Episode 31: Who She Was and Who She Became; Shifting Challenge into Grains of Beauty

Guest: Svetlana Ratnikova

Svetlana’s story begins when she talks about building her first business in Russia, during a time where she had to deal with not-organized Russian Mafia. She claims it was a disaster as the Mafia were forming different groups. As soon as privatization was born in her country, that meant she could own a business, and so she immediately took her first steps to get registered and started her venture. Being one of the first female entrepreneurs in Russia, she learned all her skills from men, she got to know the banking system were boxes of money, there was opportunity to make money fast, however, it came with a price. She explains that it was the experience of criminal activities, the more money she had, the more problems she had, as there were 12 groups that had to be paid off. Svetlana shares that there was need to pay people to protect her and her family, she witnessed criminal torture, and it wasn’t until the time where threat was placed on her son, this was her defining moment where she made the decision to immigrate to Canada. She speaks about the abuse that she endured from her former husband, and the strife and struggle it was to adjust to a new country with limited support, language barriers, though feeling the toughness, she felt welcomed into the country which allowed her to build skills, learn and grow. Her key message to the listeners is to: surround yourself with positive people — it takes effort and time; learn to communicate; dreams big or small take time to build, but take the time to build it anyway; never give up or settle; lead with tremendous love for all people; and engage in the world.


Guest Bio: Svetlana was born in Moscow, Russia and immigrated to Canada in 1994. She commenced her leadership journey at the tender age of 20, when she became one of the first female entrepreneurs in Moscow. In Canada her career path journeyed through a major market research firm working with some of the largest companies in the world as clients; she became a head-hunter for pharmaceutical companies; in 2001 Svetlana launched Terra Naturals Inc. with the mission to improve lives with natural, petroleum free body care products. Over the years, she has proven her ability to combine innovative concepting and deep understanding of global consumer insight, allowing the vision to be carried from idea to execution.

Svetlana is a collaborative, insightful, and innovative creative strategist. She is a motivator, communicator, relationship builder and developer of top talent. She supports entrepreneurs of small to medium-sized businesses, leaders, and professionals to achieve their aspirations and bring their dreams to life. She enjoys working directly with young people to help them to explore enterprise as viable and sustainable paths to secure their socio-economic futures.


Passionate about:

She has founded a non-profit social enterprise of immigrant women entrepreneurs and enjoys walking alongside these women in their journeys and pursuits.