Gennady Liakhter has been with WSI for five years and helped start the Agency Accelerator Program from the ground up. Through the Program, Gennady continues to empower WSI agencies to scale and grow their businesses. Read about his journey into the world of digital marketing here:
How would you describe yourself?
Tenacious and passionate. Tenacious to the point of stubbornness sometimes because if I buy into an idea, I’ll try my absolute best to see it through to the end. It stems from the fact that if I believe if there’s a big goal to achieve or a problem to solve then you will only get there if’ you’re passionate about it. Nothing worthwhile is easy.
What were you like in high school?
I think I tried to blend in as much as I could, like most people do. I always tried to get good grades because, coming from an Eastern European family, there really wasn’t any other option, haha. With that said, I think I certainly had my rebellious side as well.
I also met some of my best friends in high school, many of which I’m still close with to this day.
How long have you been with WSI?
Going into my 5th year.
What did you do before life at WSI?
Interestingly enough, several years ago, when I finished university, I worked for an international franchise brokerage called MatchPoint. That was where I was first introduced to WSI. In that role, I learned a great deal about franchising and from there, I went on to work within the digital marketing space for a local agency, prior to joining WSI.
Why did you Join WSI?
I think WSI resides in a really interesting space at this intersection of franchising and digital marketing. These are two very different industries with their own set of challenges and areas of opportunity. Being able to work with such an innovative organization that has proven to have the capacity to evolve at such a rapid rate was what really attracted me.
What was your journey like to get where you are today?
It was marked with a lot of hard work.
What has been your biggest accomplishment at WSI?
Building the Agency Accelerator Program from the ground up and getting a chance to see the impact that the Program has had on agencies that wanted to grow and move forward with WSI.
Tell me how you've approached the change that has happened while at WSI?
I’ve always believed that if you’re not changing, then the world might be changing around you and it can leave you behind. Having said that, I have always embraced change and believe it as a necessary way to evolve and improve. Adapting to change is a prerequisite in this industry.
Describe your typical work week?
Given my role, my work week tends to be quite diverse. One day, I could be working internally with teams on various projects. Other days, I could be speaking with prospective franchisees or WSI agencies and coming up with new ways to improve the business through innovative approaches that our agencies and end clients can benefit from.
What is your favorite quote?
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” - Thomas Edison
Do you have any skills or talents that most people don't know about?
I love to cook. I will often spend weekends in the summer BBQing for family and friends.
What type of holidays do you like to take?
I’m definitely not the sit on the beach and tan kind of guy. For me, that’s more of a torture than holiday. I have a pretty short attention span so my vacations are filled with more exploration than anything else. I like to travel to places where I can explore the food and the culture and spend days getting lost in the streets of a city, seeing everything for the first time.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
I love travelling, live music and food. In my spare time, I try and do something that relates to those three things. Also, my girlfriend and I will spend a lot of spare time with our dog Barsa, who is a 3-year-old St Bernard/Poodle mix that can be quite a handful at times. In my spare time, you may find me playing fetch with her in the yard or walking around the trails in my neighborhood.
Could you tell us about an average day in your life?
I think it’s pretty similar to most. During the week, I try and get into a good rhythm where typically work is a huge focus. On the weekends, I’ll spend more time with friends or explore the city.
What do you think are the best skills that you bring to WSI?
My adaptability and the pace at which I can learn.
How would someone get your special attention?
By showcasing value!
Have you read any good books lately?
Yes, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a BLEEP” by Mark Manson.
On a scale of one to 10, how weird are you?
How would you describe yourself in one word?
What goal do you have for yourself that you want to accomplish in the next year?
Revamp my yard. I need to put my landscaper hat on to begin the first stage of a backyard overhaul.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Enjoying a Caesar cocktail in my finished and landscaped backyard, having gained five more years of digital marketing expertise.
What do you hope to achieve in your next position?
As with any position, success!
How has technology changed the way you work?
Technology allows me not just to work hard but most importantly, to work smart.
What would be your personal motto?
You get out what you put in.
If you worked in a restaurant, what role would you want?
If we went to happy hour, what would you order?
That’s an easy one. Either a beer or a Caesar.
If you could be anywhere other than here talking to me - right this minute, where would you be?