Anastasija is the mother to her three-year-old son, Alexander and a founding partner and director of two London based businesses. She was born in Riga, Latvia and spent her childhood living with her parents in Libya where her father worked for several years.
After returning to Latvia and graduating from school, Anastasija progressed to higher education and received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Riga University and a bachelor’s degree in aviation engineering from Riga Aviation Institute. After that she worked on various projects in Moscow, Geneva, Paris, Dublin and Chicago, finally moving to London in 2006, where she worked and studied for a post-graduate diploma in marketing. Anastasija practices Yoga and Pilates, is interested in Oriental philosophies and recently attended special seminars on Lake Baikal in Russia and Nepal
You have travelled so much in the world – is that a search for something?
I have travelled a lot since my childhood. Firstly with my parents, and then on my own. I was always interested in learning how other people live, what occupied their minds, what were their dreams. I wanted to find my own place in life. I lived in Africa, worked in America, studied and worked in Switzerland, France and Ireland. I travelled in Europe and Asia. I found many friends and like-minded people. I am very pleased with that and am grateful to everyone who I met on the way. The more people you meet, the better you understand that despite all the differences in appearances, deep inside we are similar. We cry when we are hurt and laugh when we are happy.
What is your experience of living in different places and do you have a favourite?
Having lived in different places I have learned that for me there are places that are great for a holiday but that would be difficult to live in. And there are places great to work and live in but where switching off would not be necessarily easy. It all depends on an individual and his or her needs. From my point of view, America is a great place for holidays and travel, same as France. Switzerland – and especially the French speaking part – is a great place to live in. It has a very positive energy, good climate and beautiful scenery. I even think that when I retire I will move to Switzerland where I will write my memoirs…
What made you decide to come and live in London?
I came to London in 2006. At the time I worked in Riga with a company that was involved in various student exchange programmes with other countries, so that young people could learn different cultures, find friends and learn languages. One of the companies we were in business partnership with, invited me to come to work in Britain and that’s how I found myself in London, a place I instantly fell in love with.
What is the biggest challenge for a woman to migrate from one place to another?
I think that the biggest challenge for a woman to migrate from one place to another is in quickly understanding the expectation of a woman’s role and conduct in the new environment. This understanding helps you to assimilate smoothly into the new society, and with that to find your own standing and comfortable circles of business and social contacts. Knowledge of the local language, history and culture certainly help achieve that goal quicker.
You are also an entrepreneur – how did you achieve so much in your life?
For several years I worked as an employee and at the same time studied for a degree in marketing and management. When I became a mother, that education came in rather handy. I wanted to spend more time with my baby son, watch him grow and develop. With a 9 to 5 work schedule that would have been difficult. So I figured out that working for myself would allow me to combine motherhood with work. Today I am a co-owner and a director of two companies – one is a publishing company, another is a business consultancy. I do my own planning for the day and spend as much time as needed with my boy. I can say that I became an entrepreneur thanks to my baby son.
What is the key to your success?
I think that my key to success is in the ability to find positive aspects in any life situation. I also have a rule – never to leave for later what can be done now. Many years ago a complete stranger came up to me in the street and asked for help and we started talking. I still remember that conversation clearly as well as the sad look in her eyes. She told me then to look in the eyes of older people – not many of them look happy. I said that perhaps it was not easy to be happy when you are old. At first she stayed silent and then said that the majority of people will have desires and dreams but do nothing to fulfil those, leaving specific actions ‘for later’.
With some it is for the fear of change and others for mere laziness. For them this ‘later’ never comes. When people age, they look back and realise that dreams have remained dreams. Those dreams are still alive deep inside but the time needed to turn them into reality is almost gone. She said that if you wanted to look happy at any age, to never leave things for later. Since then I try to stick to that rule in my life: do everything on time and look at the world with happy eyes at any age.
What has been your biggest support while following your dreams?
As far as I can remember, I was always a rather independent individual. Despite that, I think the biggest support in life is my father’s love. He was an extremely talented and a very decent person, strong, loyal and loving. His love and care gave me strength and courage to become what I am. He passed away 5 years ago but I still feel his support. I would love my son to be – even if a tiny bit – like my father.
Do you think that your dreams are fulfilled?
I consider myself to be a lucky person, most of my dreams and plans have come true, but life goes on! In the future, I would like to have more kids, and to write and publish a book. I would like to learn to live in harmony with myself and the world. I would like to continue my involvement with charities but on a bigger scale than now. I would like to travel to the North Pole and see Aurora. I still have plenty of dreams so will have to live long to make them all come true.
What are the next projects that will keep you motivated?
Another beloved member of my family is a Jack Russell called Theodore. He was already three years old – all of them with us – when my son Alexander was born. Theodore and Alexander have the most reverent of relationships. Watching then together I feel an urge to write about it, so maybe this will be my next project.
Have you discovered your mission in life? If yes, can you share it with us?
My father told me that when I was little – around 3 or 4 years old – I used to tell everyone that I was there to make people happy! Maybe this is my mission in life?!