Once upon a tech-time, I was just a curious teen devouring futuristic tales by Ray Bradbury, and daydreaming about a world where science and technology ruled. Who would’ve thought these early obsessions would lay the groundwork for my career?

Cue 1988, and I was learning BASIC at my Soviet high school (cooler than it sounds, I promise). Little did I know, this would spark my lifelong affair with tech—whether it was my candy-colored Macintosh or my Matrix-inspired Nokia, which made me feel like Neo (minus the trench coat).

Fast-forward to the late 90s, and I found myself at a BBDO conference in Moscow, where speakers prophesied the decline of traditional mass media as the Internet began to rise.  As a marketing manager of one of the leading media holdings in the Russian Far East, I vowed to keep up with the times, even if it meant leaving my beloved cassette tapes behind.

In 2011, academia came a-knockin’, and I dove headfirst into researching the impact of social media. I became a digital media wrangler, always searching for the latest and greatest ways to tame this wild frontier. As I dissected the digital communication channels, I became even more dedicated to understanding and taming the wild frontier of digital media. And in 2018, I donned my digital hard hat and built my first website for my husband’s business, proving that love knows no bounds—even in the realm of coding and web design!

Digital marketing has been my playground since 2009. I’ve tinkered with tactics, analyzed competitors, churned out heaps of content, and grown my family business. But it hasn’t all been rainbows and unicorns—I’ve had my fair share of faceplants, teaching me that digital marketing is an ever-evolving beast with no one-size-fits-all solution.

In 2020, I joined the University of Auckland (cue happy dance!) as a digital marketing lecturer – still teaching marketing, researching, and running my family business’s marketing shenanigans. And you know what? I couldn’t be happier! Nowadays, you’ll find me exploring the Metaverse with my trusty Oculus VR, as giddy as my 1980s self would have been. I’m in awe of the Emmy-nominated VR series featuring 3D, 360-degree footage shot outside the International Space Station—floating through the cosmos, I can’t help but appreciate my Gen-X journey from mixtapes to virtual reality.

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