Anamaria Dorgo is the Head of Community at Butter, a platform to prepare, run, and recap your collaborative sessions — all from one tool.
Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?
Romanian, living in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I am what you could call a people-person. I studied psychology and have a masters in HR and Organisational Health. I started my career as an HR Business Partner, first in Germany, then globally, overseeing the HR operations for a global fashion retail brand.
During my last year there, I had the opportunity to move into the Global Retail L&D role on an interim basis and start to manage the complete cycle for several global learning projects. I knew immediately that I wasn’t returning to the HR business partner role.
Once the assignment was over, I moved to The Netherlands and pivoted my career to Learning and Development for a Dutch startup. During this time, I started gathering a small group of other L&D professionals in what we used to call a “working group” where we could share best practices.
This small side project grew into this big, global, award-winning community of practice where over 3,300 L&D professionals share and learn with and from each other. That community is called L&D Shakers, and it’s one of the most rewarding rejects I have worked on so far.
That was the start of my journey into community building.
Today, I am the Head of Community at Butter.us, where I spend my time surrounded by some of the smartest facilitators, consultants, learning designers, educators, and workshoppers. We join efforts to make facilitation mainstream.
In 2022 I started my freelance career and was lucky to work on exciting projects at the intersection of community and learning experience design.
We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?
Mornings are my favorite part of the day, and how I start my day sets the tone for the rest of the day. I wake up around seven and take one hour to shower, have breakfast, and enjoy my coffee with a book or a podcast.
I then take my second coffee to-go and a long walk in a nearby park. That’s where I usually have my best ideas. I often take notes, write social media content drafts, and get my cup filled with energy.
Around nine, my work day starts and it’s always a mix of planning, launching or hosting events, curating content for the communities I am part of, lots of coffee chats, and meeting new and old friends.
If I want to get stuff done, I need to block my agenda for focus time; otherwise, it gets quickly booked since my Calendly is something I make available to the community members by default. (yes, people have called this “a nightmare” scenario).
During lunch, I usually catch up with L&D Shakers’ conversation threads and to-do’s, and often one hour after finishing my work day at Butter.
I reserve my evenings for dinner preps, seeing friends, or watching movies.
One hour before sleep, usually around 23:00 (I need 7-8h of sleep to function), I avoid screens and focus on my bedtime routine, which involves fiction books, Headspace meditation, and my favourite nighttime aromatherapy oils and mist. (Obsessed with Neom Organics)
Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?
I am a doer by default, and I get easily excited by ideas, so finding this sought-after work-life is a work in progress and often a challenge.
Getting older surfaced more and more this need for stillness and space. Mental and physical space. The most valuable two lessons I learned for myself so far, as I often struggled to find and keep this balance, are:
To ride my energy waves.
I have days and weeks when everything is easy and flows, and I get most of the stuff done. And then there are days and weeks when slowing down is the best strategy forward.
I learn that doing my best looks different each day, and that’s ok.
To be in the moment.
When I am at work, I am fully there. I am applying the same principle to my time off. My goal is to be mindful and present in the moment, no matter what I am doing. Mindfulness is a practice that helps me a lot to achieve this.
Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?
I wish I could tell you I can maintain a yoga and meditation practice, but that would be a lie. It comes and goes.
The changes I did manage to make consistently and that I feel are anchoring me are: my morning coffee walks outdoors, no screens in the evening and allowing myself one hour to unwind, and lots of art, in any shape or form: painting, artists documentaries, museums, art and design zines.
Something I started five months ago is a weekly accountability session with a good friend and coach. It’s a moment to zoom out, reflect on my week and consciously decide where to place my focus and energy for the coming week. It’s proven invaluable for someone who gets excited by stuff and says “Yes” to everything. I am more centred and can make better decisions based on my goals and values.
Also, my family is in Romania, so having long video chats with them while I cook is one of the most relaxing moments of my week.
We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?
I wholeheartedly recommend two podcasts that showcase stories of resilience, healing, personal transformation, and rewriting the stories we’ve been told our whole lives.
I’m Back – hosted by Serena Savini.
The Inside Job Journey – hosted by Tijana Catenazzi.
Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Balance it’s not a formula you find, apply, and magically transform into something or someone else. Explore what balance looks and feels like to you. And be ready to hit walls, struggle, and iterate. It’s a process that requires constant and intentional effort to maintain.
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