I would like to begin a new series devoted more closely to my work and passion for Entrepreneurship: Profiles of Entrepreneurs. My little team and I will be profiling young entrepreneurs, sharing their stories and business journeys here on my blog. My hope is that it will encourage many of you to continue to DREAM BIG and to realize that many of us come from humble and often foreign origins.
DO YOU KNOW AN ENTREPRENEUR WE CAN FEATURE? Drop me a comment below or send an email. We would love to hear from you.
Allow me to introduce Ms. Sanda Pandza, after meeting her at the beautiful Gala event “Think Equal be Different,” in Rome she hosted in the breathtaking Villa Aurelia. I would like to especially thanks Alessandro and his team of photographers for the beautiful photos of the Gala. They truly captured all of the details perfectly.
After the Gala, I sat with Sanda over a cup of coffee to ask her about her journey to Rome and how she became a successful businesswoman. I hope you enjoy this profile of a successful female entrepreneur and also appreciate all of the details in Sanda’s craft– look at the pictures below to see the intimate little touches her company provides to every event it caters.
Sanda’s journey began in Croatia, when she was forced to leave her homeland as a young woman fleeing the horrors of the Balkan wars. She left for Rome, Italy where she had little family and a place to at least start over away from the chaos.
“The beginning is always tough for an immigrant. You are confused. You are starting over in a foreign land where you don’t speak the language and do not have much support. It is not easy, you do what you have to.”
She began taking Italian classes and immersed herself in school; nights were spent taking whatever jobs she could to stay afloat. “I did some modeling, some photography, waited tables, whatever I could.” Slowly, she started learning the native language and adopting to her new home. She graduated University with a degree in Foreign Literature. Though she longed for Croatia and thought her stay in Italy would only be temporary.
After University, Sanda started climbing up and working in different sectors from her humble beginnings in Rome. In 2001, she met the Roman Princess Maria Pace Odescalchi –and a beautiful collaboration was born. Since then she continues to maintain a very close relationship with Princess Maria, Sanda and her team regularly create and exclusively host events at Odescalchi Castle. From this chance encounter and opportunity to create, style and manage a series of events with the Princess, Sanda’s passion for people and events came to light before her very eyes. And voila — an entrepreneur was born!
From 2001, she started her own business Sanda Pandza Events. She has been busy creating events and collaborating ALL OVER Italy. In 2010, she started up another project Wedding Italian Professional (WIP) continuing to expand her creativity by connecting other event planners.
“I started WIP to put together my decennial experience in collaboration with others in the sector. The aim is to offer a starting platform for whoever wishes to embark on a career in wedding planning, besides trying to prevent improvisation, which is still very much diffused and hinders the profession as a whole.”
She then tells me about how this career is not without its challenges. Sanda explains, “People had trouble seeing what I do as a service at the beginning.” They also saw it as a luxury item and not a necessity. Overtime people saw that great events have great service and a strong team at the core making everything look effortless. And once people began to see the difference between “improvised events,” and “full-service” experience, they started to come around.
The life of an Entrepreneur means ideas are always flowing and projects are down the pipline. For Sanda, it is no different.
In addition to all over her events and creative endeavors Sanda has also written a book, “the Girl with the Suitcase” which is a bit autobiographical and chronicles her journey. The book is about a girl fleeing Croatia and reaching Italy.
I hope that you have enjoyed our first post in our new series Profiles of Entrepreneurs. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below recommending someone we may feature on the blog. You know my writing and my being is ALWAYS focused on inspiration and helping others. So I wanted to bring Sanda into this way of thinking and involve her in my ways of inspiration.
As we wrapped up our discussion over coffee, I asked Sanda about inspiration and what advice she has for young Entrepreneurs she would like to share. And this is what she told me.
“Believe in beauty and strength we all have inside without being afraid to show it and to share it with one another. Success is never the result of one single person.”
I would like to thank my dear friend Sanda Pandza for a beautiful event and for sharing her entrepreneurial journey with all of us. I hope this inspires you that anything is possible.