In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course, many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alina Trigubenko.
Alina Trigubenko is the founder and CEO of Profi.io, an all-in-one operating platform for professional services for consultants, trainers, coaches and other service professionals. Alina is a successful entrepreneur, technologist and coach, and enjoys enabling L&D professionals to help more people and drive impact at scale.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?
I’m Siberia-born, but California-nurtured. Siberia is a great place to build up stamina and grit. One of the sayings we always hear growing up is, “don’t sleep — you will freeze out,” which basically translates to taking control of your life by taking action versus being passive and waiting to be told.
I started working when I was nine years old selling popcorn in the park during summers and making dumplings in my partners’ restaurant in wintertime.
I was always a high-energy kid and loved doing many things — working, gymnastics, painting in art school, playing competitive chess (even won some interstate competitions!), and nine years of music school. I kitesurf, sail, play tennis and wakesurf, snowboard and ski now — and frankly, I need all of it in my life! Working and being productive makes me feel great. And kitesurfing, tennis and snowboarding are the perfect activities for networking. I’ve met and forged beautiful friendships with exceptional leaders while having fun playing sports together.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Once with my team when we were producing www.AirPano.com, we barely survived in Kamchatka, Siberia after getting caught in a landslide and supersonic earthquake. We spent three days deep in the mountains while it was dark with the land shaking the entire time. When we came out, I saw that the landslide passed our house (nothing less than a miracle!) and I saw how new geysers were born. I died and was born again in that very moment.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My dad and mom raised me as an entrepreneur. They either saw it in me or projected that I should be an entrepreneur, and so pretty much everything in my childhood was preparing me for lucrative self-reliance, fast decision-making, managing high levels of responsibility, seeing and then acting fast on opportunities.
My husband, Suren Avunjian, has been mentoring and psychologically supporting me through startup hurdles. And lately, Adam Miller, has been extraordinarily supporting, mentoring, guiding and helping me reach the next level in my life and business. My first boss, Dmitry Dmitrenko, took the responsibility on himself to grow me from an intern into a morning show producer at one of the biggest TV stations in Europe when I was just 18 years old. Through that transformation, he showed me what it really meant to believe in miracles.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Don’t sleep, you will freeze out. 🙂
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Expanding your perspective
- Going through point zero (Burning Man, deep practices) and
- Therapy + coaching support is foundational to keep my mental game strong.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive social impact on our society. To begin, what problems are you aiming to solve?
Professional service providers (coaches, trainers, consultants, therapists) are incredibly purposeful people who dedicate themselves and their life’s work in service of helping people.
Our mission is to support them in their support of others. (actual mission statement: We enable Profis to help more people and drive impact at scale.)
Our goal is to double the time they spend helping people while automating their most energy (and spirit-draining) administrative tasks.
How do you think your technology can address this?
Right now professionals are forced to use many disparate tools to run their practice. Tools that were not designed to support this niche, nor talk to each other.
At Profi we’re a team of coaches, consultants, trainers and therapists and we design our platform with our shared challenges and needs in mind.
We are purpose-built to solve the exact pain points that we share with our Profis (the word we use for our ‘professional service providers’ who use our platform).
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
As a client of many coaches, therapists, mentors, trainers and consultants, I saw their struggle daily. Then when I got certified as a coach and mind-body practitioner, I saw the same struggle on the practitioner side and decided to forego my media career and dedicate myself to filling this need.
How do you think this might change the world?
Imagine a world where more people get their needs met! Where those in need are supported to get the therapy, coaching, consultation, educational and skill-building or business help they need more easily, conveniently and right when they need it… not weeks, months or years later.
Let me ask you… what do you imagine it might be like to live in a world where you and the people around you felt listened to, heard, seen and known? Met at their deepest and darkest places? Celebrated into their highest and best versions? Provided a flexible support system they customize for their unique needs that meets them wherever they are as long as there’s an internet connection?
It’s time to start putting our energy as humans on this planet toward co-creating the kind of world we want to live in. This is the world I want to live in. It’s the world our team senses is possible. Do you?
Great question! This is precisely why I intentionally decided not to build an AI-driven product and instead focus on how technology can effortlessly enable human heart-to-human heart interaction. How it can remove the blocks we’re all having around getting our needs met for more meaningful professional heart-to-heart connection.
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each.)
1 . Optimize [for] things that are aligned with your values and are humane — don’t try to substitute a human coach/therapist with an AI bot (and end up selling personal data along the way or adding shady algorithms.).
Trying to develop bots into humans for one-on-one interactions (versus optimizing heart-to-heart interactions) is a grave misunderstanding and misuse of the design of our incredible human forms, our innate wisdom and organic abilities and potential as beings to connect, support and heal one another simply through our presence and attention or intention.
2. Invest in progress versus the regression of our human psyche and our planet.
3. Don’t forget your humanity and your place in the whole of life.
There is definitely no shortage of social problems to solve — global warming, plastic and other human pollution, inequality, exclusion, broken food, medical and mental health systems that have forgotten how to be human or heal, and so on.
Double down on what drives you enough to move through the fleeting ups and deepest downs you’ll inevitably feel when you’re trying to solve our world’s biggest problems.
And be mindful of its impacts on others human and nonhuman alike. Is this helping the most or hurting the most? Always choose to help. This translates from your words and behaviors to your product or service design and the “packaging” it’s delivered in — whether that’s a physical package or a channel you deliver a message on or engage with your clients on.
It’s incredibly fulfilling to watch the fruits of your work — helping people deal with our most pressing problems — blossom on a branch heavy with all the possibilities we have as humans to do better and to be more.
Find an impact that matters to you deeply. And don’t wait another precious minute. Go! Go do the thing day in and day out… and not for the money or the attention or the praise. Do it for the sake of doing it. Of being in it and feeling it from every angle. And watch as it comes alive in your life.
4. Repeat and integrate the social impact you want to make in your vision, your mission and your values so your entire team knows where you stand and where their priorities lay.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
We are all born to serve. I know you feel that somewhere within you too. At Profi we look at technology as simply a tool that allows us to amplify your true self and empower you to create the world you’re longing to live in.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Oprah and Tony Robbins — I would love to help scale their impact with our technology.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.