Blogs | 4 May 2021

Building a Career at C4T: Oksana Bulda, Lead Legal Content

Oksana was born and raised in Ukraine, where she earned her law and English philology degrees. She worked for legal departments of multinational corporations, first in pharmaceuticals, then for Mondelez International, and then for an IT company that deals with blockchain technology. “I was initially attracted to IT because it is gaining ground in the legal domain. There are now chatbots that can predict court decisions, register trademarks, and provide you with a perfectly tailored contract template in seconds, without the need for a lawyer. I decided that understanding technology and adapting to the changes is the key to success in my profession.”

Career blog legal content Oksana

Oksana was enjoying a successful career as a lawyer in Ukraine when she decided to advance her studies in Belgium. She chose Ghent University, one of the top 100 universities worldwide, and successfully graduated with an LLM degree in International Business Law.

“Studying abroad was one of my biggest dreams. I have always believed that education is the best investment one can make. It was such a great experience and I am really glad I decided to take this path, despite the fact that it was not easy. I was combining my studies with remote work for an IT company and a Dutch language course. Switching back to the student life was also a big change and, at the same time, the greatest experience from educational, cultural, and social perspectives.”

After graduation, Oksana had the option to stay with the company she had continued to work for during her studies, but she wanted to explore local opportunities since she was building a life in Belgium. “I saw a post on LinkedIn for Customs4trade and checked the company website. As soon as I read about the work environment and company values, including gender equality, sustainability, innovation, and diversity, I applied for a job. During my first interview with Ilse, she asked why I was looking for a new job. It felt very sincere. I said that I was looking for a company which would become not only my workplace but also a community, and Customs4trade’s approach and position made me feel like they could be.”

Oksana had experience bridging law and IT and she was willing to learn, which was exactly what C4T was looking for to build and lead the new Legal Content team. “Customs4trade proposed a unique opportunity for me to learn about something new—customs—and work in an international environment to become a member of the community I was looking for, so I accepted the offer.”

When Oksana joined C4T in September last year, most team members were working remotely due to the pandemic and the entire company was extremely busy with Brexit quickly approaching. On top of that, she was tasked with founding a new department that had never before existed at C4T. Her success depended on one of C4T’s core values, initiative. Oksana immediately set to work building relationships and processes to integrate her department with the rest of the organisation. “During my first weeks, I was carefully listening and observing, meeting with different departments and defining the possible ways of working. Luckily, there was a short period when we were able to meet in the office face to face, so I organized some chats to get to know my colleagues, as this is important to how my department functions. We keep track of all legal changes by gathering, analysing, and communicating information to stakeholders. For example, on the IT side, there may be data set or system changes. On the legal side, requirements shift constantly. This involves a lot of learning and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from high-level professionals in this domain. For example, we closely cooperate with our Customs Director, Rudi Du Bois from the Expert Services team, who has unique experience and knowledge in customs.”

Oksana’s goal is to build a strong and valuable team. Sjors was the first addition in December and Mette joined recently “Transparency and trust are my main drivers to grow and develop the team. I am able to act independently and have the possibility to make a difference, whether that means launching a new project, setting goals, executing tasks, or establishing growth paths for my team members both professionally and personally. There is also the opportunity to work on other enrichment initiatives, such as creating a Dutch speaking club and others.”

Oksana still keeps close ties to Ukraine. She volunteers for NGO Promote Ukraine by organising various campaigns about gender equality in politics, cybersecurity, war in the East of Ukraine, and much more. “Volunteering helps me stay connected with my country and even if I am far away, I can still take action.”

What’s next? “Right before the second lockdown we met in the office and Pieter told us a story about how Customs4trade all started. It was so inspiring. I’m looking forward to being back in the office environment and having these personal interactions.”

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