are simply not able to, Natalya looks after the family and she is so strong for all of us. I know that this is a one in a million find - and I know & cherish it!
So, here is to an amazing female leader, the journey that matters and my best friend. My love.