DNA of success: Boris, Vladislav and Dmitriy Burda


A look of three generations at a strategy of a worthy heir upbringing.

The author of ItWorked Olga Makeyeva talked to each of the characters individually and tried to track how the objective laws of the generations’ success programming are functioning since childhood.

The name of this family became widely known thanks to the efforts of Boris Burda. Being a journalist, writer, singer, TV presenter, and an expert in the game “What? Where? When? “, he is successful and recognized in every field.

Vladislav, the eldest son of Boris, is one of the most famous businessmen of the country, the founder and owner of RedHead Family Corporation that includes Antoshka and Daniel distribution networks. In addition, Vladislav is the founder and president of the Association of Ukrainian family businesses owners FBN Ukraine.

Vladislav’s eldest son and the grandson of Boris Burda Dmitriy has recently come back to Ukraine after 12 years of living abroad, where he got education first in England, then in Australia. Now Dmitriy is on the threshold of a new page in his life, and he is determined to continue the success of the family.

Boris Burda: “Success is the feeling that you’re all right”

The name of Burda

Boris Burda has never seen proper to hedge his children from the influence of his All-Soviet Union popularity.

“I know that Vlad was worried that he was taken by everybody as a son of the TV-personage but he overcame this inhibition completely. I realized that at the moment, when one day he called me and said: “Look, there has been a great get-together in the City Council – governmental bodies, business people, all sorts of prominent people… Someone said,”Burda”. Do you know what they asked? – What exactly, I wondered. “What Burda?” he answered.

Education strategy

1. Communication

At the time, Boris’s father spared a lot of time for his son and could talk to him long going into the details of any topics. That is why Boris adheres to a clear strategy with his sons always finding time for communication and providing the opportunities for their development.

“Vlad realized that he lived in a modest home, and even when he wanted something he asked, whether we could afford it. We tried to allow, in any case. He had all the equipment of those times required for the development, like radio-gramophone and tape recorders. There was almost any book he wanted. And if he did not want to read, then I told him an interesting story to the midway, and then I told him to read by himself, “the rest can be found in the book”.

2. Trust

The second important component of the upbringing strategy was not to prohibit but to explain. If young Vladislav wanted to replay the plate, he was told in details how to put the needle not to spoil the record. And when the Boris’s wife began to fear that their youngest son gets to matches, he undertook the following.

“I thought that anyway there was no use hiding anything. It was important that he would just use them properly, and to do so, you needed to offer him an interesting challenge. By the way, at the age of 7 he could fry the steak by himself, and in general with aging he became well versed in cooking. Let’s say, I tried in any case to direct the child’s aspirations to his favor”.

Also there was full trust to the progress in education. Boris Burda never concerned himself with his sons’ school records because he was convinced that they were good by default. By the way, his own parents in due time did likewise. Quiet, unspoken control – that is the right choice, according to Boris.

“I controlled the children. For example, I know very well when the younger son, who had the access to a computer, began to surf on porn sites, and when he quitted. I was not going to prohibit it, because it is pointless and stupid. I expressed confidence that they would satisfy their curiosity, and then get bored of all those things. The ban is a measure of last resort, it is very dangerous. One must prohibit something obviously horrible. Like aggression toward other children, destruction for the sake of curiosity, etc”.

3. Attitude to money

From the conversation with Boris, we learned about his approach to the important and concerning for many parents topic – the education in the field of financial capability.

“We must not give for “the movie and ice cream” but rather a certain amount in general. That is to say, the salary of a child, his wealth, and he or she should dispose the sum as it sees fit. But I did not use penalties. After all, I give the child money because I love him and care about him. If he is at fault in something, I will not cease to love him and look after him. I can limit him in some other way, but this is the minimum subsistence needs that I must  ensure”.

4. Vocational guidance

The parents of Boris in due time came to the opinion that they would be satisfied with any decision of their son by choosing the high school. So he applied the same strategy to his children.

“I have a belief that no matter what path a smart person goes, he will eventually come to something meaningful, and all that makes him happy, he does well striving to make it even better. So I did not suggest anything in this regard to my children”.

He granted the right to choose, the opportunities, and gave only one piece of advice – to talk to people who achieved success in the profession that the children were about to choose.

5. Success and failures

Boris Burda has a very clear definition of success: “Success is the feeling that you’re all right”, and in the search of this feeling there is no need to teach a child how to experience the failures properly, it is enough just to program success, and not to interfere when he or she goes his own way.

