Natasha Grinstrit is a sales manager with the UK and global insurance team. She’s based in London but was born in Soviet-era Moscow where her parents steered her towards studying economics. She took a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the Moscow Academy of Management followed by a Masters’ in international economics with German. While studying she interned with a number of German companies including Daimler Benz, working on a joint venture with Chrysler Jeep.
After completing her studies early in the new millennium she joined Qatar Airways where she specialised in market and pricing analysis. While working there she answered an ad for a business analyst at a recruitment firm. The move took her into HR but also honed her sales skills as the job required her to cold call potential clients.
Having taken a career break following the birth of her daughter Natasha moved to the UK and took on part time roles including as an office manager/in-house recruiter for a technology firm. A succession of roles with different technology businesses followed before she was approached by IBM. It was at a time when Natasha was busily researching new fields of technology especially blockchain and AI. “I was thinking ‘wow, this is one of the companies that actually invested a lot of money in AI technologies like Watson’. I thought if I joined them, I could learn a lot about technologies that I was really interested in. And I have.”
IBM provided Natasha with the perfect opportunity to learn about a wide variety of tech-related subjects. Then she got headhunted to be head of people at a short-lived blockchain start-up and when the company hit problems and stopped recruiting her role became redundant.
It was at this point, in late 2019, that she joined AntWorks and immediately felt at home. “The team was amazing. The people were great,” says Natasha, “I’d never paid much attention how important culture is, but, at some point, if you feel the culture is not for you, then you start realising that it is more important than anything else. You can be paid a lot of money, you can have a high salary and benefits, but if you don’t enjoy the culture, then nothing else much compensates.”
Natasha joined to help with recruitment but not long after the pandemic struck. Like many companies AntWorks stopped recruiting and instead started planning how it would weather a period of economic uncertainty. Natasha realised she had to start looking for another role that would “survive” the pandemic..
Having led sessions on sales enablement designed to ensure products were represented to customers accurately, and having also helped the operations team, Natasha looked for a role in business development and sales. Under the mentorship of AntWorks’ head of UK sales and global insurance, Neil White, she’s been playing a key role in generating and managing clients.
“I am really thankful for the opportunity,” says Natasha. “They trusted me to run with my own clients. without having any previous track record, which is a big deal. I represent the company on the market and the company’s reputation is at stake. So there’s been a lot of trust.”
Natasha wouldn’t hesitate to recommend AntWorks as a place to people looking to build their careers and try new things. “I think the coolest thing for me is about AntWorks is that we sell technology that is truly in demand.”
“So, if you’re someone who wants to make an impact, someone entrepreneurial who is ready to do different jobs, if you love technology, I think this is the right company with the right technology to work for, because it really solves business problems.”
Natasha balances work with bringing up her daughter, looking after their dog, hanging out with friends and finding time to keep fit – she runs and practices yoga. “It’s a bit like project management,” she says, only half joking. “I’m quite a structured person so I intuitively create an environment where I have a degree of control.”