Royal Holloway alum. CEO & Founder of bissfest.
He believes that a deep desire for independence he carries within himself is what fuels his drive for perpetual self-improvement.
Sergey Walter believes that a deep desire for independence he carries within himself is what fuels his drive for perpetual self-improvement.
Sergey Walter. Royal Holloway alum. CEO & Founder of bissfest.
When I arrived at bissfest on the seventeenth of June last year for our interview, their busy CEO was arched over a table with a phone in his right hand. He was wearing a sky-blue polo shirt that parallelled the enthusiastic Berlin skies that sunny afternoon. I could peep his silhouette on arrival. One of the two massively tall windows on the office front framed the sharp-jawed Sergey Walter to people passing by and myself as a stoic but competent figure of immeasurable purpose.
The mission that afternoon was to secure a new client he had been trying to enlist for months as I later learned. While his life as a chief executive officer is dominated by client calls, endless board meetings, etc. business acceleration, and growth maximization are some of the most constant subjects on the CEO’s mind. We talked about his life in Russia, his family, the newly rebranded bissfest, the community he keeps around and about what home is to him theses days. The very resolute CEO gushes about Russia.
He takes pride in sharing his unwavering love for his childhood home. He insists it is the place that formed him into the person he is today. Namely; a family man, a husband, a brother, and a companion. He sees the country as one that gave him his character, the values he lives by, his respect for tradition, and his understanding and definition of family. Another country that has meant a lot to him is Germany. Sergey recognizes Germany as the bedrock of stability in his life. That stability he believes came with a certain independence of spirit which he wishes to pass down to his children and grandchildren in the future. His future in Germany has accorded him a new understanding of the term home, which he now defines as “exclusively separate from any and every idea of place”.
Home to him is everything relating to a person and people. That person to him at this moment is his wife. He finds serenity and balance in his life with her. Home to him now is really about love and not place. He remarks that the idea of home as a concept tied to one place is a notion he has divested from. Now, his understanding of home is grounded in something more emotionally rooted – in the calm nature of life itself and the things the revolve around it. Sergey revealed that some of the earlier years of his youth were marked by what he believes to have been the „aftermath of immigration“. It manifested through an amnesia of sorts that cause him to loos certain childhood memories.
He said that this state of uncertainty caused him to disengage with the memories of who he used to be, memories of his childhood friends, and the life he had led before his departure to Germany. He revealed that his departure to Germany came as a surprise to the twelve-year-old boy he was at the time. He remarked shortly after that the initial plan was to stay in Berlin for approximately two weeks. But then, the plan changed quite swiftly. To him, the transition wasn’t as smooth as his parents had anticipated. He feels very indebted to his parents. He is very grateful for their efforts and the role they continue to play in his life. He states that his parents have been beacons of light in his life from infancy. He credits his mother with teaching him some of the core values he practices today. Responsibility, steadfastness, and devotion are some of the things he learned from her.
His dad on the other hand he explains was invested in their lives from another perspective. He was a provider who worked tirelessly to keep their family together. Watching his parents work everyday jobs taught him to dare to dream. It also taught him the lesson that hard work pays off in the end. That „no one becomes anything worthwhile“, overnight. He understood very early on that independence was the route he must embark on to guarantee himself true freedom. He talked about how standing on his own two feet for better or for worse is something he is proud of himself for doing. That deep desire for independence he carries within is what fuels his drive for perpetual self-improvement. He wants his siblings to be able to look up to him and see the endless possibilities of believing in one’s self. He wants them to believe, to see, to manifest, and to walk in their true potentials.
When it comes to what he sees of his reflection, he was very candid about the fact when he takes the time to looks at himself, he sees someone who isn’t “doing enough”. Enough to him would be to live an even more purposeful life. A life that includes others. One that if it was to all end today, he would say “it was worth it”. He is building that sense of worth by rallying talented, smart, and kind people around him. Community is very central in his life. He experiences it in his relationships, with his family, friends – in how he walks in the world with others, and in the kinds of people, he keeps around him. He notes that in many ways bissfest is a community to him. Its people are from all over the world. They are a unique group of young and enthusiastic individuals of different ethnicities. They bring varying experiences, points of view, cultures, and traditions that unite in harmony.
He asserts that community is the next thing to a family in how the members within such a system are all collectively invested in sharing both the positive and the negative. As our conversation comes to a close, Sergey reiterates that wanting to build a community is one of the reasons why he founded the firm. In the conversation about the importance of community, he centers the women in his life. He makes space for the women with whom he found the firm. He explains that it was the women who gave the company the structure it now has. He talks about looking at a future that welcomes more women to this business as clients and as leaders.