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Sometimes you just have to take opportunity the present themselves. This was the case with my participating in Leaders-for-a-Day, I got a call from JA Europe one day and four days later I was sitting on a plane heading to Brussels, on my way to shadow a top leader for a day. 

It actually all started because I took the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass (ESP) exam this summer. JA Europe contacted me long time ago and we shared some emails. I thought that maybe that was it, but then they called me and they invited me to this huge event.

I arrived at my hotel and met 36 other very ambitious students from all over the Europe. We then took part in a warm-up-session which went very well and the day after, each of us was well prepared to meet our leader. 

My top leader was Barbara Wynne from Accenture, who welcomed me to experience her day-to-day work-life. What an inspiring woman. Together, we went to meetings with business people around Brussels, held meetings with her clients and got to know one another. We learned as much as we could about each other and she taught be as much as she could about her company, Accenture. When the office day was over, we went to a cocktail with the rest of the JA Europe alumni and their respective leaders. Here, we were able to learn about the different experiences of participants, even the leaders shared their stories. Leaders-for-a-Day was such a great day, helping me learn so much. It just goes to show that sometimes you have to jump at  opportunities that present themselves – I am certainly glad I did.

 

I was expecting that during this day I will see the normal day of leader and I will have some experience. However, this day gave me a lot more than that. After one day with Inge Boets from Porter Novelli I realized that I want more from my life than before. When I was at one meeting with her and topic marketing strategies came out I was paralyzed. I had to put it on paper and so my motivation appeared. After coming home I tell myself that I have to study marketing at University after graduating and so that is what I’m going to do. I want to further my study experience and my motivation for that is on that paper with marketing tactics and strategies.

And so now I know that marketing is not only about earning money and about ways how to profit. For example, working with clients is really impressive thing. It is a real study for me. Moreover, when I saw how kind is Inge to her team I thought that I would like to work for company like Inge’s, too. Every person in that company has job which fits her/him the most. Every person in that company is special in something else and Inge knows about that. Thanks to this the company works perfectly and it is getting better every day. In addition to her team, she perfectly knows their clients, too. In my opinion, all these awesome things must have taken years and years of experience. And I really appreciate that I could spent with her one day.

It was pleasure to meet her and JA team as well. In very short time I learn many things, which helped a lot to improved my current studies in Secondary School where I study marketing in tourism. Thanks to JA Company I experienced a special day with the special leader and I can’t even say how much I am thankful for that. I was concerned that this opportunity would be unforgettable. And it really is. Thank you so much for that!

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It has been a great pleasure to spend a day with Danny. It’s quite unusual to have student alongside for a whole day but I must admit that in a way, it makes one think about what one is really doing and if it’s understandable for external people! I did also appreciate the fact that he’s been very discreet and didn’t bother us during the whole day.

I’m confident that this experience can lead to a better understanding of the reality and daily life in a private company. I’m aware that it is difficult for student to be dropped for one day in the business life and all I can recommend to them is to try and learn as much as possible about the company they’re going to spend a day with. What the company is doing, who is who,.. Of course, it would be great if more companies would join this programme. I even think that it would be valuable for politicians as well, not only for students.

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What else can be more impactful than bringing together the leaders of tomorrow and the ones with the decision-making power today? When Junior Achievement Europe contacted me to be part of the programme, I immediately accepted, thinking it was a great initiative. 18 year old Rares Vasilescu played my shadow for a day in the European Parliament, seeing first-hand what my position entails and how a working day looks like for me. 

As one of the European Parliament's Vice-Presidents, my agenda is often packed. The day started with the usual team meeting to plan the day ahead. I could already see on his face a mix of surprise, interest, curiosity and, to my delight, an uninhibited and genuine attitude to the discussion with my team. 

We then went on to the EPP political group meeting, a framework in which we discuss the group line on various issues and legislative dossiers currently on the table. We quickly returned to the office, where we had to decide on my amendments for the Digital Single Market resolution, a debate in which Rares eagerly took part, quickly grasping the issues surrounding telecommunications, digital services and e-commerce. 

We then held a couple of meetings on the reform of the copyright legislation, with representatives from the artists and performers associations, as well as the music industry. While these meetings can get rather technical and very specific, Rares asked our guests very pertinent questions and the exchange of views was vivid and interactive. Not lastly, on the same day, I was hosting a Romanian delegation representing the aluminium industry, with which we discussed the reform of the European Emissions Trading System.

To me, it may have been just a regular working day, to him, maybe, an encounter that helped him understand what this kind of working environment means. I must say it was a great experience that I would wholeheartedly recommend further. It gave me a fresh perspective on my work and it made me think of how my activity is seen through his young eyes. Before leaving, he told one of my assistants that he wouldn't have thought before that it would be so interesting. Always happy to be able to change perceptions for the better.

 

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