There have been three motivations that underpinned the choices I have made in my life. The first was the desire for freedom. I grew up in a totalitarian state, and since early childhood, I was interested in everything that is on the other side of the Iron Curtain. My family cultivated my curiosity for what lays beyond and thirst for education. So, from early on, I knew that the key to freedom or, in other words, independence in decision-making and willingness to bear responsibility for my choices in life could be achieved through obtaining an international education.
My second motivation was to achieve professional self-realization. Having received a bachelor's degree in marketing in the USA and the UK and a master's degree in international business in France, I built a rather successful career in corporate marketing and strategy in Russia and the UK. However, over time, I began to realize that I wanted something more than just a successful professional career. Since then, projects with clear and measurable social impact came into my focus and with them the third motivation that determined my choices in life.
More than ten years ago, when I left the corporate world, I faced myriad of choices to apply my knowledge, skills and time. Understanding that in the 21st-century education has become the main engine of development, as well as my long-standing passion for architecture became handy. Together with partners, we created the Heritage Capitalization Center, a non-profit organization designed to become a platform for dialogue and interaction between the state, private investors and experts to revive and restore abandoned architectural heritage sites and to include them in the country's social and economic life.
In 2008, I learned from Veronika Zonabend about their dream with Ruben Vardanyan to build an international school in Dilijan. The project seemed to me so exciting and virtually balancing on the verge of what's possible that I, without a moment's doubt, offered my help in developing the strategy of the new school. Another major educational project I was fortunate to participate in at the stage of its formation is the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO.
In the past ten years, I have come a long way in understanding who I am and connecting to my roots. The question "Where are you from?" used to put me in a corner. How should a 20-year-old American university student from Moscow, an Armenian by origin, who came to London on a university exchange program answer it? "At the Crossroads" project and the Dilijan School helped me to find the answer. Today, when asked: "Where are you from?" I simply answer: "I am Armenian." And this is my conscious choice.