Alisa Simonenko, CEO ReForma 2018-04-09
Shape Your Mind

At first glance, student life seems easy and carefree, but almost every student knows that it is too good to be true. At almost every university, students face several problems in their personal and academic lives, including sleep deprivation, struggles with classes and, especially, an unhealthy lifestyle and diet. I was a student myself and still remember how hard it was to maintain a healthy diet.

Since childhood, I’d indulge in nightly feasts, especially during visits to her grandma and watched the TV set all night long. As the habits from childhood are hard to get rid of, the situation hadn’t changed before I came to realize that I need to be healthy and beautiful. I promised myself to start my life from the stretch: start doing fitness (and didn’t do it), stop eating chocolate (and kept eating), start exercising in the mornings (and kept staying in bed). People often tend to make promises, but then break them and even suffer from it. Alisa wasn’t an exception. However, if one wants something desperately, they will always find a way to achieve it. Alisa claims that her desire to become a better version of herself made her interested in a healthy lifestyle. I had many examples of celebrities like Angelina Jolie or Mark Zuckerberg, who led busy lifestyles while pursuing their passions, while also remaining fit. So I decided to see if I was able to do it as well. I arrived at the idea that if I want to achieve something, I should start with herself: with my body, with my attitude towards myself, with my habits and my entourage.  

I consider Reforma an essential part of myself. I’m convinced that a brand is the soul of its creator, and reflects something, which is important for him or her. For a while I was looking for an opportunity to give something to the world, and after a two-year search I realized what I care most about is self-improvement. As I started thinking about the complexities of self-improvement, I started seeking the best specialists and decided to create a project which applies the scientific research done by the Psychological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences and the Sechenov Medical University.

Alisa believes that for creating a brand, one doesn’t have to possess specialized knowledge. According to Alisa, life experiences and the ways one knows the world matter more. Alisa is sure that the HSE has given her me so much experience that I can’t compare it to even quarter of the information she got from the lectures. I’m definitely very proud to have studied there, because I believe that HSE students always want to do something greater than they can. The university provided me with systematic thinking and the skill to achieve good results, no matter how hard it could be. Of course, the challenges we face today are far more serious than Economics exams, for instance, but I’m absolutely sure that if it hadn’t been for getting accustomed to handling smaller challengers like exams, I would never have been able to shoulder as big challenges as Reforma.

Having lived in the HSE Dormitory in Odintsovo I enjoyed socializing with her friends, and successfully found a balance between partying and studying. Due to my dormitory experience I never feel rejected in any company and these days I am able to communicate with people well, which is always appreciated in business.  

I believe that Masters degrees are very useful to have, even though I haven’t finished my Masters and managed to acquire a well-paid position without it. However,  many of my friends got the job of their dreams only after they had written their Masters Thesis. In some cases it might be necessary, but of course, it also depends on each person and their decisions. 

Reforma has gone through four so-called “pivots”. Now, it is an educational project, which teaches people how to eat right and keep fit. It inspired people to take thought on what is more important for them: to eat fresh and healthy or “fill themselves up” with burgers. Surprisingly, even though almost every person wants a plate of salad more than a burger, he or she still keep consuming burgers. Ronald the clown was able to “convince” everyone. Unfortunately, healthy lifestyle is not widespread among huge Russian companies. This novelty has just appeared, and large companies are not ready to invest in “green” consumption, but some giants, such as Rosneft and Gazpromneft, already invited out team to carry out several workshops.

Keeping a healthy lifestyle should be a personal decision. I’ve never interfered with anyone’s personal affairs and prefer working only with those who seek her help. Reforma motivates people to follow her ideas only by setting an example herself and by giving useful practical advice, which can “work its magic” really fast.

From my experience the most arguable question is if one should stop eating after 6 pm. I believe, they should if they go to bed at 9 pm like they did in the past when the electricity was cut down, but if one is a student, who finishes his last essay at 2 am at best, a light snack even at midnight is acceptable.