METOR | IWF Chicago
Aleksandra Efimova is a Chicago-based Russian-American entrepreneur and a leader in the arts, business and Russian-American communities. As president of Russian Pointe, Ms. Efimova is dedicated to spreading access to and enjoyment of the arts, and to forging cross-cultural bridges, particularly in the education, arts and business sectors.
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION: Ms. Efimova’s path, in life and in her career, is unique among executives. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, she attended the renowned Art School at the Hermitage State Art Museum. Her early education also included studies in classical dance and academics, and she became a competitive ballroom dancer after moving to the United States in 1993. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in international business and marketing at Eastern Michigan University, she founded Russian Pointe in 1998, basing the company first in Michigan and then in Chicago. As Russian Pointe continued to expand, Ms. Efimova sought further education as a corporate leader, to complement her lifelong interest in the fine arts and background in business and marketing. Toward that goal, she pursued a business degree in Harvard Business School’s elite Executive Owner/Management Program, graduating in 2010.
VISION: Ms. Efimova offers a unique blend of executive acumen, global teambuilding skills and community leadership. Also a high-energy, creative thinker and driven entrepreneur, she approaches every new business challenge with an inherent flair for innovation, creative problem-solving and measured risk-taking. These qualities have shaped her vision for the long-term, sustainable growth of her company, and helped propel Aleksandra Enterprises into the international spotlight for successfully transcending linguistic and cultural boundaries.
PUBLIC SERVICE: Since relocating Russian Pointe to Chicago, Ms. Efimova has been increasingly active as an ambassador for Russian-American relations, locally, nationally and internationally. In 2010, her dedication inspired former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley to appoint her chair of the Moscow Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International. In 2011, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk recognized her role in international relations by appointing her chair of the Eastern European Advisory Board, which was formed to address the concerns of Eastern European constituents, small business owners and community leaders from Russia, Armenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Hungary. In 2014 Ms. Efimova was appointed Midwest vice president of the US-Russia Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Houston, TX.
ENTERPRENEURSHIP: Ms. Efimova is founder of Russian Pointe, a purveyor of luxury dancewear, dance shoes, accessories and educational materials. The company’s pointe shoes are the finest on the market, handcrafted in Moscow in the grand tradition of Russian pointe shoemaking. What began as a college project in 1998 has developed into an internationally recognized brand. Ms. Efimova maintains constant contact with dancers, instructors and dance retailers to keep the company’s designs current and in tune with dancers’ needs, both by creating new products and by steadily improving upon existing products. In 2006, Ms. Efimova opened Russian Pointe Dance Boutique, the company’s exquisite flagship store located on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, which became renowned for its theatrical ambiance and outstanding customer service, and as a venue for glittering arts receptions. In 2010, Aleksandra Enterprises embarked on a new line of books and toys, Growing Through Arts, inspired by Ms. Efimova’s fascination with the fine arts and childhood development and her memories of her own early education in Russia.
PUBLIC SPEAKING: Ms. Efimova is a frequent speaker and keynote speaker for numerous professional organizations and events including Eastern Michigan Universisty Annual Alumni Awards, Women’s Executive Council, Bomond Rendezvous, Kendall College, Women’s Professional Leadership Network at Ogilvy Chicago, Association of National Advertisers, De Paul University, University of Illinois and many others.
COMMUNITY AND PHILANTHROPY: Ms. Efimova is very active in the arts and Russian-American communities. Russian Pointe is a frequent donor and sponsor, and Ms. Efimova serves or has served on the Lyric Opera Guild Board, The Joffrey Ballet’s Auxiliary Board, and the Auditorium Theatre of Chicago Junior Board. In addition, she is a member of Harvard Alumni Club, Economic Club of Chicago, International Women’s Forum, US-Russia Business Council, Chicago Loop Alliance and
Harvard Business School Club, and a founding board member of Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs, Chicago.
Ms. Efimova has hosted and organized numerous events to promote and enrich the Chicago community with educational, business-related and cultural experiences, partnering with organizations including the Russian Embassy in Washington DC, the Russian federal agency Rossotrudnichestvo, Auditorium Theatre, Adler Planetarium, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Goodman Theatre and The Joffrey Ballet, among others. Ms. Efimova has also been invited to host events including the Eurasian Business Forum and Women in Leadership panel discussions, and she has led a delegation of business and government leaders to Moscow and hosted numerous delegations from Moscow to the United States.