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Sustainable Development Award

On 18 May, Tatiana N. Vysokova, Chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee of Center-Invest Bank's Board of Directors, was awarded a prestigious international prize in the 'Women in Business Awards' held annually by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The EBRD award is for outstanding achievement in the banking sector. The prizewinners are talented, dedicated, exceptional women, whose achievements in business have a significant impact on the course of reform and socioeconomic development in their home regions.

The award ceremony was held as part of the EBRD's Annual Meeting in Kiev, which was attended by over 3,000 delegates.

Tatiana Vysokova (Ph.D in Economics and Reader) began her career in 1980 as a lecturer in the Finance and Credit Department of the Rostov State Institute of the National Economy (now the Rostov State Economics University 'Rostov Institute of the National Economy'). She was the first member of staff to introduce modern computer technology into academic practice. In 1991 Tatiana Vysokova published her first book, 'The Bankers Dictionary', which became an essential reference work for a whole generation of bankers in Russia and the CIS.

In 1992 she co-founded Center-Invest Bank and became the first chairman of its executive board.

In 1993 Mrs Vysokova helped the Rostov region authorities set up a 'Market Transition Economic Assistance Centre'. She also actively assisted more than 300 companies in the Rostov region put together privatisation plans. Under her guidance, promissory note programmes were launched, two textbooks were produced, 'Promissory Notes and the Promissory Note Market' and 'The Securities Market', and dozens of seminars were held for business people in southern Russia.

Tatiana Vysokova has been a member of Center-Invest Bank's Board of Directors since 1992. Thanks to her initiatives Center-Invest's shareholders now include the following major international financial institutions: EBRD, the German Investment and Development Company (DEG), Firebird, Renaissance Capital and Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberosterreich.

1996 saw the publication of another important book by Mrs Vysokova (co-authored), 'NON-PAY-MENTS: company management addressing payment defaults'. The book presented a management system that could reduce the level of non-payments by companies in the Rostov region by RUR3bn. It became something of a 'bestseller' among members of the Russian government, bureaucrats and company directors.

In 1998 Tatiana Vysokova devised and introduced an aggressive marketing strategy, which strengthened Center-Invest's position on regional, national, and international markets. It also helped Center-Invest's customers survive the banking crisis and enter new markets.

In 2004 Tatiana Vysokova began working with Teploenergo (based in the city of Taganrog), helping it become, in the opinion of Western experts, 'the best heating company in Central and Eastern Europe'. In 2007 the EBRD became a shareholder in Teploenergo.

For many years now Tatiana Vysokova has been running a staff training programme and bringing in the most promising students for work placements and internships at Center-Invest. Many of the students who attend the 'school' of Center-Invest go on to hold important positions in the Bank. Last year, 27 'future bankers' were born per 1000 members of staff. After its 15 years of sustainable development Center-Invest Bank is now 50,000 times bigger than when it first opened for business! It has developed a reputation for being not only a reliable partner, but also a hothouse of reform in southern Russia.

Many of the Bank's social programmes owe much of their success to Tatiana Vysokova's initiative and professionalism: the provision of support for students, teaching staff, and young scientists in southern Russia's higher education sector; free basic Internet skills training for school pupils; visits to exhibitions at the Local Studies Museum; support for veterans; and the establishment of the 'Education and Science in the Southern Federal District’ Endowment Fund (the first of its kind in southern Russia). In Russia, Tatiana Vysokova's way of doing business is called 'socially responsible', while in international practice the term 'sustainable' applies: 'sustainability' describes a business that demonstrates corporate social responsibility and aims to introduce new knowledge and ways of working for the benefit of future generations.

This prestigious prize provides further confirmation that Center-Invest Bank's track record, procedures, and development strategy reflect best international practice and international standards for the sustainable development of business in Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS.