Interview with Crystal Klimavics - President of the International Women’s Club Kiev
GO2KIEV: What do you like best about living in Kiev?
I very much like the professional opportunities that one can create by using one’s life experiences. In 2005 when I moved to Kiev from the United States, with my husband and son, I immediately found a way to occupy my time in a positive way by using my ten years fitness instructor experience and I started a weekly Kick-Boxing class that has had consistent attendance for over two years. My fitness class participants created a quite a buzz in the community of how my classes were always filled with energy and positive encouragement. Soon afterward, I was approached by the International Women’s Club Kiev, to become the Hospitality Coordinator which was followed by a nomination to become the 2007-2008 President.
GO2KIEV: What is your role of the President of IWCK?
I oversee the Steering Committee divisions of the club in the areas of charity, hospitality, newsletter, women’s activity groups as well as the administrative groups. I must tell you, it has become a very fast learning curve in which I have had to master the fine art of diplomacy when listening to varying views and opinions from strong and intelligent international women. This has truly been an invaluable growth experience.
GO2KIEV: Tell us about some of the IWCK groups that you oversee?
IWCK has a very dedicated and valuable charity group that helps children, women, the homeless, people with disabilities, food delivery to the homebound and elderly, and monthly assistance to a soup kitchen. In 2007, IWCK had much to be proud of in regards to the annual Holiday Bazaar of which over $175,000 was raised! s well, as an accomplished charitable organization, 80% of all monies raised go directly to the charities we serve.
The Club’s Hospitality Division organizes tours, luncheons and events. Some of the tours offered are half-day events outside the city center which allows our members to explore the beautiful and very interesting villages, museums, and architectural treasures of Ukraine.
Our Interest Groups are a superb way of getting to know the fellow members of the club as well as indulge in a handicraft, sport, foreign language, musical or literary activity. Yes, we provide a social setting for our members but we also encourage an atmosphere of mental and physical instruction.
GO2KIEV: What have you learned while living in Kiev?
The principle that “Nothing in Life is Perfect”, which became my personal epiphany. In order for me to have quickly acclimated to the Eastern European mentality, I needed to accept the challenges and experiences of a vastly different culture.
GO2KIEV: How would your friends and family describe you?
An energetic woman who truly enjoys the challenge of setting goals and trying to achieve them.
GO2KIEV: How would you describe yourself?
I am always trying to improve upon myself in the professional and personal realm. Just to know that I have acquired meaningful work in my life gives me a great deal of pleasure.
GO2KIEV: What is your idea of a perfect weekend?
My favorite activity is spending time outdoors either hiking or bicycling. It would be my dream to have the next overseas assignment located close to the ocean so I could participate in water sports.
GO2KIEV:What are your plans for the future?
To provide a Professional Development Seminar to Ukrainian and English-speaking expatriates in which I would teach presentation skills, goal-setting and balance-life classes. Teaching is when I feel my best. Standing in front of a group of people and sharing my knowledge is my personal passion. Years ago, I taught such a seminar at a university in the United States and it was so well received that the same course is being attended by students in the present day.
GO2KIEV: What lasting memory of Kiev is imprinted in your mind?
I fully understand and can see that life in Ukraine can be described as challenging and stressful. I have learned that it is best if I do not fight these difficulties but to allow synchronistic events and people come into my life. I choose to live in Ukraine and I accept fully what this life has to offer.