It all started for the introverted teenage girl who was passionate about math and nothing else, when my wise father (a physics teacher) decided I should take acting classes at the local theatre. It turned into a two-year trip into the land of drama and improve theater, side by side with a free-wheeling American Peace Corps volunteer and the local theater’s female “I want it all” Romanian director. When it ended, I had become a totally different person: more confident and sociable, wise to the fact that there was much more to life than math; that it is, in fact, all about people. The moment of truth came when I decided to figure out how to combine my geek nature with theatre, by creating a type of education that would help young people grow, transform, reach their potential and be happy.
Since 2002, I have been designing and delivering training and workshops for various student organizations in both English and Romanian, for corporate teams when I worked in Germany and Switzerland and, since 2010, as a member of the board of Scoala de Valori, a Romanian non-governmental institute for teenage and adult education, doing the work that I love of learning architect and trainer. To date, I have delivered about 800 training days and designed over 1,000 altogether. Because I did this as part-timer, it helped keep my approaches and methods “fresh.” Most of the workshops I now design and deliver are geared to young adults, though from time to time I get a chance to work with older adults, too.
I love weaving a story into all my workshops and staging bits and pieces of info or props to help create a unique atmosphere for each workshop.
The first educational content I ever worked on was software published under the name “Furnicuta.” It received the award for „Best Educational Software of 2003” for Romanian middle schools. About this time, I also partnered with friends in my first start-up venture.
Currently, the activities I like especially are values workshops, self-discovery and self-awareness sessions, workshops for building self-confidence and career orientation workshops. I also love project and event management, two areas I have a great deal of work experience in that I enjoy sharing.
In all the workshops I design, I use experiential learning and techniques borrowed from the theatre. I strongly believe a 60/40 ratio between experiential (a.k.a. “playing”) and theory content yields the best results for my students.
The workshop I am most proud of is titled “Pendo – the Values Kingdom,” which I was inspired to create while playing Fable on my Xbox on a cold winter’s day warmed by hot chocolate. Adi Rusu, a game lover himself, helped me upgrade the role-play. Since its debut in 2011, more than 300 young adults and older adults have taken it. I never thought when I designed it that it would become so popular We currently present it through Scoala de Valori in all sorts of environments, and I love adapting it for people from different backgrounds. In its current version, it combines role-play and fun with introspection and dyads. It stimulates participants’ creativity while making them think about whether they actually live by the values they claim and if they are in synch with their employers’ values. It’s a day packed full of colorful fun, enjoyed in a team setting with people you otherwise work with in a completely different manner.