Listen to episode 1 (Romanian content)
We have started a local podcast with inspirational freelancers, entrepreneurs, nomads and top performers from various fields. What’s this got to do with anything, you might ask? Well, in the whole doing things on your own and discipline discussion we’ve noticed that inspiration and role models are crucial. Because we need to know that whatever path we choose in life, we can do it. And how better to know than by finding out from people who’ve done it. The “it” doesn’t even matter much. Because efficient processes, good thinking and healthy outlook on life can come from achievements in any area, be they personal life related, job related, dream related or human related. As long as we walk away with something valuable and actionable. Alina Kasprovschi is one of those amazing and inspiring humans.
TL;DR to listen to the whole episode? Or not a Romanian speaker? Here’s the highlights:
Who is Alina Kasprovschi?
Alina Kasprovschi has been managing Fundatia Comunitara Bucuresti (Bucharest Community Foundation) for about 7 years. The foundation is a hub for NGOs, donors, financing solutions and people with ideas and projects to help grow and improve Bucharest, the capital of Romania. But it’s not exclusive to the capital. The foundation collaborates with other 15 foundations nationwide.
She’s raising Toma, riding a kick scooter and has 3 cats, one of them aged 18. Yes, you read that right. One of her cats is 18 human years old.
Alina’s superpower is creating experiences for others and connecting ideas, people and idea generating people.
The first time she seriously sat down to think about what she would want to do when she grows up, she realized she wanted to be Santa Claus. Because she simply loves giving joy to people.
She started her career with an agency job and moved on to a corporate one in search of something that wasn’t yet clear. She was living la vida corporate when it finally struck her that she actually wanted to do something else. The revelation came while in Costa Rica on her honey moon. Seems legit, right?
One of the advertising campaigns she dearly remembers is an older one from a telecom company. The slogan had quite an influence on her and this is what it said: “When you put your heart in what you do, you’ll make it”.
Another key moment that helped her discover NGO life as her true calling was when she set off with Habitat for Humanity to build a house in one week. She had no clue how to build houses, but hammering nails on top of the roof as someone who is terrified of heights made her understand that good deeds are what drives her across any obstacle.
About Alina Kasprovschi and The Bucharest Community Foundation
They both support proactive people from Bucharest to turn their projects into reality. They also help organizations make their projects bigger, better and more meaningful.
One of the things that bug her the most is that there are moments when people hang on to their idea so tight that you could swear it’s the last idea they’ll have for the rest of their lives. There is no such thing. Ideas are like big rivers. They seldom dry out.
She loves people who are generous with their ideas, who share. She believes that’s the only way big ideas can be born.
First NGO years were tough, especially after handling shamefully big budgets in her old corporate job. Those first years were a cruel awakening to real life. There was no presentation template, no IT department, no one to send a brief to. After losing nearly all her phone contacts she had to rebuild her community and network from scratch.
A great AHA moment was an entrepreneurship course she took. There is where she figured out that she’s not an NGO, but an entrepreneur.
After a bumpy start came the first event that went swimmingly. It was the Swimathon, an idea borrowed and proven to work. And this was the tipping point. Things took off from then.
The second success was 8 Hours overtime for a good cause. This event brings together NGOs who need specialized help and the specialists who volunteer to offer that help. For example, NGOs in need of advertising campaigns and marketing and advertising people. The first edition was a true lesson in delegating. The event takes place in Romania and she had other things to take care of in Turkey. So she had no choice but to trust her team to keep things together. The first edition of 8 Hours overtime for a good cause was put together in only 5 weeks. Now it takes around 14.
Alina sees herself as very lucky and she thinks that a lot of good things came into her life, especially in the early days of her NGO.
Another good lesson she learned is that you have to start with what you already have.
Advice for Alina Kasprovschi from 7 years ago?
“Don’t worry. Your idea makes sense, has value and there is a market for it”. Back them it seemed like it lacked logic and wouldn’t amount to much.
Efficiency recipe? Lists!
Alina makes lists for anything. She’s addicted to them.
Her method is simple. Column A is for things that brig value. Column B for things that must be done. She always tries to delegate as much of column B as possible so she can focus more on column A. Items on each column are in order of their priority.
The first list she makes in the “beginning of the year” one where she sets annual objectives. She then splits these objectives in quarterly lists and then makes her daily tasks.
Inspiration from books
She recently read Daniel H. Pink – When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing (same guy who wrote To sell is human). The book puts on the table scientific proof connected to the best moments in a day, how to schedule your days and when you are most productive. That’s how she figured out when would be the best time to tick off tasks from column A. Her best working hours are before 11 AM and after 4 PM. So if you’re thinking about giving her a call, try to avoid her working intervals.
Another helpful book was How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price. This is where she learned how to get rid of interruptions. The book talks about a 30 days process in which you elarn how to responsibly use your phone vs giving it up completely.
She also discovered a killer insight. There’s studies showing that the part of our brain responsible for our thumbs has grown impressively due to touchscreen interaction. Wow.
We both have our own planning method. Especially for the important bits. Alina does her comprehensive lists the evening before, while I prefer to write down top 3 things to do on that certain day.
Speaking of daily habits, Alina never lets a day end without sending someone a thank you message (in any form – mail, SMS, chat etc.).
Don’t you dare give up
Is the message she’d pun on a banner in the middle of the city so as many people as possible see it.
At the same time she points out affordable loss. Meaning you should always have a clear idea of how far you are willing to go when it comes to your losses. Listen to Alina Kasprovschi, people. She speaks great words.
Find more inspiration from: