Photo credit: Zhenyu Lin

From modeling to social media, television reporting to activism, alumna Tsvetta Kaleynska (EMPA ’15) keeps herself busy with a variety of professional and personal pursuits. She sat down recently to chat about how her Baruch education impacted her career and to share her advice on how to maintain an active and varied schedule. 

What made you want to attend Baruch College? Were there any clubs or professors that had a major impact on you during your time here?

I always knew I was going to attend Baruch College at some point in my life. CUNY is an incredible institution that enables thousands of students every year to obtain an elite, yet affordable, education. I maintained a hectic schedule, but my professors kept me motivated and helped me out a lot during my studies. Professors Christopher Cloud and Michael Seltzer had a very significant impact on me and still do to this day.

Tell us a little about your current role at Brandwatch. 

Right after graduating from Baruch College, I joined Brandwatch as a Customer Success Director and I was recently promoted to Global Director. Brandwatch has a reputation for being the best when it comes to its actual social intelligence technology, and also its customer satisfaction rating. Plus, the company has an energetic and supportive environment that balances fun with hard work. My days are quite hectic, as I work between various client time zones and continents, but with each new challenge comes a new opportunity to learn and develop.

Notably, you competed in the Miss Diaspora Models International Competition. Can you tell us a little more about that and what the experience was like for you?

In 2010 I had the privilege of representing my home country, Bulgaria, in the international beauty pageant. While I didn’t take it too seriously at the time, it’s interesting that the experience carved my career moving forward. I was crowned as the most influencing competitor in the pageant with over 10 times the number of votes the other girls had. That was the moment I realized I carry a very strong message with me and that I am among the influencers in the field of female empowerment. I try very hard to distinguish my two careers: one in social media, the other in modeling/TV,  as they require different skill sets.

You’re also a TV contributor/journalist on Bulgarian National Television. How did you first get into that line of work and is there a particularly memorable story or piece you’ve covered?

I was already an established voice on an international scale with regular interviews in large publications such as Elle Magazine, Cosmopolitan, etc. After being featured regularly on TV in Bulgaria, the show asked me to be a correspondent, covering stories such as the Women’s March in NYC, the Times Square car incident this summer, and various political pieces around presidential and parliamentary elections . Being on TV is extremely rewarding and a true privilege as very select few make it in the industry, but it’s also very challenging. I often have to be up at 2:00 a.m ET for makeup and hair to go live on air at 3:00 a.m. ET (due to the time difference with Bulgaria), and then be in the office by 8.30 a.m.

Meanwhile, you give back to local communities through the Girls Leading Our World Association. Why is that such a meaningful endeavor for you, and what does your role entail as an ‘ambassador’?

Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) is by far the most rewarding experience I have lived through and one of the best things that happened to me. Girls Leading Our World Association aims to unleash the full potential in youngsters and develop them as future leaders who will become informed decision makers and active citizens. Being an ambassador for the organization is more than a privilege; it’s a very intimate bonding experience with today’s generation. As part of my role, I spend time fundraising and organizing global initiatives for the nonprofit. I also created a mentoring program to help individual girls develop skills such as public speaking and critical thinking.

Finally, with such a packed schedule, I’m curious: how do you manage your time?? What’s your number-one piece of advice for current students and recent alumni aspiring to become successful professionals?

While my schedule is hectic, I am very careful with how I organize my days. Time is irreversible, so I make sure to wisely choose how to spend it. The one piece of advice to fellow Baruch colleagues is to obsess with how and whom you spend your time with and always find a moment for yourself!

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