Petya Kamburova is 26 years old. This detail is essential to the story. I want to introduce her to you because she is a real vortex or rather a step ahead of life, which is chasing her tirelessly. I will try to recreate and describe everything, with which this wise child has impressed me, because she is really such. She does not waste time in nonsense, in loafing about and searching for direction. She squeezes it to the maximum and, as a result, she rises high above ground. To see this in a young person today is rare, but I think this story will be an example for you too, and it will make you reconsider whether you take everything, whether you do not miss opportunities, whether your years do not pass in sitting still, whether you develop.
Everything inherent to the young people refers to Petya as well. Festivals, adventures with friends, travels – everything. In parallel, she is among the main engines of a world company. I will keep a secret a bit longer where and how I met her and what exactly she works.
When she told me about herself, I realized once again how important the art is for raising children. She is from Pleven and she has grown in a family of an artist father and an English teacher mother. They have never forbidden her anything. She has always appreciated this freedom and never turned it into an abuse of freedom – on the contrary, it has developed her strong sense of responsibility. To herself and others. Main feature of her character is curiosity – about everything and everyone. Another powerful engine in her life. Since she was a child, she is communicative and easily befriends everyone around her. She has been engaged in whatnot, and not superficially but to the maximum – she has always reached a high level of mastering. With everything she engages, she wants to find what the level of perfection is and achieve it. When she achieves it – it is time for the next adventure. Dynamics and flexibility are her second nature. She is against the belief that if you are good in certain area, you have to concentrate on it. This would rather limit you, deprive you of the opportunity to try, to discover the world, and it to discover you. She has done ballet – 6 years, Latino dances – 2 years, violin – 3 years. Literature is her favourite activity, she has participated in many essay competitions and has always gotten prizes. She has done ceramics and painting – her father is a teacher in the school she has attended. She has studied English and French in one of the most elite schools in Pleven – the Language School. For a short while, she has done modelling too – for which I am extremely surprised. Taking photos of her was the easiest. She behaved like a professional model. She has played also the lead role in a short feature film. She has other activities too, mostly in the field of art.
When I asked her what did all this give her, she started listing: from ballet – the posture important for a lady and the skill to work in team, from dances – stage presence, from painting – aesthetics and imagination, from literature – detail and thorough thinking, from violin – love of music. She took something of value from everything, and this whole set of values makes her an invaluable and worthy person. She has two dreams. Rather goals that have not changed since she was little. To travel around the world but not just flying from city to city. She wants to spend everywhere enough time to dive into the different way of life, to explore the local people, and to satisfy completely her curiosity about a certain place and culture. Such a thirst for understanding cannot be beguiled with a day or two spent in the hotel and with a few famous sights. Her second dream is, through her activity, to help causes and people and in this way to make them happier. Yes, this sounds high and a cliché, but she does it ever since she remembers. If such activities are done as an obligation, one will forget about them and will be inconsistent. For her, things come from the heart. Ever since she was in school, she supported charity causes helping different people and organisations. She got help from classmates and friends too. They trusted her because she had always been very communicative and liked by her classmates, teachers and people around her in general. She had sheltered dozens of stray dogs and cats, and to date in her spare time she helps charity organizations. She believes this has helped her more and has taught her to be empathic and conscious.
After graduating 12th grade, it was time for her to decide how to continue her education. Most of her friends had left to study abroad but she was stubborn and decided to study in Bulgaria. Again, out of curiosity – what is the bad thing in our education? She enrolled at University of National and World Economy, with “International Economic Relations” major. It was her choice because this major is a combination of many disciplines. Theory is the same everywhere but education is what you make it for yourself. Along with her studies in UNWE, she took prestigious Harvard courses held in Bulgaria, she won many university and European scholarships. She also won the scholarship of “America for Bulgaria” Foundation, and was one of the few people who went to USA to study “Entrepreneurship” in one of the best – Babson College, in its campuses in the entrepreneurial centres New York, San Francisco and Boston. After her return to Sofia, she joined UNWE Business Club and Association of Bulgarian Leaders and Entrepreneurs (ABLE), where she realized many projects in education, personal development, entrepreneurship and business. After that, she won an Erasmus+ scholarship and studied “Marketing Management” in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Education is what you make for yourself. The country or the teacher is not important – you are important. I thought about it, remembered my education, and it is true. Important is what you want to achieve, if what you get from universities is little you can acquire knowledge and experience from many other places. We are the ones who put limits to everything. If you want to get the maximum from an education, no one and in no way can stop you. She proves it. There is an interesting story from Denmark that has impressed me – when enlisted at the university she was curious what was the highest score. They told her – 12, but no one aimed at 12 because it was like 6+, and the score 10 was quite satisfactory. That was an absolute maximum. It seemed fun to her and she decided to show she could reach the cherished score 12. There were two scores at the end of the first school year – both of her scores were the maximum 12. Meanwhile, she managed to tour several countries nearby, not to miss a party, and to create contacts and friendships that she keeps to this day. I got lost, really, she told me this and I melted. I was happy for her, I understood her, I am the same too. The need to be good in everything you do, and not for others, not for the gains, but for your own sake because it charges you, because it is a way of life and this way you feel significant that you achieve something and you are not born in vain. Sometimes, at least for me, it is very painful, for the others around me too, because it is a premise for becoming wrapped in thoughts and obsessed for periods of time, these successes and achievements are not easily achieved. But with Petya it is different. She does it with a smile and an ease, she achieves a lot with positivism.
