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A Rising Star from Russia: Changemaker Polina Moskvina

At 16, Moskvina moved to Canada alone; at 22, she earned her CMP, now she has a prestigious series of policy debates on her resume and no plans to slow down.

MeetingsNet’s annual Changemaker list recognizes 20 outstanding meetings professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways. Find all the profiles here.

Polina Moskvina, CMP

Special Projects Planner
C.D. Howe Institute

For bringing enthusiasm and commitment to executing a series of events on important Canadian public-policy issues that raised the profile of her organization

Making Change
I launched the Regent Debates series where leading thinkers share views in a convivial format and are judged by a panel of leading Canadian public servants, members of parliament, academics, and business leaders. This required developing key processes in financial management, marketing strategy, event logistics, and stakeholder and vendor management. The project elevated the Institute’s reputation in the policy world and created a platform for discussion on issues that are essential to Canada’s future.

What’s Next?
I would like to continue gaining expertise and becoming more involved in events and meetings that build the community and drive positive change. Whether it is a fundraising marathon, an education conference, or a member appreciation gala, seeing an event come to life is rewarding, but witnessing the real outcomes for the participants is absolutely the best part of my job.  

Advice for Peers
A lot of people ask me about moving and getting settled in a different country. When I was 16, I moved to Canada on my own from a small Russian city (located less than 20 miles away from the Chinese border!). I received a full-tuition scholarship to Hudson College, a private school in Toronto, after winning an essay contest for international students. Thankfully, my family was very supportive. This life-changing contest proved to me that everything happens for the best. A few months before, I participated in a similar program for a U.S. scholarship but was not selected. Now I work for the most-awarded Canadian think tank, make friends from all over the world, and met my fiancé here. So, whenever a disappointment sets you back, there is always something better ahead if you keep trying. 

The practical and psychological challenges I went through were totally worth the gains, and I am always open to sharing my experience with new immigrants.  

Thinking Differently
I have always liked to plan gatherings, even as a child at school and summer camps. I enjoyed being “behind the scenes” brainstorming and organizing a lot more than performing on the stage. When I had to decide what I would love to do for a living, event planning was a very natural choice. I was fortunate to land two event internships during my college program and a full-time position right after its completion. I applied for CMP certification as soon as I became eligible, and earned the designation when I was 22.

Role Model 
I don’t believe in role models as I think everyone’s path is unique, and it is really easy to cross the line between looking up to someone and mimicking the steps they have taken to succeed. That can really take you in the wrong direction. I do believe that people can and should inspire you, though. One of those people is my mom. After she spent 30 years as a university professor, she decided to start a non-profit that helps senior citizens acquire new skills, socialize, and lead an active lifestyle. She is my personal Changemaker champion.

Got a Spare Hour?
I love my Kindle e-reader and try to read every day no matter how busy I am. My favorite books are The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and The Two Captains by Veniamin Kaverin. However, recently I have been mostly reading non-fiction, such as psychology, business, history, and politics. I finished The True Story of Fake News by Mark Dice in one weekend after witnessing a conversation on the topic and wanting to learn more. 


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