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New York City: Maria Brennan (WICT) & Marina Levchenko

Marina Levchenko, Senior Expert, Russian Olympic Committee

While in NYC, we were also able to connect with Marina and her mentor, Maria Brennan at the WICT Leadership Conference.

Marina grew up dreaming about the Olympics with her eye on becoming part of the Olympic movement. Of course, she marveled at the amazing strength, speed, and skill of the athletes. But it wasn’t athletic prowess alone that captivated Marina; it was the “special mission of peace and friendship” that she found so inspiring.

Eventually, Marina’s dreams came true. Although not an Olympic athlete, Marina currently is employed as a Senior Official in the Russian Olympic Committee. She is one of only a handful of women who work in the ROC, particularly at such a high level. Unfortunately, her road to the Olympics has been less than perfect and riddled with discouraging moments.
At the university, Marina studied law and was one of very few women who had ever graduated with honors. As a female student, she was mocked, harassed, or dismissed by most men in positions of authority. She was rarely taken seriously and she felt that she had to work much harder than her male counterparts to achieve success or recognition.
“In Russia, women are responsible for the home and a career and they have to do both exceptionally well. They have to outperform their male colleagues at work and carry the load of the household. It’s a very difficult task that discourages many women from high-performing careers.”

For Marina, we believe WICT is the solution. WICT offers a comprehensive program devoted to Pay and Equity Research and is very proactive in advancing women in leadership positions. At WICT, Marina will gain access to a toolkit focused on women’s leadership, including management styles, buy-in, communication strategies, and negotiation skills. Marina will also be exposed to many women in senior level decision-making positions, which will expand her network of support and hopefully inspire her to continue pushing for equity in the workplace.

Maria Brennan, President and CEO of WICT (Women in Cable Telecommunications)