AUR recently welcomed back alumna Anastasia Safarian (BUS’ 08) for a special guest lecture on the topic of Leadership.  

Anastasia, with over 14-year's experience at Bioversity International, has risen to the position of Global Manager of Project Financial Analysis and Support (PLANS). Bioversity International is a leading non-governmental organization specializing in crop diversity.

During her years at AUR, Anastasia was known for her active participation within the student community.  President of the BizClub, ResGrad, Campus Girl Scout, and captain and goalie of the She-Wolves soccer team, Anastasia also served as student assistant in the Business Studies Department. Praised by her professors and the students around her, she is one of AUR’s alumni who have left their marks on the school’s history.

This week she joined the student body and faculty once more to share her post-graduation experience. Anastasia talked about her leadership journey, and shared four key lessons with the packed auditorium. First of all, “Don’t pick your job, pick your boss” says Anastasia, explaining the importance of identifying someone who can help you develop your skills and support you throughout your professional growth. Additionally, approach a job interview as a two-way street; “you are interviewing your future boss as much as s/he is interviewing you!”  Taking this approach, according to Anastasia not only helps you understand the demands and expectations of the job, but it also helps you leave an impression as a thoughtful, inquisitive candidate. 

The second lesson was “Be a mentor and a mentee”. You need to look for role models in the organization to act as mentors to you, but at the same time you have to be prepared to mentor others.  Reach into the organization to support and guide those coming up behind you.  This mentor/mentee approach will help you establish connections very early on to help build an effective professional network. 

The third lessons was “Be a forever student”. Anastasia explained, leadership is not innate, it is constructed - it's a collection of all the skills you learn, not necessarily traits you are born with. In order to be excellent leaders, we need to recognize that we are always learning and evolving, and look for opportunities to build new skills and explore new disciplines.

The last leadership lesson was “Love what you do”. Anastasia believes that you can never do your best if you don’t enjoy your job; appreciate the value you add to an organization and understand how your position supports others. This plays a great role in your overall success as a leader and shapes your professional journey.

Anastasia’s lecture was both intriguing and friendly. It was inspiring to see one of AUR’s own come back to her alma mater to share her energy, enthusiasm and expertise with the students coming up behind her.