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PETOŠEVIĆ People: Q&A with Natalia Stetsenko

Before joining PETOŠEVIĆ in 2017 as a senior associate, Natalia Stetsenko worked for 18 years with another firm in Kyiv. We asked Natalia about her work, books, music, and much more.

1. How come you started a career in the IP field?

This was really far from being a conscious choice. Back then in the 90s when IP was a true “terra incognita” for all post-Soviet states, starting a career in IP could be nothing else but a coincidence, and for me definitely a lucky one…

2. What makes IP protection challenging in your jurisdiction (and how do you overcome that challenge)?

Practically everything, but the underlying problem is the Ukrainian mentality, an everlasting aspiration to invent one’s own wheel. You need to be really patient and attentive to details.

3. What do you most enjoy doing at work?

Contentious issues, especially when I face a question or case where it seems I do not know where to start.

4. What would you be working in, if you weren’t working in IP?

I would happily teach. With several generations of teachers in my family I admire the profession and find it to be one of the most important.

5. What was the strangest job you’ve ever had?

Once I got an assignment to prepare a text about Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds for a small no-name music magazine. It was during my time at university, so any work offer was good. Not that I was not fascinated with the task and the result in the end, but the fact that I ended up not being paid was a bit disappointing! Anyway, a failure or a mistake is always a lesson, sometimes more precious than success. At least I learned something about Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (I still can’t figure out if it had any value for me, although I do appreciate their music).

6. What is your favorite thing to do when you are not working?

The list is long, but painting and bird watching have recently been my favorite pastimes, both of which I find very relaxing and inspiring. What is important is that neither comes in conflict with the time I spend with my family, which is my greatest joy. And, last but not least, reading and tracing recent developments in literature.

7. What book did you read last?

It is “The Books of Jacob” by Olga Tokarczuk.

8. What is your favorite song at the moment?

The “Un bel dì vedremo” aria of Cio-Cio San from the “Madam Butterfly” opera by Puccini, especially as it was performed by Maria Callas.

9. If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I understand that this is not a literal question, but even the implication of “one favorite meal” means I can’t answer it. I love cooking and appreciate diversity every day, but if we are talking about preferences, these would definitely be dishes of the Mediterranean cuisine.

10. If you could meet anyone in the world, from the past or present, who would it be and why?

It would be Jesus… So many questions to ask.

11. What was your favorite subject in school and why?

It may sound strange, especially from someone who studied linguistics and literature and then law in university, but it was mathematics. This was partly due to family tradition, partly to the feeling that this is one of those universal languages that holds the keys to great mysteries of nature and the Universe. Yes, my fantasy went so far that I nearly ended up studying mechanics and mathematics at the university. I think I stopped at the right moment, fortunately, because then it would have been a completely different story.

12. Tell us three things most people don’t know about you.

I do not drive and I think I never will.

I suffer from pteronophobia and have no idea how this combines with my great passion for birds.

I can talk about food and thousands of hints of taste for hours.

13. Tell us three moments or events that have been turning points in your life.

Changing my mind about the direction of my studies. The loss of my mother. The birth of my daughter. Each made me look at life from a completely different perspective and think about true values.

14. What would you do if you won the lottery?

I do not believe in easy money and maybe this is why I have never won. If I ever do, it will depend on the amount. Changing at least one life for the better is great, so the majority would go to charity.

15. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Any manifestation of disrespect towards others.

16. What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?

As long as we follow our dreams and do not stop or are not afraid, we stay alive.

17. What do you wish you could have told yourself at age 13?

Any limits are in our minds. If you have an idea of what you want, don’t let fear pull you back, just start acting.

18. What cities/countries have you lived in?

Kyiv and Lviv in Ukraine and Tychy, Katowice and Bytom in Poland.

19. If you could live in another country of the 30+ countries where PETOŠEVIĆ operates, which would you pick and why?

Skopje, Macedonia. What a hidden treasure!

20. If someone came to your city for 24 hours, where would you take them?

It depends on the city and time of the year. In Kyiv this would be a historical tour around the old city and the hills over the Dnieper river opening truly great views.

Read more PETOŠEVIĆ People interviews.