Natalia reflects on her first job at bp as a period of great change for her home country. “At the time, Georgia was just emerging from the Soviet era and the economy was fragile, but our strive for European values helped drive progress forward”, she reflects. Natalia joined bp as an HR and Training Assistant in 2001, attracted by the prospect of working for a major international company.
Exploring new frontiers has characterised her life and career. After an initial stint at bp, she spent just under two years with the US government agency for international development, USAID, contributing to Georgia’s growth at a crucial time in the country’s history.
“You never know what opportunities might come your way”, Natalia says. In 2006, she was offered the opportunity to return to bp and help build the new internal communications function in Georgia, marking the start of close to a decade with the company.
Five years later, “the most fascinating part of my journey began”, she says. In 2011, Natalia relocated to London to join the communications team at group HQ in St James’s Square, as a communications manager working closely with the group technology team. Collaborating across geographies and partnerships, she was part of the bp team addressing some of the world’s most challenging science and technology problems.
As part of the move to London, the job changed but the ethos remained the same. “There is always a search for meaning beyond day-to-day activities”, Natalia explains.
“I worked very closely with bp’s chief scientists and head of technology in the London office, and I still remember our discussions not only around technology trends and insights, but also about biology, chemistry and physics. They put passion into everything they did – it was great to be part of a team with determination to make a difference”.
Today, Natalia is based in Frankfurt working as VP of Communications at Air Liquide, a world leader in gases, technologies and services for industry and health. “I was excited by the prospect of living in a new country”, she remarks. “I love engaging with stakeholders across the world and having a real impact through my work. I brought all of my experience and knowledge from bp to the role – especially with regards to technology communications”.
Most importantly though, Natalia has learned how to leverage colleagues’ experiences and knowledge in pursuit of a broader objective. “It’s always most effective to work under a common purpose. The work at bp was always about the people”, revealing she is still in touch with her first mentor at bp Georgia.
Many former colleagues became great friends. “It’s interesting to share and listen to different experiences”, Natalia says. The culture at bp helped build a strong community.
Natalia continues to follow bp’s developments closely.
On the communications side, she believes CEO, Bernard Looney, has brought along a tremendous shift in social media with his direct and transparent style – not only on climate, but also the way in which he promotes important topics like mental health.
Combining passion and work is something Natalia strives for. She recently started a Global Business Executive Postgraduate Diploma with the Oxford Saïd Business School, being awarded a scholarship as an exceptional female leader. “The world is rapidly evolving with complex, multidimensional challenges ahead of us. At a crossroads such as this, transformational and visionary leadership is key to fostering the changes the world needs. The intellectually stimulating environment at Oxford provides me with exactly what I need to be able to reflect and re-evaluate the contribution I can make.” she concludes.
Our purpose is reimagining energy for people and our planet. We want to help the world reach net zero and improve people’s lives
At bp in Georgia, developing our employees not only means providing solid training, regular direction and outside resources, it also means offering them new job opportunities