6. Motivation to learning

First of all, you should not shove a child your own answers, Boris says. After all, they face with the issues arising constantly, and thus the search for answers will be an inevitable process. But this process must be independent. You can rely that a child will come for an answer or advice to you only given that there are warm and trusting relationships, Boris Burda is convinced.

“I personally believe that my kids will sort everything out. If it is required, I’ll help them as much as possible. Let’s just say if I’m going to show them where to go, I will not be able eventually to show them something important. We live in different conditions. Therefore, my children and grandchildren take by themselves the important decisions. If they want to, I suggest them all that I can suggest. And I do not remember that there was a need to order something, and I do not think that it will arise”.

Vladislav Burda: “The best means of education is an example of effective and happy parents”

The name of Burda

According to Vladislav, it is not easy to live with the burden of a famous name, it leaves a serious imprint.

“But it has one advantage. This creates a powerful family gravity that attracts people. The downside is that it is necessary to refine yourself, so that you could go beyond this gravity and take off into solo flight. You have to invest much more efforts than in case there is no gravity”.

But the name does not weigh heavily upon his son Dmitriy, according to the observations of Vladislav. On the contrary, his son considers his legacy as an asset, an advantage that can be optionally used for the own benefit.

Education strategy

1. Intuition and freedom

Vladislav cannot remember any system of parental approach toward him. Rather, the entire education was built on intuitive perceptions, and generally speaking, as a child he was left to himself. The parents never imposed the circle of friends upon their son; they did not comment his friendships. There was no concept of family councils. The parents lived separate lives; they solved their problems, and Vladislav pretty soon realized that he should decide on his own.

“The only thing that should be mentioned is that the parents always got involved in some moments of crisis, such as serious health problems in the form of worsening asthma that I finally successfully overcame. Or the risk of expulsion from school for the political joke I dared in the team of KVN, what also turned out all right thanks to the father’s intervention”.

2. Motivation for reading

Thanks to the excellent memory and ability to remember the details, Boris, Vladislav’s father, could retell the books by heart in “trailer” format, say, the first three chapters. Of course, that prompted interest to find out what happened next.

“I have a much better perception of information through repetition. I can easily perceive what I have seen or heard once. And my dad created the context for me, in which my interest in books increased significantly. The fact that I read a lot is a 100% merit of my father “.

3. Proper surroundings

For several teenage years, Vladislav used to spend time in the summer camp of the amateur song club “Borzovka” (Kerch), in the community of adults, bards, intellectuals, where he had to earn his weight.

“That immediately raised my bar. I realized how much I had to realize, read and learn, so that I could communicate with those people on equal ground”.

4. Vocational guidance

There were no specific wishes of the family as to the professional future of Vladislav. But a “classical Jewish grandmother” intruded into the situation. She was grimly determined that the best choice for the boy was mathematics. So the path of the young man was found – Odessa State University, Mechanics and Mathematics Faculty. Vladislav very quickly realized that it was not his element, but it was still necessary to graduate from the university. And the successfulness of his parents-medalists turned out to be a serious factor of pressure.

Later Vladislav decided to try his hand in the game “What? Where? When? ” that brought the All-Soviet Union success to his father, but realized that, despite the erudition, the ability to quickly fish out from memory the answers under the pressure of limited time is not included in his talents. However, he was able to deploy the situation in his favor when volunteered to find sponsors for the team and successfully coped with the task. So he revealed his entrepreneurial streak.

“I realized that entrepreneurship is my real competence. No, I could not play like them, but I could do something they were not able to. It was a point of differentiation for me, when I realized that I could do a lot and go beyond gravity. By the way, despite the fact that I was not able to repeat my father’s path in the game and become a successful player, the game became the basis of my profession, and now I supply the entire country with toys and games. And the main slogan of the company is #workplay”.

5. Be the example for your children

Having become a father, Vladislav chose the only right, according to him, position that children tend to repeat the pattern of the parents` behavior. So his personal parental strategy was well-defined.

“The best means of education is an example of effective and happy parents. This does not mean a complete disintegration of the children; that means that everything that happens to you personally should be paramount, because that’s what children see. After all, if the words do not correlate with the actions, everything is useless”.

6. Create the environment

To specify with whom to communicate and with whom not is not an option for the Burda family. But Vladislav does not consider superfluous to know who are the friends of the children, and help them to create a decent circle. And he creates the space and opportunities for that.