For her, contacts and people are a high value, and she believes that everyone can teach something to the others, and anyone can learn something from the others. She does not despair and does not depress, unlike me. She goes through life with an open mind and eyes wide open for its beauty. She has mastered a wisdom of hers, with the help of which she looks at life not in the momentary event (for example, an angry person behaves rudely at a cash register), but in the detail, in the story, she digs and looks for the context of the situation and the people. In thoughts and analysis, she removes herself from the momentary event. Thus, she passes through it unnoticeably and does not get angry at it. We considered a bit why we are diverting in the way we perceive negative events and failures, and we came to conclusion that actors are people who use their emotions, quickly exhaust them and become unstable. Actors are easily depressed and most of us are dark and gloomy people. OK, I am talking about me.
After these two scores of 12 in Denmark, she returned to UNWE to complete her education. After graduating with honours, she decided to develop an idea of own business. With a few friends, they set up a startup company. The idea was good, but they failed to realize it. The undertaking failed after months of work. This period of about half a year was the period I call “intermediate”. For me, these periods are the most frightening and terrible. When you finish something, you close a page and have to open a new one. But what? In this period there are many unknowns, there is fear of what is coming. The unknown has always frightened me and I never got used to it. Again, she showed me another point of view concerning these periods, times more positive than my perception, and I got lost again. How good it is to look at life with the clean and positive eyes of a child. Or, at least to keep the child in you. Yes, but it is a bit difficult to achieve at 40. In this “intermediate” period, she decided not to start working from 9 to 5, but to continue again with everything that provoked her and was interesting for her. So, one morning she got a Linkedin message from Atanas Raykov – Director Business Development CEE, Viber. After several application stages and a few complicated case studies, at 23, Petya became the third member of the Viber team for Central and Eastern Europe as Project Manager CEE, several months after the opening of the office. Responsibility was high, and the region was strategically important to the company due to the high usability of the application in these latitudes. This restless girl from Pleven, a girl from Bulgaria, almost a child, found herself on the top floors of the world business. Perhaps it was fate, and perhaps a pursuit that ended happily for her. It is not over yet, because she will always be such and will vigorously pursue her goals. Rather, she is just starting, everything so far is just the beginning of something huge, I am sure of it. I imagine what she will achieve at 36, and what it will be at 46, and I do not even imagine at 56.
That is why I told you that you might reconsider if you are taking everything from your life. This girl gives me an example of how to live truly. Compared to her, I have lost valuable years. Lost them in stubbornness, whims, discontent. I will do anything possible to learn from her and, most importantly, with a smile to succeed in aiming the very, very distant.
Petya is behind a number of projects in Viber for this region, related to innovation and business development, using the products of Viber for creating campaigns in partnership with the biggest festivals, media, celebrities, sports teams and corporations in CEE. We found each other by chance through a common friend. We met at the right time of releasing a new functionality designed only for pioneer partners. I was ready for this experiment and agreed, driven by my curiosity. Thus, my community and my chatbot in Viber were born. Currently, the community is constantly improving and very soon it will become a wonderful new place that everyone wants to have and uses. Petya works hard also on the start and development of chatbots in our region, which are becoming more and more popular among companies and organisations. She travels around the world with her work, meets different and interesting people, falls into many adventures, exchanges experience with Viber teams globally, continues to be active in social activities and continues to have fun. She decided to spend her last holiday in a slightly different way and went to Thailand where she volunteered at an elephant nature park. There she took care of the animals every day, almost equally with the staff, but again did not stop communicating, and in the little free time she made friends with other volunteers from all over the world.
I think I have to stop here. There is much more. But I think it is absolutely enough for now.
This is Petya Kamburova!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Three months after I wrote the text above, I will tell some more here. I share this not to prove how sagacious I am, but because this girl climbed the lather even higher and took few steps at once for a short time. Petya Kamburova has been promoted and now she is “Business Development” Global Manager at Viber. In a nutshell – before she worked for the business development of the company for our region, and now she does it for the whole world. Part of her duties include creating engaging content for the platform through strategic partnerships with brands from different industries. In addition, she will continue to create and implement innovative projects and marketing campaigns. She left to live in London and opened a new page in her life. She does not plan to quit her job, contacts and friendships in Bulgaria. It will be hard for her to keep them but I am sure she will succeed. I wish her to take from the world she will travel around the best that cannot be bought, I wish her success and I hope we will work together again.
With the support of Glenfiddich Whisky
Text – Vladimir Karamazov
Photographer – Vladimir Karamazov for #Karamazovfoto
See the entire project Mission Maverick
18.10.2018 Vladimir Karamazov®