One of the more striking anecdotes from the 2017 documentary The Defiant Ones, which traces the paths of producers Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, involved Iovine’s pursuit of Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails for Interscope Records. According to the film, Iovine spent a full year essentially locked in his bathroom calling Reznor and his associates to try to get them to leave their then-record label.
Iovine’s ability to block out everything to achieve his objective underscores the presence of entrepreneurial determination in music. (Reznor did join Interscope and brought Marilyn Manson, who proved to be wildly profitable for the label.) The annals of business are similarly filled with innovators who built iconic companies and reshaped industries through dogged determination.
Perseverance is undoubtedly a necessary ingredient in building a company. In my experience working with companies and leading a small business, the other essential components are clear. Dedication and effort must be channeled to areas of greatest value, and that requires a clear vision and perspective. Confidence must be balanced by an openness to new opinions and information. And no one can do it all on his or her own. A capable team that brings different talents and perspectives is critical to success and growth.
As we’ve built our team at Leff, we have constantly been on the lookout for people who aren’t just smart but also demonstrate a desire to prove themselves and learn. Editors, designers, creatives—really, any professional—quickly realize that mastering a craft is a lifelong journey that requires commitment and passion but also the ability to admit what we don’t know in order to improve.
Our latest hire Galina Velgach exemplifies some of these traits. A 2017 graduate of University of Illinois Chicago, Galina has already had a rich set of experiences, from working for EY as a contractor to studying and working in London.
But what really made her stand out was an exchange during the interview process. When we suggested she might not have enough experience to take our copyediting test and be considered for the next level, she pushed back: just give me a chance to show you what I can do. Not only did she ace the test, returning it just 90 minutes later, but she sent the kind of signal that any employer loves to receive: confidence with the skills to back it up, a strong foundation to build on, and a fearlessness to take on new tasks.
In her role as editorial associate, Galina will be tasked with maintaining the highest levels of quality for the content we produce. As the company grows, she will be an integral part of refining and executing our editorial processes.
One of the best things about joining a small business is that it can expose people to a broad range of opportunities. And that allows them to chart their own path based on what topics or types of work they excel in. All that’s required is a little drive and curiosity. We’re looking forward to seeing the path Galina charts in the coming years.
Please join me in welcoming her to the Leff team.