Inspirational Women – Yana Berlin

Jane: Yana, you are the founder and CEO of the hugely popular successful networking site aimed at women,
‘Fabulously 40.com’ How did you get the idea for this; what made you want to start it up?

Yana: I felt that women of our demographic were ignored. Everyone is concentrating on baby boomers or twenty or thirty somethings. Born in 1965 I missed the baby boomer boat, and didn’t feel appropriate hanging out on MySpace and Facebook which were initially geared for a younger demographic. I had my own children who had their profiles on these social networks, and hanging around with Mom on the same social network was just not “cool”.

Besides, I wanted to get the word out that 40 and beyond are the best years of your life. I also wanted to create a virtual community that focused on the positive aspects of aging as well as provided information, support and nourishment for women all over the world.

Jane: You weren’t born in the US but are actually from Russia. How old were you when you left Russia and what influence has your European heritage has had on you?

Yana: Yes, I was born in St. Petersburg and emigrated to the States when I was twelve. I was brought up in a very tight knit family. Even though I lived in the US for over thirty years I’m still very much Russian; starting with the accent that I have never lost, to all the little things that were embedded into me since I was a little girl. My family was all about values, doing the right thing, respecting the elders, and caring for loved ones.

Jane: Do you remember what your first paid job was? How much did you earn?

Yana: My first job was as a baby-sitter; ironically I was the first one to land a job when we came over. It was very exciting and scary at the same time. I was babysitting a 9 month-old baby. Only after an hour I had to phone my dad for help, when I couldn’t figure out how to operate a diaper. In Russia there were no pampers at the time, so I figured since my dad was a mechanical engineer he would figure it out, thank God he did not disappoint me. I don’t remember how much I was paid, but I do remember that gas was 49 cents a gallon at the time.

Jane: What were your career thoughts when you left school?

Yana: I was always very ambitious. I started a business while I was in High School, and have continued to be very entrepreneurial throughout my life.

Jane: How involved is your partner in what you do?

Yana: My husband is my biggest cheerleader as well as business advisor. He travels a lot, but is always eager to answer my questions or lend a shoulder when I want to vent.

Jane: What problems and benefits have you found in combining motherhood and a career?

Yana: Since launching Fabulously40, I’ve worked 80 hours a week. My children are grown and all took it upon themselves to help out with house chores. One of my daughters works full time for Fabulously40. I’m really proud of my children. I guess the benefit of working hard and running your own business was having kids watch and learn. I have to say that they are all very entrepreneurial and have big dreams and many goals.

Jane: When are you happiest?

Yana: When I know that all my children are safe in bed, and I’m falling asleep as my husband holds me.

Jane: What do you think is the secret of happiness?

Yana: The pursuit of happiness is a life-long quest; it means different things to different people. To me, “happy” stands for:
Harmony – Listening and paying attention to everything that
strikes a chord.
Appreciation – Appreciating and celebrating all that we have.
Politeness – Treating others how we would like to be treated.
Positivity – Always looking for the good and the beautiful.
Yin/Yang- Having balance in life.

The problem with being happy is that things like harmony, appreciation and balance don’t necessarily come easy. In fact, sometimes we have to work for them. One of the best tools I have found to instil a sense of happiness is simply to make a list of the things I feel happy about. It only takes a few minutes each day, but the psychic rewards are well worth the time and effort.

Jane: How do you relax?

Yana: I have several hobbies. I paint, knit and make jewellery. I also like to write. Sometimes it’s relaxing, sometimes it’s stressful. It depends on the activity and the complexity of the project. I like to challenge myself.

Jane: Who has been the most significant and or influential person in your life?

Yana: My parents; they built a foundation for me and my brother and are always available to help, guide or scold, even now in my forties. If I’m out of line I’m reminded!

Jane: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in life?

Yana: There is something to be learned from everyone you meet.

Jane: If the present Yana could give some advice to the 18 year old Yana what would it be?

Yana: Guilt and stress are useless emotions that only cause negative effects. Finding ways to live without them is the most beneficial aspect of our wellbeing.

Jane: Yana, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us; I really appreciate it. Thank you!

This link will take you to Yana’s fabulously40 site. It’s a great site with loads of information, interesting articles and opportunities to network with likeminded women from all over the globe!

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Posted on December 14th, 2008 by

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