Maria

 

Ryabova

RYABOVA@VMGPARTNERS.COM

Building a new life in Canada gave me great courage to take on new and unfamiliar challenges.

 

Coming of age in post-Soviet Russia was formative for Maria, who developed traits that have served her throughout her life and career.

 

SIMPLE PLEASURES

My parents owned cattle and grew their own vegetables to support our family. Lots of relatives lived nearby, and there were dumpling-making parties on Saturdays. It was a quaint and happy childhood.

 

DEVELOPING RESILIENCE

Growing up in post-Soviet Russia and overcoming the uncertainty, discomfort and lack of support that came along with it created my core values, which have been my motivating forces during the most challenging and defining periods of my life.

 

Let’s begin with young Maria. You grew up in Russia. What was that experience like?

Growing up in post-Soviet Russia and overcoming the uncertainty, discomfort and lack of support that came along with it created my core values, which have been my motivating forces during the most challenging and defining periods of my life.

 

What were you like as a kid?

I was quite creative — I competed in ballroom dancing and attended an art school for five years. In elementary school, I was described by a teacher as “independent and goal-oriented,” qualities shaped by my motivation to persevere in post-Soviet Russia. By the time I became a teenager, I developed a desperate hunger to escape Russia’s political and economic barriers and dream up a different future for myself. To do that, I knew I had to have faith when things would get tough and embrace fear with courage.

 

Describe what it was like to grow up in your family.

It was a simple life: my parents owned cattle and grew their own vegetables to support our family. Lots of relatives lived nearby, and there were dumpling-making parties on Saturdays. It was a quaint and happy childhood.

 

On another note, what’s a personal challenge you’ve taken on that you’re most proud of?

Moving to Canada, a country I’d never visited, to pursue my undergraduate studies, and leaving behind my family and friends in Omsk, Russia. I’ve adopted many Canadian values and developed a strong sense of who I am and my place in the world. My solitary journey of building a new life in Canada gave me the courage to take on unfamiliar challenges and also compassion for those who feel alone and lack support in lifting themselves up. I think being an entrepreneur is a similar journey — it often requires many sacrifices, venturing out into new, unknown territories and getting uncomfortable.

 

What gets you most psyched about working with brands at VMG?

I am so excited to support the brands through all the highs and lows of their growth journeys. Prior to VMG, I spent three years working alongside founders and leaders of high-growth businesses through challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic. It really helped me develop a deep appreciation for what it takes to build and scale a business.

 

What puts a smile on your face at VMG?

Hands down the sense of family and community that everyone at VMG embodies.

 

Does this mean we can look forward to dumpling-making parties at your place?

One thing I’ve learned is that anything is possible!

I relate to the journey of an entrepreneur — it often requires many sacrifices, venturing out into new, unknown territories and getting uncomfortable.

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