#WeAreArity Wednesday: Lana Panfilova
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
“Fried Green Tomatoes.” Originally, I’m from Russia. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for many years, and then I moved to the South. When I moved to Savannah, Georgia, I started to watch more movies that were relevant to the South. This was one of those movies.
I love heartwarming stories that touch my heart and teach me to be kinder and more compassionate. I like the stories with themes of friendship, empowerment, and personal growth. This particular movie explores issues of gender and racism.
Who is the most interesting Disney character?
Merida from “Brave.” I love that Disney character because of her strengths. She’s not afraid to stand up for herself, and I admire that she’s not afraid to be different.
What is your favorite part about working from home?
Flexibility, and the ability to take care of myself. Self-care, to me, is very important. I have a morning routine, and it changes from time to time because it’s good to change your routine – sometimes I meditate, sometimes I read, sometimes I write, sometimes I choose to go to the gym. So, working from home gives me flexibility.
It also allows me to spend time with my puppy. I would feel really sad leaving her at home alone for eight hours.
Tell us about your puppy.
She’s a goldendoodle. Her name is Emma Rose. She’s a fluff, and she’s obsessed with her ball. She’s actually an amazing athlete, and when you throw the ball, she doesn’t see anything but the ball. She’s so focused. Sometimes, when she runs to get it, she can twist up in the air a couple of times to catch it. She doesn’t really like playing with other dogs, she just wants her ball.
What is something interesting we would not know about you just by looking?
One thing you would not know about me just by looking is I used to be a conference speaker and a trainer in the Bay Area for five years. So, I would do freelance work, and then I would go to companies and train them on team building, resilience, emotional intelligence, self-care, and heart-based leadership.
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
I’ve always imagined that if I didn’t have to work, I would start doing missionary work. I don’t know exactly what I would do. I’ve volunteered most of my life in the U.S. doing different things like facilitating spousal bereavement groups, serving meals in a shelter, doing research, coaching. I think it’s so important, so I think that’s what I would do – be somewhere, but I’m not sure what kind of volunteering I would do at this time. Maybe hospice to help others to make a peaceful transition.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher, and I actually became a teacher. I was a teacher in high school in Russia. I only did it for two years because I left when I was young, but I was teaching Russian language and world literature to high school students.
It’s a different system in Russia than in the U.S. In Russia, the teacher usually teaches a class from fourth grade until eleventh grade – the same subject but different curriculum. I would have taught world literature and Russian language until they graduate.
How many students did you have in your class?
I was in Yalta, and there was a deficiency of teachers there. So, I had five eighth-grade classes – each with over 40 students. And I was only 22! It was very hard. But they loved me because I was a troublesome teenager, and I could understand where they were coming from.
I loved my students. I still remember some of them by the name.
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
If I listen to music, I like it loud. I either listen to French, Spanish, or Russian music. Patricia Kass albums I really love. I love French music. I also listen to a lot of audio books, but obviously, I don’t listen to those very loud.