Faces of EVE University: Jilokari Kurvora, CEO

Hideo Date:
Last time we sat down for an interview it was 2018 and you were EVE University’s Director of Human Resources. Back then we talked about your journey to get to that position. Now you have moved up the ladder even more, becoming Director of Operations earlier this year and just recently taking over the reins from Laura Karpinski as CEO of EVE University. 

Q: What were your feelings when Laura first came to you with her proposal to give over the reins of EVE University?

Jilokari Kurvora:
Honestly, a little terrified! It’s a scary concept to become the guardian of an institution with 16 years of history in EVE. When I joined the Uni a little over 6 years ago I certainly didn’t expect to be a Director someday, let alone CEO. I remember being speechless when Laura asked me, and then the terror haha. 

Hideo Date:
Yeah I can imagine that it made you shake a bit in your shoes. But who could pass up the chance to get a new pair as shiny as the ones a CEO wears 😉 

I would think it was not an easy decision though to take on the role. So as long as it’s not too private could you talk a bit about what you had to consider when you thought about Laura’s idea? She mentioned you had to think a while before agreeing.

Jilokari Kurvora:
That’s an interesting one, there are lots of things to consider. For starters as CEO the Uni becomes an ever present consideration in your life, and it’s not really just the Alliance and Corp itself, but the infrastructure also, taking on the role of CEO means becoming the custodian of the Wiki, a resource used by the wider EVE community.    I had to give real consideration if I had the capacity to step into that and do it justice. But that’s just a few of many considerations, I won’t go into everything but needless to say it’s a decision that takes time 🙂

Hideo Date:
Q: In the recent interview with Laura we talked about her perspective on the process of giving up her position. Could you give us your side of the story?

Jilokari Kurvora:
The process was very smooth from my perspective, becoming Director of Ops allowed me to slowly build my understanding of leading the alliance and start to get involved in making the decisions on a day to day basis. Laura and I worked well together and our relationship meant that we were able to begin making changes to how the Uni operates and complete some others.

Hideo Date:
Q: So as you were already acquainted with making CEO level decisions by the time you took over, I assume the day one as CEO didn’t really change that much for you? Or was there a sudden rush of power you felt? 😉

Jilokari Kurvora:
Really there wasn’t much change,  it was much more transactional and making sure that I had everything I needed. It was very odd seeing my name as CEO of EVE University though, very odd indeed.

Hideo Date:
Q: Oh yeah, I am sure it was a strange thing to see that badge on yourself for the first time. 

In our last interview you said you were “a massive people person” would you say that is an advantage, or even a necessity, in your position? And to further dive into this, are there any other qualities you think a CEO should have?

Jilokari Kurvora:
I still consider myself a people person, I think it’s important that you get on with people in this type of role. One of the biggest challenges is balancing that with the inevitable conclusion that decisions I make will not please everyone, and that’s tough for me.  I do have to hope that in the end I make the right calls, and if I don’t, it’s really important for me that I take time to understand how I learn and grow from them and most importantly I think it’s crucial that I am willing to admit when I have goofed up.

Hideo Date:
Being in such a position and able to admit fault, must be quite a challenge indeed.

Another tidbit you mentioned in our interview in 2018 was that you had a ton of spreadsheets as Director of HR. I would assume that amount has only increased with being CEO? I wonder what kinds of spreadsheets an Alliance leader uses day to day. Is there anything you could share with us?

Jilokari Kurvora:
Oh my word, the spreadsheets,  there are so many, but not that many that I need to use Day to Day thankfully. I do like to know what’s happening across the Alliance so I will dip in and out of them as I need to, but luckily I have a great group of Directors and Managers who are closer to the day to day sheets.  Ideally I only really need to step in where there is an issue. My most used sheet at the moment would be **Redacted** 

Hideo Date:
Always upholding OPsec…fair enough 🙂 

Could you enlighten us then about your plans for the future of EVE University? Are you planning to continue the trajectory Laura has set over the years, or do you want to change course? Do you have any specific plans or ideas for your time as CEO you could talk about?

Jilokari Kurvora:
I think you’ve already seen a little of that. Over the past year I’ve been working very closely with Laura on the transformation of EVE University. I’m passionate about reconnecting with our roots of being a beacon of knowledge and learning for any player in New Eden, modernising how we educate and inform and continue to provide a safe space for all those who wish to learn. I also think that it’s easy to overcomplicate a system over time, so I’m keen on continuing to simplify as much as possible so that we have enough structure to operate but not so much that we prevent people getting out and enjoying the game.

Hideo Date:
Any closing statement? Maybe some wisdom for the people out there that are striving to be a CEO as well?

Jilokari Kurvora:
As I said when I stepped up I have an awesome team of Directors, Managers and Officers as well as an amazing membership to help keep me honest and true, bring levity or provide perspective when needed. If I was giving any advice to someone who wanted to become a CEO it would be this:  you don’t need to know everything,  you don’t need to do everything, but you do need a great team to help fill the gaps and provide counsel to help you understand.   

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