It’s hard to sum up my Brussels experience in just a few words, because it was an incredible experience. Immediately after arrival we spent four hours networking at warm-up session and trying to remember all our names (unfortunately we weren‘t completely successful) and learning about our leaders.

I had the opportunity to shadow MEP Martina Dlabajová, who is a very positive and inspiring woman. I went with her to all her meetings and tried to work as a part of her team, which I found extremely challenging. What I liked the most was her WhyNot project, which provides students with the opportunity to participate in internships. Her colleagues also showed me the parliament and answered all my questions. We finished our day together at an evening cocktail, where all 36 participants and their leaders shared their Leaders-for-a-Day experience.

Sightseeing in Brussels at night was a perfect end to the whole day. It taught me that it’s important not to be afraid of speaking in English, because we all make mistakes and no one really cares if you use a wrong tense or miss a word.

I’m glad I could participate in the Leaders-for-a-Day initiative and meet so many amazing people, which I hope to keep in touch with. Finally, I would like to thank Elena, JA Europe and JA Czech for this chance.

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Leader-for-a-Day initiative has been phenomenal! It goes with out saying that it was a great opportunity to network with one of the best in their fields, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs from across Europe. I was able to experience a day in the life of a well recognised director of an international consultancy firm, and I can say with confidence that it has greatly influenced my future ambitions. 

I would like to thank all of JA Europe, their sponsors but especially our supervisors Ms. Elena and Ms. Roxana for planning and organising this profound opportunity, as well as the rest of the bright and ambitious participants who all shared the same vision as me. It is people and initiatives like these that will move the human race forward and I think JA as a whole is a great benefit to the society.

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I want to begin by thanking everybody involved in the organization for this unique experience my peers and I had. The two days I spent were more than fulfilling of my expectations. One of the greatest events I have attended so far in my life. I could not be more humble and appreciative of this exceptional opportunity I had. I tried to gain the most out of the situation and I think I did. 

Having just a day with my inspirational leader the Vice President of International External Affairs, Mr. Karim Lesina and Mr. Wouter Ghysens, Global Project Manager, both from AT&T, showed me what it takes to be a leader in today’s world. 

Mr. Lesina showed me how transparent and down to the ground a leader could be with his colleagues and lead a wonderful and efficient team. Moreover, he advised me and at the same time was curious of my thoughts and experiences. Wanting to know more about me revealed to me that being a leader is about being kind and thoughtful among other important skills. By sharing some life experiences he had, he broadened my way of thinking. I picked some of his thoughts about few interesting topics and I am sure that they enhanced some of my skills acquired from the JA program. Now I am eager to apply them in my future field of work. 

It was delightful to meet such extraordinary likeminded people. I was amazed just by connecting with them for few hours and had a great time debating on few current topics. I am keen on keeping in touch with them in the future and expanding my network of friends. 

I would eternally be grateful for this unique experience, which I could easily say that it is one of those life changing experiences, people have once in a life time. Spending just couple of days reassured and made me more confident in my path of choice in life.

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My experience with the Leaders-for-a-Day program was amazing. François Lhémery, from France, is the Senior Director of Policy for Microsoft EMEA and the leader I followed in October 14th in Brussels. I had the opportunity to talk and get to know François, what he did in his life and that he started the same as me: an entrepreneur!

François was the best leader that I could “shadow” due to his sympathy, knowledge and common points of view that he and I shared. I came to know that Microsoft was supporting various programs and institutions besides Junior Achievement such as “All You Need Is Code” and “YouthSpark” and a “whole new world” of Microsoft products. I also learned that Microsoft takes their job of creating policies and preventing cyber crimes, such as piracy, very seriously and for that I couldn’t be more grateful.

The Leaders-for-a-Day programme provided me with a great opportunity to meet a motivational, professional and great leader that has already provided so much to the world. Because I could talk to François, observe him and speak with him, I learned so much on how to prepare myself for what’s coming in my future! 

The Leaders-for-a-Day programme brings so much value to students, such as myself because it provides the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills and personal values in ways that traditional education doesn’t. I can only say that I enjoyed the day a lot and want I also want to express my gratitude to JA Europe, JA Portugal and François Lhémery, my leader!

Before coming to AXA, I expected it to just be an ordinary day at work, but in fact my experience was extraordinary. It was great to shadow a leader and even greater to shadow such an inspirational man as Damien Bourgeois. I am quite a social person, so luckily I didn't feel embarrassed at all.

Although I study medicine, I’m really passionate about the marketing and publicity sector. Ι was the CEO of my enterprise for the Junior Achievement Company Program, and it was really interesting to see how this related to a real life situation.

I had lots of meetings with colleagues, discussions and idea sessions, and Damien encouraged me to ask if I had questions about the kind of work his does. The best part of the day was when we were having dinner together. He discussed with me about his childhood dreams. It was interesting to see how the perception of a child, of an adolescent has changed over time when thinking about professional life.

Damien taught me two important things. Passion and perseverance. His work is a passion for him and he always perseveres; he never gives up when he has set himself a goal. I want to be the same going forwards.

Having been part of this experience from Junior Achievement, I can honestly say that I have broadened my horizons and gained knowledge, skills, competencies and the right mindset for the future. My dream is still to become a doctor, but since I believe I was born to be a leader, I’m really keen on participating in programs within the business sector.

I really would recommend the program to other students.

My advice: Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!”

Originally posted on AXA's website here.

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