Born in Ukraine, at 13 she learned English in two months, at 16 she shopped in black markets as a buyer for her uncle’s store, and later was a Freedom Support Act exchange student. Now she’s the President of our Parish Council. Who is she?
In brief, Anya Aslanova has a track record of success in many areas including marketing and strategy planning, project management, creative design, and conflict resolution.
Born and raised in Kiev, Ukraine, Anya took three different transportation systems to get to school every day. She was selected to serve as class treasurer for grades 1-3, making her responsible for collecting around 350 rubles of milk & lunch money.
At 13, Anya initiated and researched changing schools to enhance her education. To be accepted into Klovsky Lyceum (equivalent of a college prep school) and pass the entry exams, she learned English in two months and went through an exacting interview process with all of the school’s teachers.
At 16, she was a buyer for her uncle’s store, responsible for selecting the products, going to shady basements and black markets, negotiating prices, paying with cash and figuring out the delivery mechanism. This was post-Soviet Ukraine with lots of black markets, mafia and no business ethics.
During the same year, Anya entered the Freedom Support Act exchange student competition. She was one of more than 2,000 students to apply and one of 70 students to receive this life-changing (literally) opportunity.
As an exchange student in Springfield, Ohio, she received $100 per month as a stipend. She saved most of the money and brought it back home to help the family. She invested the rest in various products she thought would be popular and would sell well in Ukraine; this venture brought in more than triple the investment.
Later she attended Anderson University. Her first major in college was finance/business but she switched to graphic design after being totally bored in her business classes. The chair of the art/design department threatened to not let her graduate if she didn’t learn how to ride a bike by the time of her thesis presentation (which was on propaganda). Her negotiating skills must have come in handy because she still can’t ride a bike, but she graduated cum laud with a marketing and visual communications degree. Anya then taught upper-level art and design classes as an adjunct professor at Anderson for 10 years.
Anya won a coveted internship with a New York design firm during her college years and is a winner of the 2009 Pinnacle Award by the Public Relations Society of America for her design and marketing work for an international exhibition. She has exhibited her art professionally in solo and group exhibitions.
Anya worked as the Creative and Marketing Manager at the Indianapolis Art Center and then was promoted to Director of Educational Development. She left that position to put her skills to work as a Freelance Creative Consultant.
Joy of All Who Sorrow benefitted greatly from that move as it allowed Anya to become a more active volunteer. She was quickly selected to serve on our Transforming Joy Capital Campaign Steering Committee where she chaired the Communications Task Force.
Anya was then elected to the Church Board. In this capacity she was a member of both the Finance and Fundraising Committees. This year she was elected to serve as the President.
After receiving “an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Anya went back to work in a new position, but continues her volunteer activities with the church.
Anya and her husband Nick are co-owners of Mythopeic Industries, a small arts organization that strives to promote, produce, and stage performances by internationally and nationally known eclectic artists and musicians to the city of Indianapolis. They have two pre-teen sons and enjoy the company of her mother, Nellie, who arrived from Ukraine in 2007 and now lives with them. Nellie is also loved and respected by the Joy of All Who Sorrow congregation.
Anya and Nellie lived in the area of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor incident at the time it happened. That story will appear here at a later date.
Writer Anna Glass is a member of Joy of All Who Sorrow. She serves as Secretary on the Parish Council . We welcome comments on or submissions to our blog. Send them to email@example.com.