It’s perhaps not surprising that people who have overcome challenges in their life are also some of the people most interesting in giving back to others. After experiencing hardship firsthand, these individuals are often motivated by wanting to lighten the burden for others and help them find a way to overcome challenges in their own lives. To explore this concept further, we’ve turned our attention to the work of Oleg Firer. The CEO of Net Element has had a lengthy career that has not only encompassed his share of triumphs over adversity, but also has included efforts to give back to those in need. Read on for a closer look.
To understand some of the motivation for the later charitable work by Oleg Firer, it can first be helpful to see some of the challenges he overcame early in his life. When the future entrepreneur was just 12, his family opted to leave the Soviet Union and make new lives for themselves in the West. After a journey that was difficult in its own right, he and his parents eventually made their way to New York City. There, they opted to settle in Brooklyn to begin their new lives.
That first chapter in the young boy’s life in the U.S. was not without its difficulties. As a recent refugee, he found himself struggling to connect with many aspects of his adopted culture. He was tasked with learning a new language, making new friends, and navigating a new city at a particularly vulnerable time in life. He was also trying to keep up with his studies during this time and figure out potential career paths in his new home. Though these challenges were immense, he was able to navigate them with the help of a natural aptitude for learning and an ability to adapt his skills to the needs of his surroundings.
The early challenges he faced when first arriving in the U.S. ultimately helped prepare the entrepreneur for challenges down the line in his career. One example of this came when he was hired as a sales person at a franchise electronics store at the age of 15. Though hired into an entry-level position, the young businessman had his eyes set on proving his worth and advancing within the company. He committed to completing his responsibilities admirably and showed a predilection for leadership and a natural business acumen. As a result, he was soon promoted and, by the age of 17, he was the youngest General Manager at any of the company’s many locations.
The opportunity to persevere in the face of a challenge would surface again later in his professional life, this time when he had already gone into business for himself in the field of wireless supply. That first endeavor proved to be an early success and began to take more and more of the entrepreneur’s time. Eventually, it got to the point where the company was his main source of income and he had plans to expand and build off of the momentum he had created.
However, before he could make good on those plans, a high-profile bankruptcy of his major wireless communications partner caused ripple effects and damage to the business. Many businesses were forced to close, including the one created by the entrepreneur. What had seemed to be such a promising opportunity evaporated relatively quickly. For many people, it would have been a spirit-crushing blow that might have forced them to leave the field of business altogether. For the entrepreneur, however, it served as an important lesson on the power of diversification. It would be a lesson that he would carry with him as he moved forward with other business ventures.
In his work as CEO of Net Element, the businessman has shown just how deeply he has internalized this message of diversification. His company is known as a leader in the payment processing field and has also distinguished itself in many other related spaces. This has included work in the foodservice industry as a creator of point of sale software and also work in the retail industry. The work has helped set the company apart and make its name synonymous with quality in its space.
But the businessman hasn’t been satisfied to stay within the narrow confines of his field, as has been evidenced by a recently announced merger with another company that manufactures electric cars. With the merger, the businessman has not only signaled his ability to maintain a diversified vision for his company and preserve shareholder value in the turbulent COVID-19 times, but he has also underscored his commitment to work that can help build a brighter future for communities around the world. With the new foray into electric cars, the company is showing that it is committed to supporting technologies that can help fight climate change and create more sustainable modes of transportation.
In addition to the recently announced merger, the businessman has also shown his understanding of the importance of being socially conscious through his philanthropic work. One of the ways this has manifested is through the creation of his charitable organization — The Firer Family Charitable Foundation.
The organization’s main goal is to strive “to fulfill the goals of its founders in strengthening educational, cultural and spiritual opportunities, promoting and protecting children’s health, and supporting families in need.” This work includes a range of scholarship programs, professional development programs, and family assistance initiatives. The foundation also engages in community giving centered around the Jewish community to help those in need find greater access to opportunity.
For many people, it makes sense that those who have encountered the greatest levels of hardship in their lives are also those most committed to coming to the aid of others. To further explore this concept, it can be helpful to look to the example set by those who have overcome challenges and the actions they are undertaking to contribute to helping others in their own struggles. The above overview of the life and work of Oleg Firer provides a clear example of how this work can manifest in practice. Look to the work of the Net Element CEO in his professional life and charitable endeavors to see how some of the world’s most successful people feel compelled to give back.