Violetta Gerasymenko

Entrepreneurship is assistant professor Violetta Gerasymenko’s specialty, but it was salesmanship that led her to pursue a job offer from the College of Business despite never having seen Oregon State University.

An impassioned pitch by entrepreneurship colleague Jonathan Arthurs closed the deal, and Gerasymenko is grateful for his powers of persuasion.

“It’s been a great move,” said Gerasymenko, who serves as faculty in residence at Weatherford Hall, home of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program.

The Ukrainian-born Gerasymenko came to Corvallis in August 2014 with a lengthy, multinational resume, having been a visiting scholar at MIT Sloan, New York University and the National University of Singapore, as well as an assistant professor at Nova SBE in Portugal.

She also arrived with a five-month-old daughter, Elisabeth, born in Portugal to her and her husband, musician/entrepreneur Mark Bacon. By signing on as Weatherford’s faculty in residence, she had a home for her family waiting for her.

Gerasymenko and Arthurs had met through their work. When Gerasymenko was seeking a permanent position in the U.S., she learned from Arthurs of the opening at OSU.

“He told me many good things about the college, about the entrepreneurship group, the collegiality, the friendliness, a community that’s supportive, the resources and support for research, how it’s a great community for a family,” she said. “I trusted him, and when I interviewed and met my colleagues, it all got confirmed. It’s perfect.”

Gerasymenko, who speaks five languages and holds numerous international degrees, including a Ph.D. from HEC Paris, devotes two terms of the school year to research and the other to teaching three sections of Introduction to Entrepreneurship. She describes her students, which number roughly 180, as “engaged, polite and motivated.”

At Weatherford, Gerasymenko and her family live in a “pretty spacious” two-bedroom apartment with a living room and kitchen, and they interact with the approximately 300 students who live there as much as everyone’s schedule allows. Contrary to what you might think, life at Weatherford is suitably quiet, the professor said, especially to someone such as Gerasymenko who’s used to the bustle of cities.

Gerasymenko’s duties at OSU include serving on the Board of Advisors of the Advantage Accelerator, which aims to help commercialize technology developed at the university and throughout the mid-Willamette Valley.

Current research for Gerasymenko involves looking at the accuracy of forecasting as it pertains to entrepreneurial venture outcomes, and the business model of incubators and accelerators and their potential value to startups; soon she hopes to launch a study aimed at better understanding the role of business angels.

“I’m very happy,” Gerasymenko said. “I enjoy OSU a lot. We get feedback from each other and we all work together.”