All the doors are open. What are you waiting for?
– a stranger

Many years ago, I was standing in front of a building waiting for the bell to ring and for someone to open the door for me. A stranger walked in the building, looked back at me and asked why am I waiting. She may have used these exact words, maybe not. It was a while ago but the words, their meaning, stayed with me. I share this story because a) is true, and b) has changed the way I approach life. I value authenticity. I value the ability to shake off setbacks and use the learnings to start fresh and with better ideas. I can think of at least a dozen of examples when this stranger’s words helped me re-assess, find my true north, and move on. And when I am in full swing, everybody knows about it because the energy radiates from inside out.


Science. I was a researcher for good 10 years who travelled around the world, published books and papers, collaborated with many teams. This was the time when I learnt how to create opportunities and think laterally. I received my doctoral degree in Pharmacy from the Medical University of Sofia, although I had no background in pharmacy. Instead of being scared of what I didn’t know, I used my strengths and created a unique PhD pathway that brought together several branches of science and in 2015, I received an award for best research in pharmacy. I spent over a year in beautiful Zurich as a research fellow, where my work got picked up by the Swiss Embassy in Bulgaria; together we created a case study about my project.


New country; blank slate. I didn’t know what to expect when I moved to Australia right after my PhD. Without opportunities to develop in the area I wanted, I got immersed in impact-focused roles in industry engagement and program management. What I loved about my work was the ability to conect with science in a different way and learn from this experience. I was at the coalface when the Biologics Innovation Facility at UTS was in the making, spending long hours in meetings with architects, project managers, researchers and industry. I initiated and co-designed programs in Macquarie University that inspired culture change. Later on, I found myself on a leadership program in Macquarie University imagining how the UN Sustainable Development Goals can drive partnerships with the university.


Back to research. Recent events, though, helped me realise that my true passion, my heart and mind is in science. But how one goes about going back to research after a career break? A career break may look like this unsurmountable barrier, like a door that is locked and key is nowhere to be found. After more than a year, I might have just found it.

Where to next . . . well,  check back soon; hopefully I will have something exciting to share.

Until then, or until we connect to create great things together.


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