Meet Woman on the Move Susanna Zaraysky (32) of Create Your World Books
The career chose me! I often wrote travelogues about my international adventures and would write short prose or poems and send it to my friends. I even wrote out poems as invitations to events I was planning. For years, my friends would reproach me for not publishing my work or writing a book. In 2005, I became allergic to myself and to my job in wine marketing and knew I needed to follow my passion. Yes! One can literally become allergic to one’s job. I developed allergies to wheat, citric acid (no tomatoes), dairy, chocolate, corn, and grapes. I was in the Italian wine and food business and could not eat most Italian food or drink the wine.
Tell us about how you chose your career/business and what your responsibilities include?
I was at an Italian wine tasting event for work and the speaker was talking about how Italian wine was losing its sense of terroir, its roots. I thought about what my roots were and decided to write a memoir about my life in different languages and cultures. I wrote that book, One Eyed Princess in Babel, but couldn’t find an agent or publisher to take it on. So, I decided to write two smaller books. Language is Music is about how to learn foreign languages using music and other media. Travel Happy, Budget Low is about how to travel the world on a budget. People always asked me how I was able to speak seven languages so well and travel to over 50 countries on a budget. I figured that I’d first make my presence with those books and then get the memoir on the market.
Tell us about the company you work for or own?
I have my own publishing company, Kaleidomundi and my mission is to create global citizens by giving people the tools to speak foreign languages easily, travel the world on a budget and connect with people worldwide.
What are some of the most fulfilling projects you have been involved with so far?
I was invited by the Qatari Ministry of Culture to the Doha International Book Fair to participate in the American section. I was a last-minute addition to the panel on US-Arab Cultural relations. After my presentation about how music can be a bridge between cultures, the Minister of Culture came to me and congratulated me on my presentation. Several high school students came to talk to me at my booth about how music and the media have helped them learn English. They were so excited to talk to a Western woman who had ideas about how to make education fun. They were also very curious to ask me about how Americans view Arabs after September 11. I was elated to make a personal connection to them and show them that not all Americans were close minded and unaware about Arab culture.
Are there any people in your field you would like to meet and/or work with and have not yet had the opportunity?
I would love to meet with Dr. Oliver Sacks, whose books inspired me to write Language is Music because he made me realize that I learn languages like music and that’s why I have such good accents.
What are some of your favorite ways to network?
Do you have a mentor – if so how did you choose one another? If not, is this something you think would benefit your career and is there anyone you would like to have as a mentor?
I would benefit from a mentor who is a go-getter like myself and can help me learn when to let-go and stop working!
What’s been the most surprising thing that has happened to you so far in your career?
People have come out of the woodwork to help me with my goals. I think of something that I need and suddenly, I get an email, call or text message from a friend who has some ideas for me.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I walk. I ride my bike. I listen to the opera, Tosca, with my eyes closed and imagine the scenes.
Any parting advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Always believe in yourself. Surround yourself with positive people. Find other entrepreneurs and support each other. Pay little or no heed to the naysayers. If you are around negative people, they will rub off on you. Find quiet places where you can concentrate on your work. Maybe it’s the quiet room at the library or a certain quiet park. Find it and relish it!
How can our readers connect with you?
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