Olga Taran is a Monaco resident, founder and editor-in-chief of www.hellomonaco.com, www.hellomonaco.ru and Hello Monaco magazine. She is also a mother of three and has been happily married for 27 years.
HelloMonaco: Olga, how did you come up with the idea of creating your media company?
Olga Taran: I’m a journalist by profession. Earlier in my career I was working in television and then started helping my husband with his business. I thus got «stuck» for 10 years as our family company commercial director in Russia, and later on, its marketing director in the United States. A few years ago, we moved from the US to Monaco. I took a couple of years to get adjusted to a new place, “to build a nest” if you like. As they say, there are no ex-journalists, so I went back to my trade. It all started with a news website in Russian, followed by its English version. 3 years ago the first edition of Hello Monaco magazine was published.
HM: Why Hello Monaco? What was behind your idea of making a change with this project in the Principality?
OT: Our online platform is designed as a unique resource bringing all the information to its readers: news, analytics, entertainment and practical tips. It is not just a website, but a specially developed mobile application, a newsletter, Facebook, Instagram versions and a printed magazine. This is not so much a commercial project, but, above all, an opportunity to bring Monaco residents together in terms of giving them a unique source of information. Our materials are obviously carefully checked and preselected.
In this day and age, with an increasing number of media and still only 24 hours in a day, it is not the quantity, but quality that matters. Every day we are sharing the news of our small country, our community. We are covering cultural events, preparing analytical information and inviting experts in various fields: real estate, sports, beauty, luxury etc. Our events calendar is another very important aspect. I am proud to say with confidence that it features the most comprehensive list of daily events happening in the Principality! We are also interviewing some interesting people and celebrities who live in Monaco.
HelloMonaco, however, is not just a media project as such. I am the ambassador of the «Change One Life» Foundation in Europe. A special place is therefore given to charity.
HM: What exactly is the mission of «Change One Life» Foundation?
OT: «Change One Life» (https://changeonelife.ru) was founded 8 years ago by my husband Vyacheslav supported by his two best friends. During this time, the Foundation has justifiably earned a sterling reputation in Russia. Its activities are widely known in different regions across the country; we have recently opened in Ukraine as well. In eight years, we have filmed over 49,000 videos, each one about a child waiting for his future parents. Thanks to these video profiles, more than 18,000 children have found homes. Speaking in the language of business, this is a very good «conversion rate». Every third child has been placed in a family! Just imagine, all these children who left the orphanage to live in a house or apartment, in a real family with moms, dads, sisters and brothers. We now have nearly 10,000 people helping the Foundation.
HM: It means the Foundation was a success?
OT: Its main mission is helping potential adoptive parents to find their child within an orphanage. We filmed a great number of video profiles and many children were adopted thanks to this work. Today, our Foundation’s ambassadors are famous Russian actors — Sergey Bezrukov and Viktoriya Isakova. This definitely is a success. Success, however, is not a constant, but progress towards achieving new goals. Even more remains to be done. We need to film more video profiles. After all, children are our future! I do believe that children living in Russian or Ukrainian orphanages are our tomorrow. And what can the future hold for a country whose children grow up without motherly love and care? There are tens of thousands of children like that.
The RAEX-Analytics Rating Agency has published the first rating for some 293 Russian charities. «Change One life» made it to the Top-20 of corporate and private NPOs on a number of criteria and was classed number one for its «Transparency». Our foundation was also classed second in the TOP-20 for «Social recognition and coverage in social networks and mass media». And finally, as to its partnership potential, it was named 12th (out of 80 NPOs).
HM: What qualities should a woman possess to be successful in business and happy in marriage?
OT: I believe that happiness is a more complicated concept than success. Happiness requires being in harmony with yourself and your loved ones. Being able to enjoy little things is also part of happiness. It has a number of elusive facets to it. Success is more of a mathematical concept. It has a masculine side to it. For a man to be successful in business, he almost needs to be a genius. For a woman, it is enough to be persistent. Men are geniuses, revolutionaries, inventors and pioneers. A woman’s strength is in being persistent, moving towards your goal, never leaving it out of sight. My husband is a genius! I am just stubborn.
HM: Do you have a secret for passing from words to action?
OT: I often make fast decisions. Sometimes acting makes up for thinking. It works better for me. If I am inspired by an idea, I go for it immediately. I will usually find a solution for its implementation as I go. It is not about dwelling too much on analyzing and reflecting on the subject. I pass to action while I am still boiling with enthusiasm. If I don’t know how to proceed, it’s just not the right time for it yet. Sometimes you just have to postpone a decision, and then it will turn up unexpectedly and be quite simple to implement. Tried and tested!
HM: What is luxury for you?
OT: For me, luxury is an opportunity to meet and talk with new people, make new acquaintances. They say that old friends, from childhood, are the best. I don’t quite agree with that. I’m constantly looking for new, interesting, successful people. I always have something to learn from them. There are many of them in Monaco and some have been interviewed for our WOW column.
The coronavirus has clarified the concept of luxury for me personally. Quarantine with your family is a peculiar test for your relations with your husband and children. During these two months, we have known each other better than in many previous years. I realized how lucky I am to have my children and my beloved man next to me. How hard it must have been for lonely or old people to go through this isolation?! And for the children who live in orphanages?! We live in our home, but they don’t. The virus made all the orphanages in Russia be quarantined. 44,000 boys and girls who do not have their moms and dads are completely alone now. They are scared and lonely. I thank God for giving me such a treasure — my family who guided me through the challenges of self-isolation. It helped me see an opportunity, find support in times of uncertainty and deal with anxiety. It only strengthened my belief that this is not right, orphans should be seen — this is the only chance for them to have a home, parents and family.
HM: Do you have a hobby?
OT: I hardly have time for a hobby as such, fitness classes have become a kind of hobby for me.
I started regularly exercising six years ago. Before that, I would always find excuses not to go to a fitness club or for a run. Like many, I would buy an annual sports card and would only use it once or twice. These days my sports menu includes interval training, yoga, kickboxing and stretching. I am constantly looking for new types of exercise, trying something different, aiming at a minimum 3 training sessions a week. More recently, a friend suggested giving hiking a try and I really liked it. Thankfully, Monaco is mountainous enough, we have plenty of stairs to climb here. Just walking from Fontvieille to Jardin Exotique is a good workout. Let alone climbing Tête de Chien!
Regular exercising is a job that requires strong motivation. In return, I do get a positive charge of energy for the day. I am therefore very efficient, and most importantly, inspired. Good health comes as a bonus to this training package.
HM: Do you have a motto?
OT: «Always help whenever you can!» I do like helping people. It doesn’t really matter in what way, whether it is just listening to a friend who is puzzled about the complexity of life, finding the right advice or words of support for her. Being useful is very cool and very nice! That is why I believe the «Change One Life» foundation to be my calling. Every child whose life is saved brings me happiness and joy, fills my days with a special meaning. I will continue striving to do my very best. And I am really hoping for the support of my friends, acquaintances and readers.
Don’t hesitate to send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and see you in Monaco!