What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

If I had to name one of the biggest obstacles and challenges I have overcome, it would be my move to the United States. Growing up in a post-communist country, I had extremely limited opportunities for development in any and every aspect of my life. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean to move here took me years of hard work, sleepless nights and efforts, all tied to learning English, self-preparing for the SAT and finding the means to come here.

In what ways has that challenging situation changed your life for the better?

It taught me to dream even bigger. At first my dream was simple and entailed just having a better life and living in the US. The journey and arriving here showed me that with planned action and hard work absolutely any dream I have is possible!

What are you most proud of when you think about how you handled that situation?

Not giving up is probably the thing I am proudest of — both with regards to moving to the US and in any other situation I have ever been in. It is important to stand up once we have fallen and to acknowledge that the best is yet to come. We must never give up, no matter what!

Do you have a power phrase that helps when you are facing a difficult challenge?

I don’t have a specific phrase, but every time I face difficult challenges, I just think that I am alive and in perfect health, that I have food on my table and a roof over my head and if I was able to find my way through life until now (and the cross-Atlantic journey), no situation can challenge me enough to break me. We must only allow difficulties to affect us so we become even more empowered.

Did you have a mentor or someone who helped you on your journey to being confident?

Yes. Her name is Sharon Meyers and she changed my life completely – she helped me overcome a lot of difficulties. Everyone needs a mentor to guide us through our journeys.

How did that person help you believe in yourself?

Her positive outlook on life inspired me to not only dream big, but to want to become a better person. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her wisdom in endless.

If you could whisper advice to your younger self what would it be?

Do not let obstacles hold you down. Be happy with yourself the way you are.

What do you consider your three biggest strengths?

I believe my three biggest strengths are honesty, passion and hard work.

When was the last time you laughed until you cried?

The last time I laughed until I cried was last year in Hawaii with a bunch of my girlfriends. We faced a ridiculous situation and we just ended up laughing until we all cried — and then we went into a problem-solving mode ?

What has been your proudest moment?

My proudest moment was graduating St. Francis College with multiple business degrees and a golden medal for excellence awarded to me by the school.

If you had the power to choose your forever age – what age would you pick?

I wouldn’t want to have such. Every age has its beauty and with age comes wisdom and I definitely want & need more of the latter.

Who is your ultra-ego? Why did you pick that person?

The three PowerPuff Girls combined together. I relate to the fact they always save the world and that the universe needs their super powers and wisdom to prevent it from collapsing. And I would love to fly just like they do.

When was the last time you tried something new that totally scared you?

Living in NYC that almost happens on a daily basis! Most recently, I conquered my fear of going to the movies alone. I realized that not only was it harmless, but it was very pleasurable to go to the theater by myself. I highly suggest it to everyone who has the same fear.

What do you do to feel good after something challenging?

I always reward myself.

October 2014
Media: kouzounaskitchen.com