“First, it is FBN – the Association of owners of family businesses. This is the place where my children can find friends, and they really do. Second is the creation of a certain social circle of friends, for example, through the game of Monopoly. And the discussion of each gamer’s behavior and strategy when the game is over. By the way, through the game you can solve a lot of issues – this is the best communication tool that the world invented”.

7. Health as a basis

Due to the specifics of the business, Vladislav deeply immersed in the subject of education of healthy children and considers this criterion top-priority.

“A child must first of all be healthy physically and emotionally, this is the basis, and then it is possible to lay knowledge and skills on this foundation. You can choose any sports, but it is necessary to choose it!”

8. The perspective and the right of choice

Vladislav calls himself a big supporter of freedom. For him, it is essential that each person’s decision should be made exclusively on the own.

“My responsibility as a parent is to give birth and education. It is impossible to make children do something or do it instead of them, we can only offer the prospects, open the borders. Then they should act all alone “.


Dmitriy Burda: “From my early age I knew I wanted to do business”

The name of Burda

Unlike his father, it does not  involve any discomfort for Dima to be the bearer of the famous name. He is proud of his dad and grandfather but it confesses that the objectives and achievements of Vladislav come nearer to him.

“It seems to me that Dad is very purposeful, and there are real KPIs in his plans that he is going to achieve. And the grandfather relies rather upon his unique nature. His success is based on his artistic and intellectual abilities.

Education strategy

1. The right to choose and trust

In his 12 years, Dmitriy went to study in England. According to his confession, the first years were difficult and he wanted to come back home, but despite his age, the boy had very mature deliberation, he realized that it would be unconstructive.

According to the British educational system, students in the age of 14-15, in addition to compulsory classes, obtain the right to choose the most interesting subjects they would like to focus on – dramatics, business, geography, etc. In his choice Dima consulted with his father, but the decision was always taken on his own.

2. Vocational guidance

Neither Dima himself, nor his parents were much concerned about his educational success, because it was much more important to know just what would be really useful. Therefore, choosing the items for in-depth study, Dima focused on business direction: Mathematics, Economics, Business Studies, German, etc.

“I knew from an early age I wanted to do business. Because my parents were engaged in it: my dad, my stepmother, my mother and stepfather. I lived in two homes in which four parents did business. I saw no other choice “.

3. Granting of freedom and opportunities

The choice of next educational institution, the university, became an important aspect of life. During that period, the young man received the full support of the father in the form of wide opportunities as well as the right of choice. The world was opened for him.

“My dad never made decisions instead of me, that is, the solutions have always been on me, but he always advised and argued in favor of what he considered right. And, regardless of my decision, he gave me a full financial and moral support. And that’s what I respect him for”.

4. Overcoming difficulties

The choice of Dmitriy fell on the leading university in Australia. Visa, difficult negotiations with the university and the entrance became a serious months-long test and a good upgrade.

“It was not easy to get to the Faculty of Commerce. I was not immediately admitted, and I had studied Geography for six months. And then I made a transfer to the business direction, and due to that process some credits were not taken into consideration, I lagged behind the rest of my peers one-quarter of the year. I have decided that would not do, I had to work harder. As a result, I finished studying six months earlier than my peers”.

5. The own way – the own mistakes

Having felt what a serious motivation the difficulties could create, Dima did not go to the beaten path after his graduation as well. He did not start working in his father’s company and went to Austria to try himself in the IT-sphere. He regards that experience as invaluable.

“Now, having come back to Ukraine, I can compare the work here with that in the West. They created all conditions for the population there: comfort, clean air, the benefits for those who do not earn much, one can live cool. In Ukraine, to do so, you need to be either a freelance or run your own business. And basically, that’s what I want to do, I dream to work on myself and aspire to this”.

 6. Important father’s guidelines

  1.  Your body is like a machine, and you must use the right oil for it and the right food, to maintain it for a long time. That is, health is above all, and we must respect it. Each person is responsible for his own health.
  2. Life is not a sprint but a marathon, in which it is important to build the right strategy to reach the final.
  3. Any path we choose creates a framework, and this means that on making a choice I have either to delve deeply or go out, if I failed to find myself. It is important to choose the right path and reach the end of it.

“Dad always tells many interesting things. Grandpa – this is such an encyclopedia of facts, and my father is an encyclopedia of wisdom of life”.

To date, Dmitriy, having, as they say, all the cards in hand, is standing at the origins of the future business. Thanks to the many relations around the world, he feels mobile and free, a globally minded person. He is in a hurry to live, to experience his first own business success, and it is possible that the last name of Burda will be equally well-known for his generation, but with the first name of Dmitriy this time.