Women in Business Q&A: Irina Novoselsky, President, Novitex Enterprise Solutions

Irina Novoselsky is President of Novitex Enterprise Solutions. In her role, Novoselsky is responsible for driving operational and financial efficiencies across the organization as well as managing the company's P&L across multiple vertical markets including: Commercial (Finance, Healthcare, Insurance, Technology, and Manufacturing), Legal, and Public (Federal, State and Local Government).

She previously served as the Head of Business Development, spearheading the creation of the company's go-to-market strategy, most notably introducing the Integrated Document Life CycleTM (IDLCTM), a first-to-market information management framework that allows clients to capture inherent synergies between services. Additionally, she played an instrumental role in developing and investing in offerings, such as Managed Print Services (MPS) and Connect, which address pain points, add value and drive ROI for clients. More specifically, she led the development of the industry's first cloud-based infrastructure to support MPS through Novitex's Service Automation Platform.

Before Novitex, Novoselsky was an Investment Strategist for Dublin & Co., and an investment professional at Apollo Global Management in the Private Equity Group. At Apollo, Irina played a vital role in the transformation of global payments processor Evertec Inc., and real-estate-brokerage firm Realogy - both of which led to positive exits to Apollo. Before Apollo, Novoselsky worked at Morgan Stanley in the M&A Group.

Novoselsky graduated from Stern School of Business at New York University.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
My family immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine when I was young - with very little money - and that had a profound impact on the way that I viewed the world, in particular around leadership and respect. Being new to this country, I had to quickly learn how to not only respect others, but in the right way. This experience also ignited a burning desire to help create and build things and for me that meant businesses, teams and companies. At Novitex, I'm working with a stellar leadership team to help build this company into a market leader, create jobs and support our more than 9,000 employees.

Also, not being able to understand the word "no" put me in a position where I had to be relentless in finding ways around obstacles. This is still a tactic that I employ today. When someone tells me no - whether that is a client or my boss - I identify new alternatives to help me achieve the desired outcome.

How has your previous employment experience aided your position at Novitex?
My experiences working for a variety of financial companies has provided me with the toolset necessary to excel in my job today. Not only did these jobs help me to get a keen understanding of the financial aspects of business, they enabled me to learn valuable processes to help transform and grow companies. These experiences have taught me among other things how to develop go to market strategies, construct deals with partners and clients and manage P&Ls.

My time working with global payments processor EVERTEC Inc., was particular impactful to my current role here at Novitex as the companies were in similar situations when I joined. Funds managed by Apollo Management LP acquired EVERTEC from Poplar Inc., in July 2010 and I worked hand in hand with the management team to develop a go to market strategy and business plan, which helped create a standalone business. Our work resulted in double digit growth for the company and a successful IPO.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Novitex?
The highlights and challenges are one and the same for me - hiring amazing people to be a part of our team. The quality of talent among our 9,000 employees is second to none. The people who we have hired believe in the vision of the company and are hungry and driven to solve client pain points - that is the energy we are looking for in all of our employees.

At the same time, finding the right talent and hiring people fast enough is our biggest challenge. With such a large employee base, it's difficult to make sure that everyone is on the same page and singing the same tune. We've taken steps - including developing and issuing a weekly e-newsletter and conducting regular town hall meetings - to help keep employees informed on company news and to reinforce the vision. We are investing in our employees careers by providing career development services and enable employees to apply for new job openings first - leading to more than 900 promotions in 16 months - before recruiting outside the company.

What advice can you offer women who are seeking a leadership role?
Everyone - including women - must develop a personal roadmap with milestones. You need to know what the goal is and how you are going to get there first before starting the journey. It's important to actively manage your career - things don't just happen - and you need to be in the right place at the right time with the right skill set. Don't ask for a promotion, do the job that you are striving for and you will get it.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
To me, work/life balance doesn't exist as there is no balance. It's about being in the moment and prioritizing your actions - whether its work or personal - and being selfish. Time is extremely valuable so I cut out as much noise as possible. If I don't need to do a task today, I'm going to put it to the side and focus on something else. Time is all we have and we must protect it. Make sure to have fun throughout the day, otherwise it can make things really tough.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
In my opinion, the biggest issue for women is being told they can't have it all. When someone, who doesn't know your background, experience and ambitions, tells you that you can't achieve your dreams - that is very difficult to deal with and something that I've experienced personally. In order to solve this challenge, women must surround themselves with people who will not just tell them yes, but help will them achieve their goals.

There has been a lot of conversation regarding the lack of diversity in the technology industry - in particular in Silicon Valley. To me, the technology and financial services markets are similar as they are male-driven industries. However, this is an advantage for women as we bring another perspective to the table and can introduce a new way of thinking.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Someone told me a while ago that you need three types of mentors in your life - a confidant, a cheerleader and a pragmatist. The confidant - my husband - is someone who you can divulge anything to and know that your secrets are safe. A cheerleader is someone who is there for you and will tell you the steps necessary to accomplish a task. For me, I have several cheerleaders in my life ranging my closest friends to a personal mentor. Finally, the pragmatist is a work mentor who will tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. For me, this mentor is my CEO John Visentin as he is not only someone that I respect, but someone I can learn from in terms of his leadership style and the ways he builds a team and a company.

Having a mentor is a two-way street. If someone is willing to take the time out of their day, you need to make it worth their investment. You can do this by applying the feedback that you are given.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
One of my favorite quotes of all time is "the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams," by Eleanor Roosevelt. She is one of the key female activists of all time and is someone that I truly admire. Her relentlessness to strive for human rights touches me from the female, immigrant and company leadership perspectives. What she did was above gender, race and culture and that is something I associate with.

What do you want Novitex to accomplish in the next year?
There are three key things I want Novitex to accomplish over the course of the next 12 months. As I mentioned earlier, one of the highlights of working at Novitex is the great team that we have put in place and I want this team to grow. I want them to experience success and advance personally and professionally as well as help our clients and this industry grow. Second, over the past 18 months, we have introduced leading edge technology to a very sleepy market and I want to keep delivering innovative solutions to our clients and disrupt the document outsourcing space. Finally, I want to continue creating job and hiring great talent that believes in our vision. This is a big deal for me personally and go back to my roots. The ability to grow our business and hire new employees is something that everyone at Novitex should be really proud of.