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City Friends Club founder wins Red Diamond Award 2023

Anna Gubareva 'Businesswoman of the Year 2023'

Anna Gubareva, founder of City Friends Club in Limassol, Cyprus, has been awarded the coveted Red Diamond Award for 2023, at a lavish event hosted by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The ceremony, which took place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Limassol, commemorates women who contribute significantly to the island’s economic growth and who are part of Cyprus’ vast and diverse global business community.

“I am delighted and privileged to receive the award in recognition of my efforts and to be included among a strong panel of women, who are all pioneering leaders in their respective fields,” Gubareva told the Cyprus Mail. “We all have important roles to play, and we are all winners.”

anna gubareva with the first lady of cyprus

The award was presented to Gubareva by Philippa Karsera-Christodoulides, First Lady of the Republic of Cyprus, in the presence of the President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Christodoulos Angastiniotis, as well as Elizabeth Friedrich, founder and organiser of the Red Diamond Awards.

“Women in Cyprus, whether of Cypriot or other origin, are excelling in a variety of fields, including industry, business, research, innovation, science, and the arts, and the Red Diamond Awards recognise such individuals for being an inspiration to other women with their perseverance, skills, and talents,” Friedrich said.

Anna Gubareva has been living in Cyprus for over two decades, and founded City Friends Club, a non-governmental organisation committed to maintaining clean cities and neighbourhoods. Her organisation, which is based in Limassol, has been actively engaged in regular clean-ups, working with volunteers, and raising awareness to the public through a variety of projects and initiatives.

As a certified art therapist, she has spent the last five years focusing primarily on human ecology and the importance of interacting with our own environment. “A clean environment is essential for living a healthy lifestyle,” Gubareva said.

Working with the topic of internal ecology, Gubareva came up with the idea of an organisation that will take care of the external ecology of our island. “It is an eco-friendly initiative created to combat waste levels in Cyprus. Our organisation’s principles are to work from the inside to the outside and by working together to keep our local neighbourhoods clean, we can create real, substantial change,” she explained.

According to Anna, the importance of a clean environment inspired the City Friends Club to create a hub where like-minded people and organisations could meet and collaborate on making a bigger impact that will help create an eco-friendly future, while also adopting smarter solutions that help reduce waste within the community.

“The strategy of the City Friends Club does not intend to rely solely on businesses, communities and individuals assisting with daily clean-up campaigns and educating the community on how to live sustainably. We also aim to raise environmental consciousness through schools in the future,” she added.

City Friend Club’s focus at the moment is Cyprus, and Limassol in particular. “It is critical to begin in our own backyard and work our way out. Although environmental issues are important, our team wants to focus on the individual and their unique approach to being waste conscious in their own environment.”

Anna Gubareva with her husband Alexey Gubarev

Gubareva’s organisation fervently believes that parents play a crucial part in creating an enjoyable learning environment for children and establishing fundamental universal values at a young age, including accountability for one’s waste production. “Children will adopt waste handling practises that their parents have taught them on a daily basis, and those habits will become second nature to them,” she said.

While also recognising that plastic pollution in oceans and other bodies of water is increasing rapidly and may more than double by 2030, City Friends Club is promoting responsible consumption, and a zero waste lifestyle. “Recycling is not the most effective way to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment. The organisation advises people on how to make wasteless choices, including reuse and repurpose, through our social media channels,” Gubareva added.

The Red Diamond Awards were held for the fourth time in their history this year and included other categories such as ‘Best Business Services Woman of the Year’ and ‘The People’s Choice Award’, both of which were awarded to Farah Shammas, managing director of St Raphael Resort and Marina. The award for ‘Best Inspirational Woman of the Year’ went to Clémentine Ynna, a specialist in neuro reflex rehabilitation who assists mothers of children with muscular dystrophy.

Andry Voskaridou, Chryso Savva, Raluca-Ioana Man, Ekaterina Shabanova, Elisabeth Villiger Toufexis, and Serene Mary Tharian were among the other finalists.

Anna Gubareva has already received recognition from the mayor of Limassol, Nicos Nicolaides, for her efforts, and her remarkable contribution to her community as a pioneering and visionary woman. Her most recent honour is yet another testament to her work, “which inspires me to set an example for both my children and for future generations”.

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