Pia Schneider (Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Pia Schneider (BOSFAM); Pia is a joint Swiss and US national. She graduated from Tufts University in 1994 with a B.A. in International Relations. After a trip around the world, she then worked for three years as a Financial Analyst for Baita International LLC, a real estate company, in Atlanta, Georgia. Pia then took a year to study French at the Sorbonne in Paris. Deciding to remain in Europe, she then took a job with Andersen in Switzerland as a Consultant in the Corporate Finance Division. After three years with Andersen, she decided to pursue a Master’s Degree at Georgetown University, and graduated in May 2004 with an MBA.

Before Departure

19 May

It’s exactly one week before I leave for Bosnia. Right now I am trying to organize everything for my trip, trying to figure out what I need and how to limit what I want to bring to two suitcases. I have met with numerous people somehow involved with Bosnia to get some ideas about what it will be like, since I have never been to the Balkans.

I have been involved with Bosfam, AP’s partner organization in Bosnia, since January of this year. I have been involved in organizing the carpet exhibition in April and have been in contact with many people interested in helping the organization.

But what exactly is expected of me during my time in Bosnia? This question continuously runs through my mind as I research carpet distribution possibilites, download market research or contact various friends of Bosnia who would like to become involved. Bosfam is an important organization in the Tuzla/Srebernica area and would like to become more sustainable in the long-term.

I know the first couple of weeks will be spent learning more about Bosfam, the area, the trade and the people. I think I will be intaking a lot of information in those first few weeks, allowing myself to make a picture of Bosfam and its current situation. Throughout my weeks in Bosnia, I hope to work closely with Beba (the Director and Founder of Bosfam) and the women of the Center to help them develop ideas for a more sustainable business model on which to build on and a marketing plan through which to sell its products more effectively.

Well, I have 7 days to get my thoughts in order before I leave – I think organizing my thoughts before departure is key because I am sure I will be overwhelmed at arrival. So many new impressions, people that I will meet and a language barrier – I am sure it will be very challenging but rewarding as well. I am very much looking forward to meeting these amazing women and hearing their stories. I am sure there is so that I can learn from them as I attempt to share a little of my knowledge.

I will log in again from Bosnia in about a week!

Posted By Pia Schneider (Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Posted May 19th, 2004

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