WoW Woman in #FashionTech & WoW Eindhoven Ambassador | Yelena Kharitonova, founder and CEO of Tzsarina

Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic 

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Yelena van Kharitonova is Women of Wearables Ambassador in Eindhoven, Netherlands. She is founder and CEO of Tzsarina, fashion tech platform for creation of knowledge and sharing ideas among women in tech in Eindhoven. Through her work in Caravan Cultura CreArt Agency, Consultancy, Academy (Maastricht-Brussels, 2003-) she has been creating educational opportunities for young international creatives and professionals in the Netherlands and Belgium. Her latest projects include organising annual educational programs for young designers during Annual Dutch Design Week, as well as management of the “Culture Beyond the Paragraphs” project at the 19th Annual seminar of ORACLE’s alumns in Maastricht (April 2017). She holds MA in Arts, Heritage and Cultural Management and MA in European Public Affairs from Maastricht University, as well as BA in International Studies and Diplomacy from Washington International University. 

Yelena, welcome to our team! Tell us a bit more about yourself, your background and how you became interested in wearable tech and fashion tech.

My explorations into cultures other than my own, have taken me to many different parts of the world, and have affected practically all aspects of my life and career. Now, I want to supplement these experiences with the strong framework of knowledge, experience in the field of women and wearables, as Women of Wearables Eindhoven Ambassador (and kindly introduced by Marija Butkovic personally!).

After been travelling, studying and working in different countries I have created/founded a CreArt Agency, Academy and Consultancy “Caravan Cultura”. The purpose of Caravan Cultura Agency is to foster, support and promote cross-cultural understanding and respect between creative’s of Europe and Eurasia. My Caravan Cultura bridges not only “civil” but cultural and creative societies and tries to bring an understanding of them in an innovative and exciting way.

Since recently I am also a founder of Tzsarina FashionTech platform, which is based in Eindhoven. I believe that we all need more feminine leaders in our nowadays world. The feminine qualities of leadership have to do with sensitivity, empathy and cooperation. These qualities lead to fascinating process of change and transformation in order to find our path to happiness. Tzsarina is new female FashionTech platform, where I will create a space for access, creation of knowledge and sharing it about fashion and new technologies, since we are becoming more dependable and integrated with devices, the influence of wearables dramatically increases! Tzsarina aims to inspire, support and connect women in wearable and fashion tech. Its mission is to encourage more women and to participate in supporting its growing community of women and girls in tech space through events, workshops and mentorship!

Tell us little bit more about city of Eindhoven and its cultural and technological landscape.

High Tech Campus Eindhoven is located at the heart of one of Europe’s leading R&D regions. The Eindhoven, Louvain, Aachen triangle (ELAt, as the area is known) occupies a leading European position in micro-electronics, nano-electronics and life sciences. High Tech Campus Eindhoven is furthermore the heart of Brainport Eindhoven, the area renowned for its high concentration of high tech and knowledge-intensive industry. Brainport offers more than 50,000 workplaces in high tech, automotive and development industry. Technical global players like Philips, ASML, NXP, FEI Company, DAF, VDL and TomTom are based in Brainport. Our Technical University and Design Academy are hotspots and hubs for breeding of creatives in the city. Wonderful environment to work in and be inspired by!

What will be your main goals as Women of Wearables Ambassador in Eindhoven?

Being Women of Wearables in Eindhoven Ambassador is the ideal next step towards my goal of building thriving tech and fashion community in Eindhoven and beyond, where I can utilise practical and theoretical skills of different domains of cultural and creative industries in Eindhoven, where innovation, communication and events play important role and have impact on its overall tech landscape.

Participating in different Women of Wearables events and activities (which will hopefully result in expansion across the whole Netherlands) and creating my own events will reflect in both my practical skills and the intellectual sophistication - essentially; and will highlight my professional credibility, too. Integrated, applied approach of your networking, educational and mentoring activities is a perfect match with my own preferred working style, will also provide ample opportunities for me to share my own perspective, shaped by my first-hand experiences living in different countries and cultivating projects on international level, while also learning from the experiences of other colleagues and ambassadors of Women of Wearables worldwide.  

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Women of Wearables Eindhoven officially launched on 17th of November. What can we expect to see in the upcoming months when it comes to Women of Wearables activities and events? 

Women of Wearables in Eindhoven is envisioned as bi-monthly event, which had its opening on the 17th of November 2017 at the premises of an avant-garde gallery and publishing house Onomatopee. It was a celebration of disruptive new umbrella platform in the city, which brought female speakers, technology enthusiasts and participants, who were talking about innovative technologies in wearables space for women. We want to empower and accelerate fashion tech movement in the city of Eindhoven towards more innovative and sustainable future. As I mentioned, our events will organised bi-monthly by Tzsarina and Women of Wearables Eindhoven chapter and will cover topics around fashion, disruptive technologies and diversity. I would love to connect with anyone who is keen to support us here and help us grow WoW Eindhoven chapter! :) 

Launch of WoW Eindhoven chapter (photo by: Slava Kozlov)

Launch of WoW Eindhoven chapter (photo by: Slava Kozlov)

If you would want to find out more about Women of Wearables Eindhoven chapter and our activities there, connect with Yelena via Yelena van Kharitonova or via email at yelena.kharitonova@gmail.com.

If you would like to start your local WoW chapter, get in touch with us via email at hello@womenofwearables.com

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