Oleg Dobrozhinsky: the head administrator of the Grafit Holding's head office and an Olympic master of sports as well as a multiple ping-pong champion of Moldova.
The hero of today's #peopleofgrafit interview is Oleg Dobrozhinsky, the head administrator of the Grafit Holding's head office and an Olympic master of sports as well as a multiple ping-pong champion of Moldova. We asked Oleg about how he became a part of Grafit, what he likes in his work, how sports have affected his life, and where do things stand with ping pong in Moldova.
Hello, Oleg! Tell us what's your job in Grafit Holding and what you're doing on a daily basis.
I am the head administrator of the Grafit Holding's head office in Chisinau, Moldova. Our 9-floor office is daily visited by over 280 people. My department makes sure that the entire team is comfortable to work, rest, and achieve great results in their workplace.

We are essentially responsible for seamlessly providing the central office with everything necessary: lighting, repairs, procurements, successful operation of all communications, cleanliness in every corner, event organization, and, of course, re-supply of the highly-demanded by our staff stocks of invigorating natural coffee.
What is your degree and where did you manage to work before joining the team?
Due to the fact that I was professionally playing ping-pong, I received invitations from 5 universities after graduating from school. They wanted me to play for them in the World Student Games. I chose Technical university of Moldova. First of all, I considered architecture an interesting direction, and secondly, I was a humble student and the university was offering the largest athletic scholarship at the time.

Unfortunately, I dropped out before going to the 5th course. It was a difficult time, the end of the 90's, and I decided to try and do business. Luckily, I was successful and couldn't continue studying on such a serious faculty. Besides, I've already had a baby at that moment. So I decided to go with business. What the business was? A friend offered, as people say today, to launch a startup in the form of a carpentry shop.

For the first few years, we were doing almost all the work: brought the materials, sawed them up, unloaded them. Things were taking off and our team grew to 20 people. In general, we were manufacturing windows for stairways and were fully supplying Moldovan Railways. Our business existed for 8 years until Moldovan Railways went into decline and stopped making orders. More or less, I got tired of doing the same thing over and over at that moment and decided to find something new and interesting. Eventually, fate brought me to Grafit.
How long are you working at Grafit and how did you become an office administrator?
I have been working in the holding for 10 years, almost since its very foundation, since the SovaMax startup launched. A close friend of mine found out that a new company needs a person that could take care of administrative work and suggested that I should try it. I met the holding's director and successfully passed the interview.

There were only 50 people working in Grafit at the moment. So I combined administrative tasks with helping to select new employees and doing paperwork. As the company grew and new offices appeared, the amount of work was increasing, too, and I ultimately focused on administration only. And this is what I'm doing to this day.
What do you like about your work?
I like my work because I always have a lot of tasks at hand and they're never the same. I have a hard time doing routine. Administrative tasks that can come in quite suddenly help me keep myself in good shape.

My work also includes looking for new people, make connections with them, and arrange working relationships. For instance, if I need to find a perfect office equipment supplier with a good price-quality rate on a tight schedule, agree on advantageous conditions – this substantially improves organizational skills and isn't boring at all.
I like my work because I always have a lot of tasks at hand and they're never the same. I have a hard time doing routine.
You are a professional ping-pong player, multiple champion of Moldova. How did this sport appear in your life?
I started to play tennis due to my parents, naturally. They wanted me to attend an athletic studio and that's how I ended up playing ping-pong. Everything else seems like it's covered with fog: I tried it, I liked it, I got in the groove. One word – love. I started playing at age 8 and up to 20 I was playing professionally, having steadily taking medal places. I couldn't imagine my life without it at that time.

I am an Olympic master of the sports, multiple champion of Moldova from '93 to '99. I wanted to continue doing it professionally further, but studying and then birth of my kid made me reconsider my life priorities. I took to business for many years and stopped playing.
And when did you start playing again? And why?
The break turned out very long! I started to play again this year, basically. I am 40 right now, which means that my break from ping-pong took 20 years.

I returned to it because I decided to do fitness. But then I thought that instead of boring iron pumping, I should better do something I really enjoy. And it was just like in my childhood: I played once, then twice, and I got in the groove again. Right now, I'm playing 3-4 times a week in the evening when I have free time.
How are things going for ping-pong in Moldova?
I'll tell a couple of examples. We have two promising guys that are playing in different European clubs but have a long way to go to get to the world-class level, unfortunately. There's also a talented player named Sophia Polkanova, my coach's daughter. She left to Austria at age 15 and is now playing for the Austrian team. She is the first racket in Europe and #14 racket in the world, and this is the best result among Moldavian tennis players that were born in Moldova.

Back in the '90s when I was playing professionally, we didn't have champions at all. Perhaps, the highest title at that time, was taken by me – second place among 300 youngsters from different countries on the Tricolor Championship (it featured countries, whose flags had 3 colors) in Italy, in 1997. All the golden medals were won on the national level at home.
Did ping-pong help you out in your life in any way?
Two main advantages: reaction and planning. In tennis, you have to take several decisions within a second, and there are a lot of them during a match. This helps me in my everyday life – at the wheel, for example. In order to come out of an unpredictable situation, it's necessary to react in a flash. Also, a sporty lifestyle helps to plan things in advance. When I was playing tennis, I was doing to-do lists every day. And this is very similar to what I do at work.
You and your partners decided to develop ping-pong in Moldova. Why?
Yes, we have our own club – TopCup. We didn't decide to just develop this sport – we are reviving it. I stopped playing 20 years ago, returned, and the situation got times worse. It's a shame that good and talented kids can't evolve and participate in large tournaments because there are no conditions, coaches, and normal organization. This is why we decided to create a ping-pong academy that is going to follow all the European standards: the best Japanese tables, boards, air conditioners, special covering, and lighting according to the norms. I am sure we can do it.
I stopped playing 20 years ago, returned, and the situation got times worse.
Are you ready to create a holding team?
With pleasure. I know how to do it and I know that it's possible. I don't see any issues here.