‘Every little step can make a difference in the fight against stigma’
Maria Losyukova, ESG & Sustainability Lead, shares her experiences, challenges, and triumphs when navigating the intricate landscape of ESG initiatives.
In this interview, ESG & Sustainability Lead Maria Losyukova shares her views on what she believes is at the heart of her role; the significant projects under her leadership, and the profound significance of maintaining a delicate balance between corporate success and a steadfast commitment to the well-being of society and the environment.
In 2017, I embarked on my professional path at Kaspersky. Before that, I got a university degree in journalism, but swiftly opted for PR and communications as my primary focus. Over the years, I gained extensive experience in comms agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
and a string of diverse communication projects — that's how I'd sum up my experience with Kaspersky
Maria Losyukova, ESG & Sustainability Lead
Initially, I took on the role of communications manager at the CEO’s office. Before joining the company, I found IT and cybersecurity to be complicated topics and was not sure if I was the right fit for this industry. However, over time, I realized that this belief was just a stereotype — not only from my own perspective about the industry but, unfortunately, a widespread misconception among many women interested in working in IT. I used to believe that, people that are more inclined toward humanitarian sciences, shouldn’t work in IT. However, after six years, I can confidently say that choosing this path was one of the best decisions of my professional life. While there are undoubtedly specific challenges in this field, every business comes with its complexities. There is also a piece of the pie for us “humanities folks”. We can bring our skills and knowledge to help the industry develop and there’s definitely no need to fear trying a path in IT or any other industry for that matter. Every business requires individuals skilled in strategic planning, effective writing, and creativity.
I have immense respect for the women working in our technical and R&D departments. I’m delighted that in my six years of work, their number has increased and continues to grow, their presence has grown even visibly in the office. It’s an honor to work with them and learn from them! I encourage women who may be hesitating, thinking that IT is too intimidating and incomprehensible for them — it’s definitely worth taking the chance. IT is an incredibly promising and quickly developing industry. And it doesn’t just need professionals with a technical background, but many other talented professionals as well.
I firmly believe that women should embrace any industry without fear, as skilled professionals are valuable in every field
My main mission is to give colleagues the opportunity to help others, to be a bridge between them and the non-profit organizations that need their support
In 2022, I took on role of head of communications at the CEO’s office. Additionally, I started overseeing sustainability projects within the company. I feel that ESG is a field that you should approach first and foremost with your heart. And, of course, I am thrilled to have the chance to pursue my passion, support outstanding non-profit organizations, and provide individuals within the company with an opportunity to contribute to sustainable development projects.
Kaspersky is made up of very passionate and caring people. I always say that none of our calls or initiatives go unanswered. Be it fundraising, recycling, blood donations or pro bono activities, there is a big group of corporate volunteers ready to pursue any challenge!
A common challenge in social initiatives is that although people have the desire to help, they often don’t know exactly how to contribute. Some people lack trust in NGOs, and for others, providing regular financial support to charitable activities may not be feasible. Yet, I consistently emphasize that money is not the only way to be helpful and impact a charitable foundation profoundly in a way that can affect its success – hands on support, professional expertise (volunteering pro bono) or even just word-of-mouth promotion are enough. Similarly, NGOs don’t always know what to ask for or how others can assist them. With each foundation we try to meet up regularly and discuss how we as an organization can help them meet their goals.
A great example of a project where very simple pro bono help has had a major impact is our work with our long-time partner, the “Syndrome of love” charitable foundation, which helps families raising children with Down’s Syndrome. In 2023, our team of designers updated the landing page for their fundraising campaign. Our design team made the website more user-friendly and modern. It was quite an easy task for them, but for the foundation, this small action made a very significant difference – during the next campaign period, “Syndrome of love” raised over a million rubles in just a matter of days, a milestone they had never reached in previous one-off campaigns. Therefore, I see it as my team’s mission to facilitate connections between those willing to help and those who need help. And every action, every little step, matters along the way.
Certainly, there are projects that hold a special place in my heart. For instance, we contribute to a crisis center, dedicated to supporting victims of domestic violence, funding the rental of apartments to shelter those in need of protection and safety. In addition, through a pilot initiative, we have been able to provide them with TinyCheck — a tool developed at Kaspersky that checks for stalkerware on the mobile phones of potential victims. Unfortunately, partners who engage in abuse often use such tactics to monitor the movements, messages, and control the lives of their family members. I am pleased that we can assist the victims with both physical protection through shelters and cybersecurity protection through TinyCheck.
For a second consecutive year, together with the intercommunication team, we have created an awareness-building online project devoted to our colleagues living and working with disabilities. Our aim is to help draw attention to issues of inclusion at the workplace, to fight stereotypes and share some very inspiring stories. Our primary goal in this project is to combat stigma, share experiences, and encourage others to be kinder and more tolerant.
You can learn more about our other important ESG projects and activities in Kaspersky’s first Sustainability report, of which I am very proud, as we were able to highlight many great initiatives implemented by the company.
At the same time, I have to say that while it may seem that all our projects are as positive and uplifting as pink unicorns, endlessly kind and bright, behind these projects often lies hours of routine work. And yes, our team can experience burnout in the sense that achieving these bright and positive results requires a long and tedious journey that can be quite monotonous – logistical efforts, data gathering, organizational difficulties or miscommunication. Like many others, I encounter burnout at times when my energy is nearly depleted and fatigue sets in, making it feel like life revolves solely around home and work, work and home. This, too, is a reality no one can dismiss. However, I believe it’s important to listen to yourself, realize that sometimes it’s ok to need more rest or physical activity; sometimes just take time to get some fresh air, and occasionally completely disconnect from work thoughts. Allowing yourself to escape mentally into the weekend or finding ways to recover from burnout is crucial.
I am the mother of two girls, so that is also a full-fledged second job
Children, of course, demand time and energy, and there’s other family members — my husband, mum and parents-in-law. I think every woman, especially working mothers, grapples with the persistent feeling of guilt – juggling motherhood, work, social life and personal wellbeing. And there is no one-size-fits-all scenario. For some, working from home is more comfortable, while others find solace in escaping to the office and then returning home — perhaps feeling a bit homesick but fully recharged and eager to connect with their family. Finding your own balance is crucial, and it’s definitely not a straightforward task.
But, all in all, I am very lucky. My work, and particularly the involvement in the sustainable development projects, is a big source of joy, constantly bringing new experiences, new challenges and new victories. I love the fact that I am able to help others through my work and my skills. And, at the end of the day, all the efforts are worth it.