A Saturday gathering at the Saint George Cathedral, South Boston, was billed as Life School Networking Meeting, Albanian Mission Driven Entrepreneurship and Fundraising Event. For a few hours, the paths of a group of Albanian- Americans converged at the Chancery’s Office space to share, exchange, appreciate each other’s journeys up to here and look ahead. The common denominator is that they are trainees and trainers, students and teachers at Life School just as they are host of and guests at the event. The other unifying thread is their origin and heritage, their past and present brought them to here and now. Born in Albania or Kosovo, they all chose to call this country, a second homeland. And so it is here where they searched for and invested into ideas and strategies proven to work or not, but nonetheless valuable lessons for all. Elona Lopari was a senior member for business management and marketing for two decades before she decided to launch Life School and offer coaching, training and counseling to hundreds of businesses and individuals around the country. Krenar Komoni, who received a Master Degree in Electrical Engeneering from Tufts University, was asked to be the first employee of an MIT start up before he stumbled upon an idea that led him to start his own company. Their stories exemplify the relentless drive of an inner perseverance bound to lead to advancement for each one while being part of a supporting community of people.
Elona Lopari, the CEO and founder of Life School of New York, joined by more than a dozen coaches, consultants, experts, were hosted by Fan Noli Library and Cultural Center in Boston. The host and event organizer, Neka Doko, is also the library’s archivist, who has joined Life School in February 2021. She says that she was immediately intrigued by the idea of connecting the two entities that dwell in the realm of mind and spirit. Her mentoring with Life School is focused on Spiritual Education and Eco Healing Energies, allowing Neka to be an excellent ambassador of both entities. With regard to the significance of the first networking meeting at Saint George’s, she said that “it was to invite the Life School crew members of Boston and its founder at the oldest Albanian American community and make our bridge between the two institutions officiated as a legit collaboration with mutual interests.”
The Saturday meeting was launched by Michael Gregory, the Lay Chairman of the Saint George’s board and the lay church people, followed by the welcoming speech of his wife, Lauren Toli Gregory, former trustee and now adviser of the Saint George’s board. Leaning on the theme of mutual missions, Elona Lopari who founded Life School in 2019, emphasized that it’s about a positive social impact for the benefit of all. “The event signifies an uber-connection between the history and culture of Albanians, appropriately held at Saint George’s Cathedral. The broader mission of Fan Noli to unite Albanians and support the community echoes the overall mission of Life School that aims to elevate the members of the community personally and professionally. And in turn each one would exact a more powerful impact on society’s well being in order to benefit the future generations,” said the Chief Executive of Life School, an online platform dedicated to self-improvement in all areas including personal careers and relations, business and marketing, health, parenting, education and guidance.
Against the backdrop of antique icons of the Saints, a painting of Albania’s national hero, Skenderbeu, photos and memorabilia of the Church’s founder Fan Noli, the attendees listened to the presentations of the guest speakers relate their experiences of pursuing their mission driven goals.
Krenar Komoni, born in Prishtina, is a Boston-based entrepreneur, who is the CEO and Founder of Tive Inc., a multi-million dollar company that provides in-transit visibility for shipments throughout the globe. In a mini-Ted talk style, Krenar Komoni conveyed how he was at the brink of business bankruptcy a few years ago and facing the odds stacked against his company. In response to that, he posed a question that helps frame the situation differently. The question eponymous with a book title: Who moved my cheese? is considered the ‘bible’ of adapting our mindset to go from complaining to problem-solving. Such an effective image and meaningful talk was the mark of the presentations, in-person and online, of guests invited by the host of the meeting. Loreta Stamo, network specialist with a New York company, participated with a recorded video presentation on her trade’s formula of connecting. Also by way of a recording, Max McKenna, President of One Coalition, introduced himself as an American who has been with the Albanian community of Boston for many years. McKenna owns a web agency. His new non-profit organization, named One Coalition, a project he and his team researched for many years, is dedicated to enhancing education opportunities for young adults in Albania.
As far as network meetings go, Neka Doko hopes that “this will serve as a right step forward for our communities in Boston, New York and other places to help one another.” As the expert of the field, I asked Elona for the takeaway message of the event. “I hope the takeaway for the participants is to find a purpose or the drive that moves them forward in their business or social lives by helping themselves, their families and communities. Stemming from this kind of networking, I do see sustainable and viable connections,” replied she. For Neka, teaching and training spiritual energies at Life School is her true calling and this is the place for her, a place where she feels “all elements are in synergy and harmony.”
At lunch break conversations erupted among the attendees curious to know more about each others interests and life paths while the rays of Saturday sun brushed on the chairs, the large shiny oak desk with a huge TV screen on top, the glass and wood cabinets at the Chancery’s Office.
In the afternoon session, the very Reverend, His Excellency Father Arthur Liolin joined the group. Effortlessly and with ease, his grace mingled and then sat down for the screening of a documentary film produced by Neka Doko to mark his 50 years of dedication and service to the Church.
It all came full circle.
The morning session and the afternoon segment of the meeting complemented one another. In keeping with the legacy of an established community, proud of its roots, the mission in the broader sense “is about enlightenment” as Neka put it.
Like the Church, Life School is not one thing to all people but rather it responds to the needs, experiences, goals and motivations that have been presented to and are present in the person’s life.