This is another interview in a series "Who are we at InnoVentum?" of informal conversations with the InnoVentum Team members. Check out the other interviews with Julien Daligault, Lucas Gabrys and Tino Sperk
Today we will have the chance to learn more about one of the InnoVentum co-founders – Ala Kazlova. Ala has taken active part in the development of InnoVentum from a deck of PowerPoint slides in 2010 to the international company supplying renewable energy solutions to the UN and ADB today. Ala is responsible for the intellectual property portfolio and impersonates InnoVentum’s marketing – hence, nearly everything you read on this website, in our leaflets and on our social media is written by her (if you have any complaints – feel free to get in touch :).
Below I provide my answers to the questionnaire we use for this series of interviews.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – what is your background, family history, education, travels, interests in life – please make a small introduction.
Ala Kazlova (AK): Originally from Belarus, I came to Sweden to study for my master’s degree in 2009, thanks to the Visby scholarship by the Swedish Institute. During my studies I’ve got an offer from then future CEO of InnoVentum Sigvald Harryson to join the founding team of a renewable energy company and I couldn’t turn down this fantastic opportunity. Especially since one of my best friends and my master thesis partner – Bettina Ullmann – was on the team as well! This is how my journey in the Swedish start-up world has begun.
My parents and sister live in Minsk and I miss them very much – I make sure to visit them as often as I can. Recently I’ve been learning more about our family history (mainly through my cousin’s extensive genealogical research) and was baffled to learn that my ancestors held important military and administrative posts in the 15th century Poland and had their own coat of arms until the beginning of the 20th century. After the October Revolution in 1917 this information was very dangerous (many people in the Soviet Union were arrested and executed on the basis of their non-proletarian origin), so it was hidden even from the family members for many decades. Still, even with all the precautions, my grandfather’s brother was arrested and killed during one of the most severe Stalin’s bloody terror waves in 1937. I can’t believe that today some people approve of Stalin and do not see the sheer horror of that time. For everyone who’d like to see the true face of this regime I can recommend watching an Oscar-winning film from 1994 Burnt by the Sun.
Returning to the more light-hearted and cheerful topics: my boyfriend Jonathan and I use every opportunity to travel as we both enjoy it very much. We seem to spend a lot of our holiday time in Italy and have visited Florence, Milan, Naples, Capri, Assisi and other towns in Umbria - and now planning to go to Rome.
Among my key interests I can mention art, antiques, opera and ballet - things that elevate us above the routine and make our life more festive and beautiful. I really enjoy painting and drawing but have little time for it these days. Moreover, I love cooking, gardening and foraging in the forest - I am an expert mushroom picker!