I was born in Warsaw, Poland, but didn’t stay there long. Our family left when I was five, hardly suspecting that we wouldn’t return. First, we moved to the United States, then lived in Egypt and India, and traveled extensively worldwide, which gave rise to a global outlook and adherence to universal principles. We eventually settled in Montreal, Canada, and I lived there until 2011.
Early on, I remember people always asking: What do you want to be when you grow up? I loved drawing and playing piano, but decided I would be a concert pianist and practiced hours each day until I realized I didn’t want to spend my life playing pieces composed by someone else, and visual arts became my calling.
I enrolled in a B.F.A. program initially set on being a painter but soon gravitated towards writing and film. After graduating, I produced animated films, but when a 10-minute short took five years to make, I said, “wait a minute…” I was also feeling the need to be of more practical relevance.
After completing a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology, I was a part-time professor, then began an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities. I was screenwriting at the same time, still torn between a creative or academic path. I was also a divorced single parent, getting by on a prestigious, albeit meager scholarship while seeking co-producers for my films. I eventually relinquished the Ph.D. and film production goals in favor of permanent employment.
I first worked in international development, which was cherished given that my parents (Dr. Zenon A. Zielinski, Structural Engineer, and Czeslawa Bychowska, Architect) were experts in low-cost prefabricated housing, and my father had been a Ford Foundation consultant internationally for several years. Eventually, another opportunity came up when a Canadian TV producer invited me to write and direct documentary TV. Directing was a dream come true, as I was finally able to integrate several accumulated practices.
When the production company closed ten years later, I took a leap of faith and moved to my favorite city: the indelibly international New York. The transition was an adventure that began with producing documentary TV for NBC and culminated in following a heartfelt dream of joining the non-profit sector. Here I am today, a creative and scholar open to collaborations on projects that benefit and bring joy to the world.