|26 Feb 2020|
|WM Winter 2020 Dear to Create|
Cristina Sucu, Class 2009, has built a life of success, creativity and fun along with her husband, and business partner, Vlad. A mother of two young girls, she spins her experience at AISB, her diverse education, and her love of play and children into a successful family business. Read on to hear how this alumna is living her passion.
WM: Whether we are talking about your time at AISB with higher level math and economics, the many languages you studied or now your success as an adult, you have always had focus and excelled.
What is your approach?
CS: I have always been goal-oriented and worked hard in my high-school and university years. I remember having a friend in university who only got around to studying for her exams a few days in advance and almost always got higher grades than me even though I started stressing months in advance.
Although experience has taught me to better manage my stress and expectations, I am the same way now in both my business and my personal life as I strive to be better at what I do in every way I can and show my team members the importance of not settling for what is just good-enough even if it means having to work a little bit harder.
WM: In what ways has your motivation been influenced by growing up in a family where both parents are entrepreneurs?
CS: Greatly so. I truly believe that models are the most important factor in shaping an individual and having had mine in my mom and dad has helped me become less risk-averse, more determined and passionate about pursuing my goals. We grew up with our parents telling us stories about the difficult times before the 1989 revolution and starting their business. Seeing their passion which still burns to this day, has been a great motivation for us to follow in their footsteps.
WM: Now that you and your husband are parents, how have things changed?
CS: In many ways, but the most significant challenge that we have had to face is time management and finding the ideal balance between spending as much of it with our kids while still focusing on expanding our business and looking for new opportunities.
WM: Tell us about one of your current goals, personally or professionally?
CS: Personally, I want to be more time-efficient this year and squeeze in more physical activities for myself as it’s the part of me I always regretted sacrificing when I started the business and especially after having children. Professionally, we are looking at ways to expand the business in other cities in Romania.
WM: In regards to happiness do you believe it just happens or does everyone have to work each day to reach it?
CS: Probably some of both because you need a little bit of luck but also to nurture it once you achieve it. Also, I think we need to see happiness in every little thing we do, if we’re talking about closing a good business deal as well as your kid’s new drawing skills or achievements. My experience has taught me not to take happiness for granted and try to make the most of the present moment.
WM: You got married at 21 right after university, to your husband, Vlad. Alma was born in 2015 and Aria in 2017, what advice do you have for young parents?
CS: Whatever the sacrifices, it is worth it, so try to be there for one another. Sometimes we can get caught up in the difficulties we face in trying to accommodate the needs of the family and especially when children arrive, but we tried to share the burdens as much as we share the good moments.
WM: Why choose AISB for your children?
CS: Having had the chance to see for ourselves the differences between the teaching system and methods at AISB, we both want our children to grow up to be open-minded, balanced and independent young people and we feel AISB provides the best opportunity for cultivating this in our children.
WM: Where did you get the idea of starting a business based on play?
CS: Both Vlad and I have travelled a lot in the years leading up to our start-up business and although we did not have kids at the time, this concept of edu-tainement (educational entertainment) we saw in places such as Dubai or Singapore really appealed to us and we adapted it to what we considered most appropriate for our market.
Playing is the only effective means through which small children can learn and I think it is very important for them to have such facilities in order to discover their personalities, develop certain skills and building social connections to others.
WM: What has it been like working with your spouse to start a business?
CS: I think it is very rewarding to share achievements as well as the workload with your life partner. Although I can see how working with your spouse can be a challenge, in our case it has been a good experience as we are not conflictual people and always look at the bigger picture when we disagree. In any partnership it is also important in my opinion to outline from the beginning each other’s strong suits as well as responsibilities.
WM: As a female entrepreneur, what is your biggest challenge?
CS: I will admit that I have been, for the most part sheltered from the difficulties I am sure many women face in business having been born into a respected family name. However, although there are evident and significant changes in gender inequality issues everywhere, it is still a male dominated environment and there will always be in my opinion, preconceptions about the role of women in society, to some extent. To me, this is all the more reason I want to be a model for my daughters as my mother has been to me.
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