What goes on behind the world’s #1 creative storytelling platform? Where in the world is it based? Who keeps the platform trending to audiences all around the globe? Meet PicsArt, an image editing, collage and drawing application and social network, empowering users to bring out their creativity. Behind this powerhouse stands a team just as creative, playful, and robust as the product it has designed. With headquarters in Yerevan, Armenia, our volunteers and alums have the opportunity to be a part of this team, and that’s exactly what has happened.
Please meet them and enjoy the artistic renderings of themselves below!
Carine Tomassian, USA, 2018 participant, Project Manager on Creative Team
Tara Baghdassarian, USA, 2017 participant, Campaign Manager on Brands Partnership Team
Ani Kemanian, Uruguay, 2019 participant, Country Coordinator for Latin America
Tamara Maydali, Germany, 2018 participant, Country Coordinator for Germany
Catherine Kachvartanian, Brazil, 2019 participant, Country Coordinator for Brazil
Even with different backgrounds and experiences, our alums share similarities regarding their transitions to living and working in Armenia. Participating in the Birthright Armenia program gave them a sense of security, a trait anyone moving to another country would look for. Carine emphasizes, “there is no way this would be my reality if it wasn’t for Birthright Armenia. It prepared me for what it’s like to live and work here.” Having a sense of community and realizing that they have other people they can count on had a big impact on their decisions to stay.
Being prepared to experience the life of another country is a nice feeling, but it does not mean everything will occur with ease. Our alums come from countries all around the globe, having different mentalities, and being used to a certain way of life. Of course living in Armenia comes with a multitude of hardships. For our alums it ranges from differences in the pace of life, social constructs, social norms, and the environment. Tara emphasizes the contradictions about women in Armenia. “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.” Despite these hardships, the overall life in Armenia is fulfilling. Tara explains, “it might be cheesy but every day in Armenia is a new adventure. I feel really free here, adventurous and passionate about life.”
Ani is happy working in Yerevan, especially at a company that has helped her realize her full potential. “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.”
Deciding to live in Armenia is one thing, but how did five of our alums end up at PicsArt? Tara had learned about PicsArt the same day she learned about the Birthright Armenia program, a year before she decided to join. She explains it as the “most faithful night of [her] life.” Tara knew if she was going to commit to Armenia, she needed job experience that would jumpstart a career; PicsArt was where she wanted to do that. The open office space itself is demonstrative of PicsArt’s employees. Everyone is approachable and encouraging.
Tamara comes from a mathematics background, so when she took the position on PicsArt’s marketing team, the office environment was important for her. “Everyone supports you in your interests and talents. People here are appreciative of your work, it’s very motivating. I’m learning a lot every day while also realizing what I’m capable of.” Tamara admits it would have been difficult for her to get a position like this back in Germany. Working in Armenia showed her that anything is possible if you work hard for it.
Catherine knew about the PicsArt app before coming to Armenia. It was her single jobsite while in the program before being offered a full time position. When she 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.”
Madlene Minassian, Head of Corporate Affairs explains the relationship between Birthright Armenia and PicsArt.
“PicsArt reaches all corners of the world with our app, so welcoming a Birthright Armenia participant for us is valuable, exciting, and rewarding for both us and for the participant. They bring along their dedication and hard work, but also their knowledge of the markets they are coming from. Through the Birthright Armenia's Internship Program, we have 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. 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!”
No matter how long our alums decide to stay and live in Armenia, it’s clear that this is a meaningful time not only for professional growth, but personal growth as well.