Story.Me - Make an impact: Growing together with Sofia

How can you influence the growth of a community?

Written and edited by Scott Green, photo by Story.Me

Story.Me is back this year for another evening of storytelling. Synergy Bulgaria, Open Sofia, and Networking Premium team up to present you with three inspirational members of Bulgarian society who will be talking about innovation, contribution, and support. Of how they managed to create, grow and expand the international communities around them by bringing their own uniqueness to the table. 

  • Date: 16 June at 19:30
  • Venue: Networking Premium
  • Maximum attendees: 40-50
  • Entrance fee: 5 BGN with a drink included (glass of wine, beer, or soft drink)
  • Registration link: Click here
  • Event link: Click here

The three following speakers are in a unique position to see how the country and its capital Sofia have evolved together with these groups and initiatives. Get ready for an inspiring evening and learn how to bring your own uniqueness into the world, challenge the status quo, and connect people and organizations for a greater impact on society.

Anastasia is one of the brains behind Open Sofia - disclaimer, soon to be Open Bulgaria. The Open Sofia Foundation was launched to support Bulgaria’s international community and develop an active network for people from all over the globe living in this country. It has become an important and helpful presence for the international society in Bulgaria, both on- and off-line.

The team's mission is to grow as an informational space and a multicultural network, full of resources for the international community in Sofia and Bulgaria as a whole. Open Sofia was launched prematurely due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, regardless, we have flourished during this time, thanks to the team’s passion and expertise. 

Anastasia will guide us through the unlikely set of events that made sure Open Bulgaria grew fast and built a network of strong organizations. She will share her vision for the future of the project and how everyone can contribute to building a better, connected Bulgaria.

Clément came to Bulgaria for the first time in 2003 because of his love of folklore dance and wanting to learn the Bulgarian Horo. He returned every year for the next 9 years to continue learning this traditional dance. He finds Sofia to be an affordable place rich with art, music, and humble people. Initially, he was heavily discouraged by family in his decision to move to Bulgaria to start his own hairdressing business. Upon arrival he was faced with many prejudices from the locals, among them was the common stereotype about the French.

After three years of hard work and resilience, he now has his own band of loyal customers who like his style. Not only does he strive for quality in all his work, but also in bringing an open, vibrant and respectful attitude to his customers, helping them feel comfortable and wanting to return. His philosophy is that things are never black or white, and he tells us to remain courageous and naive in order to build cooperation and acceptance.

Rozalina is the heart and soul of First Driving School for Foreigners, a driving school founded by her husband. She had her first foreign student attend lessons 10 years ago and would have maybe two foreign students per month after that. Now she averages 10-15 foreign students per day. She also wanted to travel the world but has been unable to do so. Now though she has had the world meet her. She has met and instructed students from over 100 different nationalities, and has learned about her students' way of living, their culture, and traditions.

“Every day is different since we work in direct contact with the community. There is a mutual learning. The mission: to survive on the Bulgarian roads and develop driving skills while creating a bond, a close relationship with each of the students. In the end, they become friends. It is not just a driving course”

Rozie believes that the future of Sofia’s growth is on the youth, who are open and willing to contribute to a more inclusive society.

Are you ready for these fascinating stories of innovation, contribution, and support? We look forward to meeting you all on 16 June at Networking Premium and hope that we can all learn, grow, and develop together.

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