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Meet the team - Jelena Shpolanska

Meet the People Behind PayPugs – Jelena Shpolanska

First of all, let’s start with something serious: Are you a coffee or tea person?

I enjoy both. However, in recent times I have decided to quit caffeine, and even if I drink coffee, it always has to be decaf. Speaking about teas, I prefer only herbal, so that there is no caffeine in them. 

Tell me briefly about what you are doing at PayPugs?

I joined PayPugs around a year ago, and my path here started as a Head of support. It was a journey of building a CRM system and communication strategies with clients from scratch. Throughout the ideation process, we introduced the Onboarding team, as well as AML/KYC part for efficient client enrollment. Over time, when the Startup continued to grow and expand, I participated in processes that were not just part of the support but also related to other departments. For example, the questions associated with data storage, usage of tools in daily communication, and other specifics. Within all related topics covered, I continued my path at PayPugs as a Chief Management Officer (CMO), thus, being responsible for keeping all the processes at a working pace, facilitating flows, and ensuring that all the communication between different parties is efficient. 

What is the most exciting thing about working in a FinTech startup?

The most exciting part of that is seeing the growth and expansion of Startup: noticing how different processes are being developed, new products and services being introduced, for example, BaaS solution. The expansion is going closely with the tasks I am responsible for, for example, the development of different flows, and it is very inspiring to see the progress of it.

Meet the people behind PayPugs

A startup is an environment where there are constant changes, various ups, and downs. How do you deal with situations when it feels like you have a lot on your plate but limited capacity to do things?

Managing time wisely is a key to success. I prefer not to put things aside, and if something is coming up, with an appropriate prioritisation I am solving the most crucial things first, and important, but not that urgent tasks respectively are being taken care of later during the day. I am especially prioritising the tasks that are related to other teams, as it affects different parties involved. I find it important to avoid bottleneck situations and explore ways on how to move things forward as fast as possible. 

What do you think makes a person a good leader?

Working with different people and teams across previous work experiences gave me an insight into the leadership characteristics that I value most. First of all, it is the trait of being approachable as well as being responsible for your duties. A true leader should be responsible for his/her actions and be able to confidently and effectively communicate answers to people he/she is directly managing. As well as being able to effectively report information to people standing above, for instance, investors and board members. Moreover, a true leader is good in task delegation, as with the involvement of all the team members more things can be achieved. Trust is a crucial part too – by sharing this personality trait, your team members will feel secure and motivated to express their thoughts and ideas about different topics. That will further benefit the development of transparency and process improvement. 

Let’s talk about leisure activities. Do you enjoy travelling?

Yes, indeed that is my biggest hobby. Of course, the Covid-19 situation put a little break on it, but overall I enjoy seeing different cultures and travelling to places I have never been before.

Interview with Helen

Do you prefer architecture and cities, or to enjoy nature while being abroad? 

I enjoy both. Just recently I discovered camping – staying outside in nature. One of the latest journeys I had was to Portugal – renting a car, driving around nature, and exploring cliffs and wild beaches of the land. On the other hand, I like the fast-paced environment and such a city as Berlin, with its impressive architecture, people, and cosy restaurants.

What would be something that you want to achieve or excel in within the next few years?

I want to develop my skills as a leader, as well as maintain a more technical approach to things. Currently, I stick to Agile methodology, and my plan is to help PayPugs grow as a team of professionals in an innovative FinTech environment and facilitate the growth of our startup fast and efficiently.

Last but not least, what advice would you give for someone new to the startup environment

You need to be passionate about learning and exploring new things because that is going to be the curve that you will need to hit. Moreover, I advise you to be patient and note to yourself what you want out of this.

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