Hanna is one-half of the dynamic duo that founded Globalme. Being the COO is her formal title, but all that really means is that she can be anyone the growing business needs. She works on anything from making strategic decisions about team restructuring, recruitment and HR, training, client acquisition, account management, as well as higher-level project management. Being the co-founder also means taking on the things that others don’t want to do; sometimes that even means unloading the dishwasher or taking the trash out. Hanna’s principle belief is that no matter how lofty your title may be, one should always remain humble. Plus, even the smallest jobs are what keep the company running smoothly.
Entrepreneur at Heart
Hanna was born and raised in Poland, though moved to the US in 2001 to study Business Administration at the University of Montana in Missoula. Her interest in business was sparked early in her childhood. At the age of 10, a young Hanna started selling her old clothes and toys at a local bazaar. As she grew up, that entrepreneurial spirit grew with her. She took on various leadership positions throughout her school years, and in university, became President of the International Student Association which had a whopping 400 members. She often muses as to whether her path to entrepreneurship began right then and there.
After graduating, Hanna moved to Portland to work at Nike Headquarters and to start an MBA program at the University of Portland. It was also around that time that Hanna met Emre (the other half of the dynamic duo). Through Emre, she began Polish QA Testing. She eventually grew to train other testers in localization, and worked to place them at local translation and localization companies.
Unfortunately, being an international student in the United States posed limitations on her ability to be compensated for her work. So, after her one year work permit expired, she decided to put all of the free time she had left after school into growing Globalme; using the company as inspiration for any case studies or graduate school assignments. What better way to generate new ideas than by having a bunch of MBA students put their heads together? Growth hacking at its finest!
As the company continued to grow and Hanna’s Master’s program was about to finish, the duo had to make a decision. They could either kill the business and live the “American dream” with high corporate incomes, and large houses in the suburbs. Or, they could give Globalme a chance. That meant leaving the Unites States, and moving to Canada.
Fortunately for all of us at Globalme, they chose option two. It was, Hanna remembers, difficult leaving the life they had made for themselves in Portland. Starting everything from scratch in another foreign country is never easy. But when you ask her now, she will tell you that this was one of the best decisions she has ever made.
For the first two years, Hanna and Emre were freelancers; they traveled around the world, working remotely from coffee shops or anywhere with Wifi. However, as the company continued to grow, they decided Globalme needed a home-base and a helping hand (or two). In 2012, Globalme hired their first employee and committed to an office space in Vancouver, BC.
“There are countless things I have learned on this journey, but there are two that stand out the most to me”, Hanna says. The first being the determination to just roll up your sleeves, and figure things out. “So many people don’t understand that you can’t buy experience. They miss out because they are too afraid, or too comfortable. But, we are made out of our experiences; if you miss out on new opportunities, you’ll remain unchanged as a person throughout the years. You’ll miss out on the chance to grow”. Both she and Emre had never started a company and had never grown a business before. “Every step of the way was – and still is – a learning experience for Emre and I. But, it has been a totally priceless one at that.” Hanna says with a twinkle in her eye.
The second thing Hanna discovered is “this beautiful vision I have for the company”. She wants to foster a company culture where the Globalme team is always given the opportunity to learn, grow, and to work on what they’re really good at and passionate about. She is extremely passionate about cultivating an environment that is friendly, supportive, and that exudes all-around positivity. “Being able to witness the growth of such a talented team is what keeps me energized and excited every day. I aim to keep empowering them, and to keep helping them discover their highest potential”.
Here are two truths and one lie about Hanna – take a guess at what is what, and tweet it at us at @Globalmedotnet!
- One of the sports she likes to do is… kitesurfing!
- She thinks everyone should join Toastmasters at some point in their life
- She has an amazing voice and often sings at company events