Women Making a Difference in Central Mass
Monday, September 24, 2012
Rose Pavlov of Worcester is Founder and President of Ivy Child International, a non-profit that develops global mental health initiatives for children, families, and communities. She handles strategic planning, administrative decisions, staffing and programmatic needs as well as community outreach.
Rose says of this essential organization, “Ivy child's unique non-pharmaceutical approach focuses on prevention and overcoming cross cultural mental health issues through learning based curricula involving skill building, thereby enhancing emotional intelligence, mental fitness and achieving our mission of 'helping each child achieve their best.'"
Rose feels the city is supportive of women entrepreneurs; she started her organization with the help of the Center for Women and Enterprise in Worcester. She admires the leadership of Ivette Olmeda, a woman who, through the Center for Women, has impacted the lives of many women like Rose.
“I began learning tools to make my dream a reality through the Center for Women and Enterprise which led to my brainchild Ivy Child International, which has now become my third child,” explains Rose.
Rose has 2 children, Noah, 7, and Laiya, 4. She is active in her children’s lives and volunteers at their school, Venerini Academy as a classroom parent. Rose hopes to pass the lessons she’s learned in her life and career on to her children. Most notably, Rose refers to a quote by Retah McPherson (a woman whose son suffered severe injuries in a car accident and began writing inspired letters by the Holy Spirit) as her inspiration: All the broken pieces of your life are nothing more than a beautiful mosaic of your future. She says each positive or negative experience leads to the valuable evolution of ourselves.
As for balancing her roles as an entrepreneur and mother, Rose feels “women can appreciate the sacrifices made and the daily balancing act of fulfilling our roles of mother, daughter, sister, lover.”
She also feels it’s important for women to give themselves permission to be human and to persevere through all challenges, even the ones that appear hopeless. Rose says it’s important to nourish yourself daily to weather the seasons of life. She does this by spending time with her family, expressing herself through music by playing a veena (an Indian string instrument), and meditating.
Olga Kwasnieski is the owner of Thai Island Restaurant in Holden. She’s also a professional model, has a purple belt in Krav-Maga; the official self-defense and hand-to-hand combat system of Israel, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Oriental Languages and Literature from her hometown university in Uzbekistan. A fourth generation Russian Korean, Olga worked for the President of her country as an inspector of the International and Internal Department of Economics and Politics before immigrating to the United States.
Olga’s unique journey didn’t stop there. While in Worcester, she pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Psychology from Worcester State University. She also worked part time at a Thai restaurant in Webster, which is where she decided to open her own restaurant. Her boss was so impressed with her skills that he suggested she open her own establishment, and she took his advice.
She pushed aside her education degree and pursued the restaurant she has owned for the past 4 years. Olga says she has been happy and has received support ever since.
“People were very open and supportive to the idea of having a new generation of young professional female entrepreneurs,” she said.
Olga feels that being a woman helped her in her business. While she was unfamiliar with the initial stages of actually building her restaurant, she said she learned a lot about construction and building codes, which helped build her confidence. As for building her customer base, Olga relies on social networking and word of mouth referrals to advertise. In the process of making her dream come true, Olga says she learned some important lessons:
Never close the door to opportunities. Whatever you do, do it with passion and love. And, finally, nothing is impossible.
Olga advises other women interested in entrepreneurship to follow their dreams, overcome a fear of failure and explore life to the fullest. When she’s not working or walking the cat walk, Olga likes to attend the theatre, classical music concerts and traveling.
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