Five Alums, Four Countries, One Storytelling App!
Meet Tamara, Carine, Tara, Catherine, and Ani: five of our 165 alumni who’ve made Armenia their home after their Birthright program. They’ve something else in common—all had the good fortune of being placed at PicsArt for their Birthright Armenia internship and all ended their internships with a full-time, paid job at PicsArt.
PicsArt, headquartered in Yerevan, is an image editing, collage and drawing application, and social network, empowering users to bring out their creativity. It’s a powerhouse with a team of 300+ talented individuals that is just as creative, playful and robust as the product it has designed. In addition to enjoying the artistic renderings of themselves above, read on to learn more about their individual contributions to the company.
Coming from a mathematics background, Tamara Maydali, 23, serves as PicArt’s Country Coordinator for Germany, where she was born and raised. When she took this marketing team position, the office environment was very important for her. “Everyone supports you in your interests and talents here. People are appreciative of your work, it’s very motivating. I’m learning a lot daily while also realizing what I’m capable of. Plus it would have been so difficult for me to get a position like this back in Germany. Working in Armenia shows me that anything is possible if you work hard for it”.
Carine Tomassian, 28, from the U.S., is a Project Manager on the PicsArt creative team. She admits, “There is no way this would be my reality if it wasn’t for my 2018 volunteer experience, which totally prepared me for what it’s like to live and work here. Having a sense of community and realizing that I had other people I could count on had a big impact on my decision to stay.”
Of course, living in Armenia for the longer-term comes with a multitude of challenges, and for our alums, it ranges from differences in the pace of life, social constructs, social norms, and the environment. Tara Baghdassarian, 25, (US) who volunteered in 2017, explains “it might sound cheesy to say this, but every day in Armenia is a new adventure. I really feel free here, adventurous and passionate about life”. She continues “That said, there’s this assumption that women are not as capable as men. I’ve realized I have a more strict approach to people because I want to be taken seriously.”
“PicsArt reaches all corners of the world with our app, so welcoming a Birthright Armenia participant is valuable, exciting, and rewarding for both us and for the participant,” explains Madlene Minassian, Head of Corporate Affairs. “They bring along their dedication and hard work, but also their knowledge of the markets they are coming from. We’ve gotten to know our diverse markets much better due to their brilliant insight. Our transparent and inclusive culture also contributes to their experience. I have been honored to see many Birthright Armenia participants find dear colleagues and many friends from the experience”.
One such example is Catherine Khachvartanian, 25, a 2019 volunteer from Brazil. “She came to intern at PicsArt and began her career with us soon after as our Brazil Country Coordinator. She is now in charge of the millions of users we have in Brazil and makes sure they have an amazing experience. She has also gained a big friendship and support circle in Armenia through our colleagues. We look forward to hosting many more Birthright Armenia interns!” concludes Minassian. When Catherine had first discovered PicsArt was Armenian, she never imaged it was so big. “It’s crazy to see how many people are behind one application. This one little button on your phone has 300+ people making sure you have a great experience.”
Ani Kemanian, 22 from Uruguay, a 2019 participant is now PicsArt’s Country Coordinator for Latin America. “The advice I would give to someone who is looking to move to Armenia is to come open-minded. Of course, it’s impossible to like every aspect of a new adventure, but I’ve learned that having no expectations is what makes you step outside of your comfort zone and grow.”