Natalya Nepomnyashcha grew up with Hartz IV. She has now been working successfully for the management consultancy EY for three years. The 33-year-old has managed to climb the social ladder. She also wants to help other people from low-income families – and has therefore founded the Network Opportunities. “Social climbers are often assertive and solution-oriented because nobody has ever handed them the solution on a silver platter,” she says on “Die Boss”. “Instead, they had to see for themselves how to get to their destination via many detours.”

Nepomnyashcha knows what she is talking about. She came to Augsburg from Kiev when she was eleven. Since her parents could not find work, the family lived on Hartz IV. She was denied her high school diploma. The vice-principal at the time said she didn’t belong there. But Nepomnyashcha didn’t give up and went to England to study international relations.

After completing her studies, she wrote around 80 applications, most of which went unanswered. It was only when she became active in various clubs that her career took off. “The scales fell from my eyes,” she says, “of course everyone had done internships, built up a network during their studies and of course they all had it much easier than me.”

In 2016, Nepomnyashcha founded the Opportunities network so that others can have it easier than they do. With its six employees, it supports more than 2,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 39. They are offered free workshops on networking, public speaking and career planning, as well as one-on-one coaching to identify their strengths and tackle their career planning. Network Opportunities also works with companies that have recognized that diversity also includes social background. Members often have their first successful career start there.

People from non-academic households are often at a disadvantage when it comes to applications. “How do I joke, how do I blow my nose or how do I cover my mouth. These are things that are very subtle, but play a big part in whether you like someone or not. The higher up you go in the German economy, the more likely it is that you will meet decision-makers who come from very wealthy backgrounds and because you are very unlike them, you are rather unsympathetic to them,” explains the founder.

In this episode of “Die Boss” you will learn how Natalya Nepomnyashcha managed to climb the social ladder, why she used to feel social shame and why people from low-income families are better employees.

At “The Boss – Power is Female” top women speak among themselves: hostess and member of the supervisory board Simone Menne (including BMW, Deutsche Post DHL, Henkel) meets female bosses from all areas of society to talk to them about their lives and careers. “Die Boss” appears fortnightly on Wednesdays on and the stern YouTube channel as well as on RTL and all common podcast platforms.