Chivas The Venture Finalist, Entrepreneur Agneiszka Osytek


Agnieszka Osytek took a deeply personal and a huge financial risk when she took out a loan to rescue the business Migam from bankruptcy. 

Based in Poland, Migam is a company that eliminates communication barriers between people who cannot hear and those who do.

Agnieszka is the co-founder and global country manager of Migam’s remote service that provides live video translation – via a web browser and mobile app – for communication between a deaf person and a translator.

She is also one of 27 finalists out of 2500 entrepreneur applicants for the Chivas – The Venture, a competition with a $1 million fund for startups with the goal to transform the world.

chivas the venture home page

The Venture Final Pitch takes place this week, on the July 14, 2016. 

about chivas the venture

We asked Agnieszka about her career path and how she became a leader. 

Agnieszka started her career as an interpreter and then decided to invest everything into the startup Migam because she deeply believed in its mission. She shared with us her transition from working as an interpreter to taking on leadership and management in the growing company.

In the Beginning 

Agnieszka: “Before I became a sign language interpreter and joined Migam, I was working as a therapist for young people with behavioral disorders. To make myself ready for this difficult job, I completed a round of personal training which developed deep self-awareness and my ability to understand and communicate with myself – my needs, my fears, my emotional reactions. This training and development prepared me work well with my clients, who often were unable to communicate their emotions either with themselves or with those in their environment.”

Skills for Confidence 

Agnieszka: “Because of the communications skills that I developed as a therapist, I was confident in taking over Migam’s business contacts on top of my regular work as a sign language interpreter.”

Career and Development Path

Agnieszka: “I became a Project Manager using those same listening and talking skills. I furthered my skills by learning from Migam business clients and system developers. Then I positioned myself between direct client contact and development feedback by working as an interpreter and relaying feedback to the system developers. This helped me develop a wide, full understanding on the value of Migam’s work and development.”

Migam agnieszka

When Migam’s CEO started to receive emails in English, she was able to say, “ I’ll take care of that.” 

“By taking on this responsibility, I heard about and applied for a two-year business training opportunity from ELITE growth program at the London Stock Exchange. I started learning the theory of organizational culture, building business strategy for fast growing companies and analyzing possible scaling models. I was able to discuss ideas with other business CEOs as mentors and tutors, and then work on the best practice solutions for Migam.”

Stepping Up into Leadership

By repeatedly positioning herself to access learning opportunities, and by being willing to step up to any task, Agnieszka made herself invaluable to the growth and future of her company. Her personal, financial, emotional, and professional investment throughout the difficult and growing phases of Migam brought her into a position where she is now able to have the satisfaction of seeing a mission she believes in go global.

Management and Personal Insights 

Discussing how she manages her position, Agnieszka shared insights from one of her first professional mentors.

“I used to feel a huge pressure to fulfill every single need of Migam. I would never give myself even a short break without feeling guilty. My mentor, at the time told me, that in taking on a key position at Migam my work had to go in two opposite directions: 1) creation, and 2) execution. He explained to me that those two directions are equally important but that it is impossible for anybody to be able to cover both in the same time.

“Why? Because this is how our brains work: for creation we use one hemisphere and for execution we use another one. To be creative, we need to drop the execution part of work for a while, cultivate rest, take care of personal pleasure and happiness. In that self care, we organize the best circumstances for having creative ideas and solutions.”

“Once we have given the creative side space it needs, then its time to make a plan and focus on its execution – which for me means working on it as hard as hell.”

Connect with Agnieszka on Twitter and read more about Migam’s innovative business model.

Charlotte Cline-Smith

PR & Communications Manager

Cross-cultural consultant. ESL Professional. Writer. Editor. Working to share stories and grow together across cultures and communities.