Intercultural trainer and coach, Kasia Lanucha, has built a career connecting people from different cultures. She works to support business owners and managers with their intercultural interactions through her business, as well as students and staff at the University of Cambridge.
“When I was young, I wanted an adventure,” Kasia says, “so I decided to work and study abroad. I wanted to go as far away as possible, but I only made it from Poland to Germany - so about a two-hour drive. I still experienced some culture shock, which I didn’t expect. So the past 20 years have been all about living outside of Poland, learning languages and just understanding how to get on with people.” Through this experience, Kasia began to fall in love with not just learning languages, but learning different cultures, too.
Kasia’s next step was to move to the UK, where she began teaching English to businesses and to students at the University of Cambridge, which is where she realised other people were also struggling with learning cultures. This influenced Kasia to expand her expertise in intercultural communication and she therefore created her own company.
However, Kasia shares that adapting from being an employee to an entrepreneur was one of the biggest challenges. “At the time of launching my business, I thought it would just be having an idea and developing it - so doing the same thing, but for myself. I don’t think I was fully aware that I had to be a lot of people - a sales person, project manager, accountant. I had to realise that it’s no longer just about my expertise, but about my product and how I’m going to present it to the world. I think I was in denial for a long time.”
On the flip side, Kasia is incredibly proud of what she has achieved, and shares that her greatest accomplishment was fulfilling her dream to work at the University of Cambridge. “I was very bold,” Kasia says, “I would tell everyone that I want to work at Cambridge. And of course, I could tell that different people thought different things about me. Maybe I was naive, but somehow I made it happen.”
Throughout her life, Kasia has had many different mentors who have helped her and thus inspired her to join the March8 Mentorship Programme. She says: “It’s great to have somebody who has been there, who knows the journey and the challenges and can support you. Mentoring is sharing knowledge to help someone achieve their goals, and at certain stages of my life it really helped me a lot.
“I can really see the value of it, and if you have a great mentor you want to give back and support others. So I’m a great supporter of mentors.”