We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Klimala and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Anna, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I learned early on in my career that you need to rely on people around you because they are there for a reason; either to see you succeed, or to see you fail. The first group cheers you up and has your back, the second gives you fuel to prove them wrong. Either way, it’s a win-win. The sooner you get over your own insecurities and start listening to all voices of advice, whether solicited or not, you will put yourself on a path of learning, growth, and ultimately, success.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

Leaving home at 15, I took a considerable risk to pursue my passion for music. After obtaining Master’s Degree in my native Poland, I turned my back on everything I knew and came to a country where the native tongue was a second language. A few years later, while working primarily as an orchestra musician, I took on this job and realized that I’d have to start fresh again. There was so much to learn. With no formal business administration training, I had to learn about finances, accounting, fundraising, project management, and human resources. I had to be like a sponge, absorbing everything I could and constantly adapting. Through inner resilience and a “never settle on good enough” mentality, I worked my way up, not only learning how to transition into being a leader, but also being comfortable with the fact that I could be one.
The Miami Music Project is one of South Florida’s largest music education initiatives and I plan to take it to greater heights. There have been many lessons I’ve learned along the way, but three that immediately come to my mind are: 1. Don’t be afraid to fail, but always analyze what has happened and learn from it once you do. Treat failure as a disappointing outcome of a successful experiment. 2. Listen to every piece of advice that is provided to you. Always. Especially by your harshest critics. If you don’t understand it at the moment it is being offered or are not ready to embrace it, make a note and return to it later; I guarantee it will make sense and make you better at what you do in the long run. 3. Take pride in yourself and what you do by understanding your strengths and using them wisely. Confidence comes from within, and although it often takes a lifetime to develop, at the end of the day, if you’re not happy with yourself, nothing you do will truly matter or make you truly happy.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’d want to show them the best of both worlds, introducing them to the Miami we all know from the postcards, and the side of Miami tourists don’t usually get to see, which is the part that I love the most. Among my favorite things to do is working out and taking nice long walks alongside the beach, admiring the breathtaking views, as well as people-watching, that’s an absolute must in Miami. We have such a rich culture, filled with unique communities, many of which we serve through my organization, so I’d want to introduce them to all of that as well. Places like Little Haiti, Overtown, and Little Havana would all be on the docket.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate my shoutout to all those who have been part of the Miami Music Project, especially all the over 30,000 students that we have served over the years. I’m here because of them, and for them. They are the foundation and reason behind what I do. They give me purpose and I am grateful for that. I feel so fortunate to be in a position where I am constantly inspired and encouraged by young people, those that we teach and mentor. Everything, from their smiles to watching them grow and develop into successful young adults, moves me deeply. And beyond our students, I’m also inspired by and grateful for many of my colleagues, board members, and community leaders who have been mentors to me and have served as my role models, teammates, and my family that I know I can rely on. Every experience with them has been a valuable lesson, teaching me to always be open to constructive criticism. With all of them by my side, Miami Music Project has given me a home away from home, a place to feel grounded and confident in myself.

Website: www.miamimusicproject.org
Instagram: www.instagram.com/miamimusicproject
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-klimala-19893334/
Twitter: twitter.com/MiaMusicProject
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miamimusicproject
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MiamiMusicProject

Image Credits
For the photo of Anna: Photography by MJ MAGNUM.COM For the photos of the program: Photo by Sergi Alexander / Eyeworks Production

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