166: Galina Russell (REEF Technology)

Galina Russell on Innovation City

“It goes back to my childhood. It goes back to the definition of gratitude. And that’s been I would say the motivating factor that made a difference in what I could have been and where I am today.” – Galina Russell

Welcome to Season 3 of Innovation City, a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Galina Russell, Managing Director of REEF Technology and COO of REEF Energy Division, a tech startup transforming under-utilized urban spaces into local neighborhood hubs. Prior to REEF, Galina directed projects for multiple Fortune 100 companies. She takes pride in being a self-starter, is fluent in several languages and is active in supporting youth in foster care. In this episode, Galina sits down with the team to discuss how she connects with her work, staying motivated to chase her ambitions, the importance of gathering and understanding data, REEF’s potential to help communities on a global scale, and much more!

They discuss:

  • Being passionate about gratitude
    • Motivated by her childhood in an orphanage in Russia
    • Came to the U.S. as a 12-year-old
    • Struggling with fitting into a new culture taught her to adapt quickly
  • Connecting to the work
  • Mentoring other women
    • Empowering younger women
    • Finding identity as a woman in a leadership role
  • What REEF is and does
    • Spaces that can become more useful
    • Neighborhoods that are disadvantaged in one way or another
    • Hubs of localized economic activity
  • The importance of data and digitization
    • Understanding the community and its needs
    • Attracting businesses
    • Matchmaking community needs and goods and services
  • REEF has 4500+ locations
    • Began as a parking operator
    • Reaches 70 percent of urban consumers
    • Also has operations in Europe
    • Modular solutions, micro-hubs
  • Galina’s background in management consulting and analytics
  • Innovating an old model to solve problems
  • Get in touch with Galina: www.reeftechnology.com, Galina Russell on LinkedIn

Lightning Round:

  1. What is your perfect day?
    • I get up early, by choice, I have time to read. Removing constraints of time.
  2. If money was not an issue, how would you spend your time?
    • Volunteering. I would travel to remote places in extreme poverty and volunteer in any way possible.
  3. Who are your heroes
    • Historically, Madam C.J. Walker, civil rights activists, Oprah, my mother
  4. What moves you to tears or gives you goosebumps?
    • Other than those save a child or save a puppy commercials? Seeing small acts of kindness, especially in extreme poverty.