THRIVE is an AIWA-SF April project dedicated to highlighting Armenians who are doing amazing things in their personal and professional lives to better themselves and those around them. These individuals are inspiring, dynamic, innovative and interesting. Today, we feature Maggie Ryan.
Maggie Ryan is half Armenian (Arstakhtsi) and half Irish, born in Orange County, she has lived in Russia, USA, and Armenia. She is an alumna of the American University of Armenia, where she earned a Bachelors in Business. During her junior year of college, she was given the incredible opportunity to work at PicsArt, a photo editing application. That’s where she learned about the value of community, and the effect it can have on technology, expression and product development. Being in such a creative environment inspired her, as a result, along with her sister Larisa, they launched SoFetch – a beauty services platform that connects customers, beauty service providers, and the place from which the service is provided. The company mission is to unlock the beauty service provider’s full potential. The focus is to streamlining the discovery, booking and experiences for beauty and self-care providers. Recently, SoFech won 1st place and a $25k grant for innovation at Neruzh, an interactive Diaspora Startup Program for entrepreneurs. Follow @sofetch.app
Question: What is your life philosophy?
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelous. Those are the words I try to live by every single day. Complaining about something is actually draining – it fills your day with negativity and pessimism. Instead, I try to identify the things I really dislike and try to change them.
Question: What is your hope for the future?
I hope that we as people and society move away from being a lone wolf to seeing value in joining a pack. Somewhere along the way we lost our “community” feeling and the responsibility to nurture and grow it. Instead, we focus on our problems, our jobs, our well-being, our development…me, me, me, me. If we took a step back and realized how much stronger we can be by creating a wolf-pack, a supportive community of like-minded people, our endeavor and impact would multiply by thousands.
Question: What is your favorite thing about being Armenian?
My favorite thing about being Armenian is that the community feel is still not lost completely. When needed, we unite and are unshakable. When we see another Armenian in an unlikely place, our eyes instantly lock, and there is this warm, home-like feeling. I was recently at Startup Grind, and at the very end of the day, a woman came up to me and said “Hi. I’m half Armenian. It’s so awesome to see you here”. That made my day. Even though we don’t know each other, we instantly shared the same values and common ground – Armenia, being Armenian, and being proud of anyone who represents us around the world.
Question: How has the Armenian culture shaped / influenced you?
My culture, my home, my Armenia – it has made me the person I am today. It has taught me that if you love your country, you will always fight for it. Change doesn’t come from complaining but from doing. And last but not least, even when the most unforeseen, dark, cruel and unimaginable horrific event takes place, you just need to find another Armenian and rebuild your Armenia. I have a home, and no matter where I go, my roots will forever be intertwined in the deepest soil of Armenia and Artsakh.