From Disney to Empowerment: How Polina Ruvinsky is Building Her Own "magic kingdom" for Women.

entrepreneur women's rights Apr 01, 2024
Polina Ruvinsky headshot

As a software engineering leader and single parent based in Seattle, Polina Ruvinsky knows the value of hard work, resilience, and initiative. Her dedication led her to leave a dream position at Disney to pursue an innovative idea that fosters unity among women. That idea became “HypeHQ”, a new community. 

Polina, how did you find your passion? 
I always had close female friendships, but it wasn’t until I started a women's group in my workplace, that I discovered that I could connect and empower women at work and beyond. It was definitely an “aha” moment for me. Until I took the plunge and started our community, I tended to wait for others to take charge. When I stopped waiting and took action, it was a whole different feeling, because I saw that I could inspire and connect women. As a result, we all felt empowered.

What was happening in your life when you began to discover this passion?
 I was a software engineering leader at Disney Seattle. My job was fast-paced and stressful and in some ways also frustrating and unfulfilling. I found that connecting with other women at work  filled my cup and restored my energy. These were women who were going through similar experiences, many of them were also working moms with young children. I was raising my toddler son on my own, and I didn't even have enough time to realize how much I needed this until I had it. Our office held occasional women's events, and I eagerly awaited these events. Without that dedicated time, it was difficult to carve out time to connect in meaningful ways.

How did you take action on your passion?
 It didn't take long for me to realize that I was finding my work with our women's group more fulfilling than my regular job. I carved out the time to plan and execute events, and build relationships, no matter what else was going on. I just did it, period. Before long other women joined me and we were a team. That helped tremendously! I also had supportive leaders at work who encouraged me or at least didn't discourage me. After a few years, and a job change, I decided I wanted to do this work full-time.

Where have you needed to invest your time, energy and resources?
Once I left my job, I had to refocus my resources. I had to become much more frugal, but that didn't feel like a sacrifice because I knew I was living my purpose. The good news is that now I invest my time and energy in ways that are more aligned with my values and core self. I spend lots of time building relationships and problem-solving, two things I love to do. I feel so much more creative every day, and the flexibility of my days is such a relief compared to the rigidity of corporate life.

How do you overcome self doubt as you build HypeHQ?
Financing your own business is stressful – I worry about money at times, but I'm getting better at pulling myself out of that rabbit hole. Learning to manage your fear takes mental discipline and for me, that's a work in progress. I spiral sometimes but that simply gives me an opportunity to evaluate my options, and that helps to shake me out of it. As soon as I consider whether I might give up living my purpose every day, I know I can only move forward and find a way to make my business succeed. It feels good to trust that I CAN make it work.

How has your passion helped others? 
For me this is key, connecting and empowering women is my passion for the very reason that it helps others. My vision with HypeHQ is that through amplifying each other's ideas and accomplishments, we will raise the tide for all women. As my passion has grown, I have felt compelled to create an even bigger impact. Can you imagine what we can accomplish if we band together? I have several other ideas to tackle after HypeHQ takes off!

What is one "life lesson" you're learning as you pursue this passion?
We don't have to accept or live these "templates" that society pushes us to conform to. We each have our individual purpose and our definition of success. Question whether the things you "should" do are really true for YOU. The pandemic really brought this lesson home to me at the same time that my passion for empowering women eclipsed my job. I think many of us had this moment of questioning everything during the pandemic, and I want us to continue to live in that moment of infinite possibility.

What advice would you have for a Passionado who is considering exploring a passion?
Following your passion is a way of honoring yourself, it's an act of self-love, and we are all so much more creative and capable than we realize. If your passion leads you to reimagine everything about your life, like it did me, don't hesitate – bet on yourself.

Follow Polina at:

Get "The Passion Seeker"

Join 10k readers of our monthly newsletter that gives you practical inspiration for pursuing your passions!