Members Spotlight

Diana, tech startups and event management

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Hey, I’m Diana! Even if I read only a handful of stories shared here, they made me feel closer to some of the people behind them because I felt they’ve let me in on some of their secrets. I’m grateful for the chance to open up as well. 

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My superpower skill

Adaptability. Not to be confused with imitation, I’ve often mirrored other people’s behaviors, thoughts, or interests. For the longest time, this felt like I lacked personality, always borrowing from others, never being truly authentic. Then, I read this exact same thought in a book*, and seeing it from an objective perspective changed the way I look at it. Mirroring is helpful in developing empathy and understanding broad perspectives. It’s what helped me adapt to different situations or learn new skills on the go.

*Elena Greco from My Brilliant Friend is a bright young girl whose growth we witness as we go through the book. Written from her perspective, it touches upon her own (many) insecurities. The thought I referred to earlier came up in a scene where she debated things with her colleagues. She felt like all the other people involved in that debate were true thinkers, coming up with their own arguments while she was borrowing and reusing other people’s opinions she had read in books and newspapers.

Being an outside observer, I wanted to tell her that her way was everyone’s way, that we all borrow and reuse in a way.

What influenced my career 

I have a particular aversion for the word career because I always equate it with the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A question for which I don’t have an answer to this day.

I started my working life as a waitress, moved on to librarian, came back to waitressing, and took on social media management in the same place. I started learning more about communication when I moved to the Netherlands and took a Sales and Marketing internship. That landed me a job as a Business Developer, which I left, to work as a marketing person for a music festival that Neverwas, back home. After that, I returned to the bar I did communication for and grew my skills in event management. In parallel, I’ve worked for various local festivals promoting music, street art, literature and started some projects in the same field. And for the past three years, I’ve been working as a salesperson for a startup in Tech. 

All of these things in the span of 11 years. They may seem like jobs in related fields, woven by the red thread of communicating with people, but I’ve not set my mind to build a career in a certain field, so to me, it feels more like I’m doing a puzzle.

The first piece of the puzzle with which I started was brought by the need of finding people, of belonging — I moved to the city I currently live in when I was 19 and knew nobody except my family here.

All the other pieces I found were because of all the people I met. And I’ve been so very lucky in that regard because I’ve borrowed from truly extraordinary people.

Favorite way of slowing down to enjoy the moment

There’s nothing like a good live concert that truly slows downtime for me. It’s my break from thinking too much.

This is one I really wish I could have been at.

The last time you talked about a mistake you made 

When I am aware of them, I own up to my mistakes. Whether they’re related to a missed opportunity at work because I failed to submit a form before the deadline (sorry, Marius) or failing at being a good person to be in a relationship with (sorry, Vlad).

It’s what happens afterward that I consider being more difficult — holding yourself accountable all the way through, not making up excuses, learning something from it.

Working with different people

Working with people with different cultural backgrounds is a constant reminder that my own experience is not a universal truth, and I find it very grounding. There are many things to gain from these types of interactions, and one of them was learning that communication without context is just a bunch of words put together.

Now, about working with people with different skills and expertise, the obvious great thing about it is learning from them.

One professional tip that you learned the hard way

Hmm. I mentioned before that I worked briefly for a music festival. Ominously enough, its name was Neverwas and it never happened. It was canceled 6-months before it should have taken place, a wise business decision that its founder, whom I deeply respect, had to take. The whole experience was very intense from beginning to end.

What I learned from that experience is that passion is not enough if it’s not sustained by knowledge (held or gained actively). Another lesson I took away from it was that sometimes you can be too young and too green for certain jobs, no matter how much you’re open to growing. And here I’m not referring only to the experience required for getting the job done, but also the experience to handle failures and loss when and if the situation arises.

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