Olga Bakulina, Kanbanchi, began her career in traditional advertising, working in the field for several years after graduating with a specialty in advertising management. It wasn’t long, however, before she recognized the expansion and future potential within the realm of digital marketing

“In 2014, it was already becoming clear that the digital landscape was the future,” Olga recalls, explaining her initial attraction to this rapidly evolving industry. Her tenure at an advertising agency ended with a strategic pivot toward managing a website project for a private medical center. This marked Olga’s first foray into the world of web design, coding, and digital project management.

This exploration solidified her newfound interest in expanding her expertise into novel territories. After her contract ended, she ambitiously sought an opportunity with a nascent startup, citing a fervent desire to learn as her main selling point. Reflecting on her journey, Olga now appreciates the value of that eager-to-learn mindset. “That desire was exactly why they hired me,” she explained, “and it is still one of the most important hiring criteria for us at Kanbanchi.”

When Olga joined Kanbanchi in 2015, it was little more than a digital Kanban board, a project management tool composed of lists and cards with bits of text. Born out of necessity by a team of web developers, Kanbanchi was initially intended as an internal tool. However, the team quickly discovered a significant gap in the market – there was no native Google application for project management.

Identifying a glaring need for Google-integrated project management software, the Kanbanchi team quickly sprang into action. Over time, the app evolved from a simple Kanban board into an advanced suite of tools catering to a full spectrum of project complexities. “The unique value,” Olga adds, “is providing Google users with a native project management app within their familiar ecosystem.”

Asserting its position amidst a highly competitive market, Kanbanchi recently introduced integration with Microsoft apps, further expanding its reach in the digital arena. “Building Kanbanchi into Microsoft 365 was a major milestone,” Olga said, reflecting on the company’s significant progress.

Looking ahead, Olga anticipates the profound influence of artificial intelligence on the digital landscape. “There’s been a lot of talk about AI lately,” she reflects, yet she sees this as an opportunity rather than a foreseen threat. Imagining the potential of automatic task creation, if not completion, she sees the widespread influence AI could indeed have on businesses like Kanbanchi.

However, despite her excitement for technological advances, Olga is keenly aware of, and even concerned about, the social division that could ensue as a byproduct of such advancements. As a resident of Thailand and an active volunteer in impoverished communities, she sees firsthand the illiteracy that plagues nearly 50% of the population she serves.

Balancing her business-oriented vision with a humanistic perspective, Olga contemplates the potential for AI to contribute towards improved educational initiatives for these disadvantaged communities – a stirring reminder that while technology strives to transform businesses, it also harbors the potential to transform human lives. Whether through Kanbanchi or other ventures, one thing seems certain – Olga will continue navigating the digital landscape, ever-watchful for opportunities to drive both innovation and social change.