Social City Networking is all about COMMUNITY, and encouraging members of each community to become more engaged positively in theirs! We encourage people to become community leaders, and to understand that they are capable of anything – that networking and connecting to like-minded individuals positively contribute to both personal and professional aspects of life! This month’s feature Social City Networking INC. interview: We love and adore Natalia Anja of Natalia Anja Photography.
Natalia has been involved with some pretty incredible organizations that all about inspiring people to live their lives to the fullest, and has been known to collaborate with a charity or two. We sat down with her to find out more about what being “SOCIAL in the CITY” means to her, check out what she had to say!
SC: Describe what community means to you in one word:
SC: Why do you do what you do?
NA: I’m very blessed and have found something that makes me smile each and every day that also allows people to feel more confident. One of my main goals in life is to make people feel good about themselves and photography allows me to do that. I truly believe that everyone has inner and outer beauty although too many people don’t recognize that within themselves and they should. I love to bring that out in them. I’m a creative person and I do it because it makes me SO happy!
SC: What are you passionate about?
NA: Life, people, love, helping others, new experiences and adventure!! I adore learning about people and building old and new relationships. Mix all that in with painting, writing, and photography and that is the ultimate life.
SC: What about Vancouver attracted you to become engaged positively in the community, and how do you feel being engaged benefits the community?
NA: Having experienced living in a lot of different places throughout my life I feel a great sense of community in Vancouver. People genuinely care about one another. I love being involved and I don’t say no to new positive experiences. I feel being engaged in the community emits a positive energy into the world and we all need that.
SC: What are your projects inspired from, and what are they all about (Feel free to take this opportunity to showcase maybe a upcoming project or promotion that you’ll be launching in the near future – provide website links and brief description if you decide to do so!)?
NA: I have a few Photography projects in the works that not many people know about that will be launching soon. I like to do projects on people and things that fascinate and intrigue me. Three of my favorite things to do are photography; as well as painting and writing so soon you will see all three of those things being incorporated into my work.
We’re in the planning stages of a project that I’m extremely excited about. A close friend of mine Dan Rizzuto – founder of not for profit organization “Project Solution Jamaica” , asked me to be involved as one of the 4 photographers to make a charity photography book. The team will be going to photograph Jamaica and it’s amazing people to create a beautiful picture book in efforts to fund scholarship opportunities and a breakfast program that feeds approximately 500 children. I’m such a huge fan of this project and I can’t wait to be more involved with their team. You can check out the project here: http://www.facebook.com/ProjectSolutionJamaica
SC: What is one major lesson/learning you are taking away from your entrepreneurial journey so far?
NA: To sleep more! (Laughs) If you are passionate about something and work really, really hard at it and are good to people everything will work out.
SC: Why is community important to you (personally)?
NA: We’re all here for the same reason; if we don’t take the time to get to know and help one another what are we gaining?
SC: In your own opinion, how would you encourage others to live more socially engaged within our community?
NA: Engage with one another. Smile at people walking down the street, talk to people in the elevator, and share a simple hello. We all have our moments when we just want to be alone or are in a rush but if we just took a few moments to do a few of those things it would go a long way. I think that a smile is extremely contagious and it can change someone’s day.
SC: What is a personal experience you have had where social networking has benefited you in accomplishing your dreams and your goals?
NA: I meet most of my clients in social settings. After I shoot I go straight to a coffee shop to start doing post production and I have met so many incredible people that have turned into friends. I have a really close, great group of friends that surround themselves with amazing people that I have been blessed to meet and work with. Vancouver has a lot of talented and creative people, I have been fortunate enough to work with some of them that have taught me a lot and look forward to meeting more.
SC: What is some advice that you would like to share to people out there when it comes to following your dreams?
NA: I was terrified of pursuing photography for a really long time because there are a lot of incredibly talented photographers in the city that I truly look up to. I was fortunate enough to have someone in my life that gave me a ton of support and tough love, so one day I threw myself into it… worked my butt off and I couldn’t have been any happier since that day. We fear success and I think it’s so funny because it’s failure and not trying that we should fear. We usually stay within our comfort zone but once we step outside of it, that’s when we truly start living.
SC: What are your socially conscious contributions to your community, and what inspired the idea behind them?
NA: My friends and I are always looking for ways to give back. A couple things we recently took part in was helping out with the “Get Warm Project” To give out warm bundles to our community members in need. We also made hot dogs one day and distributed them around Vancouver. It doesn’t take much to get involved and it doesn’t have to be expensive. If you get a group of 10 people to chip in $10 each, you can probably feed around 50 if not more people. There’s absolutely no reason anyone should be hungry or cold. I connect with giving because I know I’m EXTREMELY fortunate. I have the most amazing family and friends. My parents worked really hard to get us to Canada and created an incredible life for my sister and I from complete scratch. I truly admire them for that and will be forever grateful. The least I can do is pay that forward.
SC: What is your favorite local spot to get SOCIAL, and why?
NA: My friends make fun of me and say I should own a coffee shop because you can usually find me at jj bean or blenz. Sometimes they do drop by visits and expect me to be there.
SC: How do you feel small businesses and professionals can benefit from networking and community?
NA: I think networking is the most important part of a business. Building relationships is so crucial especially in the industry I’m in. People need to feel comfortable around you and enjoy working with you. The more you engage in all aspects of your community the more people you meet that could potentially lead to new friends and opportunities.
SC: How do you feel small businesses/professionals can benefit from social media?
NA: As an entrepreneur if it wasn’t for social media I don’t know where I would be with my business. I get most of my work from Social Media, networking and referrals. It’s free advertising and it’s incredible. Most people my age don’t watch the news or read the paper; they filter what they want to absorb through their social media feeds so if you’re posting material that’s engaging for your target market it can really benefit your business.
SC: What are your thoughts on SCN and its work?
NA: I first met with SCN when I worked for The Buried Life. SCN planned an after party for us and they did a great job! Once I met the girls I was instantly drawn to their charismatic nature, passion and mostly their kind hearts in wanting to give back to the community. I love when people are passionate about helping others and these girls don’t do it to gain anything, they do it because they truly care about people. They remind me of a quote I love – “Don’t give to get. Give to inspire others to give.” and they really inspire me.
To find out more about Natalia Anja and what she’s up to, check out her facebook page here.
Writer: Sara Rose McKenna
Social City Networking INC.: SOCIAL in the CITY 2014