This Friday, The Big Meet is hosting an evening of networking and connection at Milano Torino Vermuteria on March 15 (the Ides of March). In preparation for the event, Kyiv Post met with The Big Meet’s Olga Kearly, along with Sam Aganov the director of the Doctor Sam medical clinic – the organization’s new partner and benefactor of this week’s gathering of locals and expats.

As Kearly highlighted the upcoming event, we learned what a vermuteria is; simply stated, it is to vermouth what a pizzeria is to pizza. She also introduced us to Dr. Sam Aganov, the founder of a modern state-of-the-art clinic that has recently opened in Kyiv. He told us about overcoming difficulties caused by the events ongoing in Ukraine and about the clinic’s plans to grow.

For immediate information about attending the event, look in the link here.

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First, congratulations to you and The Big Meet on celebrating your 6th anniversary last month! How did the celebration go, and what were some of the highlights of the event?

It was such a heartwarming celebration! We were absolutely thrilled to have so many of our dear friends join us to mark this special occasion. Seeing familiar faces mingling with new ones created such a warm and welcoming atmosphere. And having diplomatic guests there added an extra touch of significance to the evening.

It truly highlighted the significance of The Big Meet as a platform for fostering connections and bringing people together from diverse backgrounds. Seeing our community come together in such a meaningful way reaffirmed the importance of the relationships we’ve built over the past six years here in Kyiv and the impact our events have on creating lasting bonds.

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Of the injured, four are children, two under one-year-old, while the other two are aged nine and twelve.

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Building on our discussion, tell us more about Milano Torino Vermuteria, the venue where the next event will be hosted. What unique qualities make it the choice of location for The Big Meet this time?

Absolutely! The beauty of The Big Meet lies in the unexpected connections waiting to be made, and Milano Torino Vermuteria perfectly embodies this spirit. Did you know that it’s the first vermuteria in Ukraine? Situated on the corner of Khreshchatyk and Prorizna street, it offers cocktails based on vermouths and bitters.

The owners are on a mission to change the perception of vermouths in Ukraine, aiming to move away from the association with just New Year’s celebrations and Martini Bianco. The name itself originates from the vermouth’s homeland in northern Italy, and the developers of the concept made multiple visits to Turin and Milan to ensure authenticity and a true taste of Italian culture.

And it’s truly exciting bringing The Big Meet crowd there – opening up new places like Milano Torino Vermuteria, places that both locals and expats might not yet be familiar with. For us, it’s all about expanding horizons and creating memorable experiences for everyone involved.

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Well, it sounds like an interesting evening in the making. We’ve heard you started the year with a new partnership for The Big Meet. Could you share more about this new collaboration and how it contributes to the ongoing success and growth of The Big Meet events?

Indeed, our new partnership is with our beloved Sam Aganov and his clinic Doctor Sam. When he reached out to us and we reunited, it felt like a big family reunion. We had worked closely with Sam and his team for years before the war disrupted our plans.

I’ve always believed in connecting with people, not just the brands or companies they represent, and Sam is a dear friend to us. We’re incredibly excited to promote his clinic at The Big Meet and continue our journey together.

Honestly, everyone must visit Doctor Sam’s clinic as it truly represents the state of the medical art. I can’t help but rave about the innovative features, like the self-cleaning handles, which truly set it apart.

Sam has always been known as an innovator, clinics he has opened in the past were the first in Ukraine to receive the Joint Commission International (JCI) quality assurance gold medal standard, which is a testament to his commitment to excellence. So, it’s an honor to promote such a reputable and forward-thinking establishment at The Big Meet.

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Dr. Aganov, congratulations on the opening of your new clinics in the middle of the full-scale war – that’s no easy feat. What can you say about having the Doctor Sam clinic open now?

Thank you. We’re very excited to come back to Ukraine, this project’s been a long time coming.

We’ve started planning to develop our medical network before 2022 and, when the war exploded, we had – as did everyone else – to adjust our plans and reassess the situation. That having been said, we never really questioned whether to return – for us, it was simply a question of when. At times like these, one can never be certain, but we have faith in Ukraine and when the war is over, we want to celebrate Ukraine’s victory here, in Kyiv.

Since the opening, many of Doctor Sam’s doctors and many of our patients have returned to us, and that gives us a lot of confidence that we’re doing the right thing. Needless to say, we feel grateful, fortunate, and honored to be part of this wonderful community.

What sets Doctor Sam clinics apart from others in the healthcare field? And, looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of Doctor Sam clinics?

I think, at the end of the day, it will be our clients who determine what sets us apart. What I can tell you now is that we’re fanatical about three things: quality of medical care we provide to our patients, level of service we extend to your employees and our clients, and continuous improvement within our ever-growing team. Provided we stay focused on all three, I believe we will be able to offer our clients exceptional experience.

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As for our aspirations, we hope to earn the trust of our clients and expand our network to include centers that specialize in medical care, as well as mental health. Our medical centers will include a wide spectrum of specialties, from pediatric care to adult and geriatric medicine. And our mental health branch will offer both psychological help and coaching.

As an expat in Kyiv, how do you perceive the current business landscape and the potential impact of events like The Big Meet on local businesses?

The most challenging and, at the same time, the most exciting thing about the current business landscape in Kyiv is that it is in a state of constant and rapid change.

I’d even say, the most important skill of an executive right now is not the ability to plan and execute, as it has been in the past.

Instead, the most valued asset in the arsenal of an executive right now is the ability to spot, recognize, and anticipate new trends and to continuously adjust, realign, and reinvent your business strategy.

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In that sense, Big Meet is a huge resource – it offers the chance to stay in touch with people from all walks of life, to hear different perspectives on what’s taking place around you, and to give and receive support from your peers. Doctor Sam’s been part of Big Meet from its inception and we’re looking forward to many more years of collaboration and friendship.

Kyiv Post asked Kearly if she had any parting words following our interviews. She sent us this invitation for our readers:

Step into the vibrant atmosphere of Little Italy, right here in the heart of Kyiv! The Big Meet invites you to join us all for an unforgettable evening of networking and connection at Milano Torino Vermuteria on March 15.

As the premier networking event for both expats and locals in Kyiv, The Big Meet promises an engaging and enriching experience like no other. Come and be a part of the #1 networking event in the city, join here.

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