Life formula of 10 COAF women

12 March 2020

By Nane Vardanyan

4 min read

At COAF, 69% of our staff members and 44% of the leadership team are women. The worthwhile input they have in strengthening our mission, in our daily operations, and the feminine touch in working with children and their environment has us appreciating them every single day.

To get to know our very own outstanding women and get inspired by them, we asked 10 female COAF employees about their life formula, the principles and habits that have been a dominant factor in their big or minor achievements.

Hasmik Sargsyan

Relationship Development & Fundraising Coordinator

I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years and am a vegetarian for over 8 years already. I believe that no human being has the right to decide who has the right to live and who does not, including animals. The most important thing for me is the sincerity of intentions and thoughts, purity of heart, the ability to give love and the ability to receive it as well. I learned to love all 4 seasons of the year when I learned to ski. I wake up at 5:30 AM – 6 AM to meditate – that’s the best time when there are only positive vibes in the air in the overall Universe, and one can meditate calmly.

Meline Gharibyan

Office Coordinator

One great habit is to be obsessed with what you do. Both of my professions are not used in my current work site. Whether temporary or permanent, I enjoy what I do because it’s a new and interesting experience. I once worked at a venue operating lights in Orlando, FL, another time I cleaned toilets every weekend at my family’s restaurant, worked at Anthropologie (high-end clothing store), I also had a guide/research job at a museum natural history (undergraduate as a historian). I also have an ongoing job as a photographer at pretty much every single Hardcore Punk/ Metal shows, anywhere and everywhere I go. I like to put myself in different shoes, I also like the human experience because what else is more interesting than that?

Innesa Grigoryan

Administration & HR Manager

strive for excellence in every detail of my supportive function at COAF and enjoy most of all the human relations and the very people I work with. My bright teammates are the cornerstones of COAF as a leading development organization in Armenia. Continuously appreciating everyone’s work and cherishing the human aspect of our mission and achievements is my vital key to our collective success!

As a woman and as a mother, I attach great importance to such human values as love, respect, honesty, and gratitude. Nurturing kindness, promoting justice, spreading love, practicing respect, being guided by honesty and exercising gratitude are my everyday habits – not only they have a direct effect on others, but they always have a positive impact on myself as well, and through them, I constantly seek a better version of myself!

Irina Igitkhanyan

Partnerships & Events Manager

My motto has always been that I believe in the goodness of people (it’s a quote from one of my favorite movies that describes my attitude in life best). Therefore, I always begin by expecting that relationships/partnerships must last and am ready to invest every effort.

Whatever happens, I usually blame myself first. It might not be that noble after all, as people end up taking advantage of it, but it helps me to never stop learning and trying to improve.

Managing projects for years taught me to be responsible for every single detail and project component, even though there are other people in charge of that particular task. It doesn’t mean direct interference (especially when there are professionals involved), but rather general awareness and attempts to be prepared for any emergency.

Lusine Sahakyan

COAF Health Subprogram Manager

My daughter turned five, and since then I have been the one who learns from her. Constant learning is a dominant factor in my life, especially learning from new generations. I have learned a lot from village kids as well. Also, I value others’ freedom in their actions and preferences and enjoy mine as well.

Anahit Hakobyan

Village Programs Manager

I have a habit of real-life testing my ideas with a small survey or experiment among friends/co-workers, writing down everything in a structured manner, as well as drawing and visualizing when thinking of an idea/process. I am trying to concentrate on fun/pleasant parts in everything I do to enjoy the process.

Also, I enjoy gamifying my work (it works not ONLY on children): this might sound not as a habit, but it became one for me․ I used to and still am playing a lot of games (board games mainly) that inspire me to design activities.

Shahane Halajyan

COAF SMART Programs Manager

I believe that my greatest moving force that has become a habit is the curiosity towards constant learning and questioning what seems to be given. Essentially, I’m driven by Descartes’ “I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”. Revolutions, paradigm shifts, and change all start with an idea in someone’s mind and the persuasion to explore it further and make it happen.

Seda Mkhitaryan

COAF SMART Center Education Analyst

If a decision needs to be taken, all pros and cons are weighed and they seem to be equal, I rely on my intuition, as it never betrays. The more I have to do, the more I manage to do, so I like loading myself. I don’t panic and stay quiet in most critical situations. Staying positive helps to  overcome difficulties. Practicing several yoga asanas helps get energized and creative.

Nakhshun Afanessian 

Social Work Coordinator

Professional independence and self-realization I have at COAF have been a great moving force for me to analyze everything and make decisions accordingly. I am constantly trying to have a multi-angle and systematic vision of different phenomena in my surroundings.

Syuzanna Khachatryan

ELT Manager

Ongoing reflection, both personal and professional, has always been my strength to become a well-rounded individual. It pushes me to think critically and creatively, work collaboratively and communicate effectively with people from different cultures and disciplines. Inversion thinking is yet another crucial asset I’ve mastered. Instead of thinking forward, I flip it and think backward: Former American football player, coach, and analyst Dr. Lou Holtz once said: “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” Having this in mind I plan every detail of my even everyday activities.

An unknown world in the cradle of nature: Debed Canyon

The road to hi-tech runs through Akori village