Becoming a leader for one day

Nikolas Rønholt, a 19 years old young man from Denmark took part in the ‘Leaders for a Day’ initiative, together with 35 other young people from 14 European countries, recipients of the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass, a certification of entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and attitude from JA Europe. They got offered the opportunity to step in the shoes of business and policy leaders for one day. Nikolas visited Euractiv and spent the day with their editor-in-chief, Daniela Vincenti.

I participated successfully in JA Europe's warm up session, and after a really good first day in Brussels together with young, intelligent and creative entrepreneurs from all over Europe, I felt prepared to meet with my leader, Daniela Vincenti, editor-in-chief of EurActiv.

First of all I would like to thank Ms. Vincenti for sharing her work day with me. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to shadow such an inspirational person for one day. She really made me feel the busy life of a leader going from one meeting to another. 

Even though it was a really busy day Ms. Vincenti made me feel comfortable.

I started the day by listening to the panel discussion on TTIP that she was moderating. I learned about the difficulty on reaching an agreement on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Immediately after the event, we went straight to another meeting with the polish ambassador discussing the topic immigration ahead of the EU summit.

This unique insight in a leader’s day gave me a lot of different impressions and I am sure that this will help me in the future when I will have to decide what to do in my life concerning for example education. 

It has always been my plan to work outside of Denmark, and this experience surely convinced me to spend some of my working life abroad.

Finally, a big thank you to JA Europe for making this day possible and enriching my life.

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Today I got the chance to follow Dirk Jacobs for a day. Dirk is the Deputy Director General of FoodDrinksEurope, a European food organisation which protects the interests of their members (several food companies and food institutions). 

Our day started at 10 o clock when I was invited to join the directors meeting. This really was a great opportunity to see how the organisation is managed and lead. After the meeting, Dirk and I sat together for a while. He explained more to me about the company and the agenda for the rest of the day. I also had the chance to ask some questions about what he did before and how he managed to get where he is today. Among so many things that I got to know, the one thing that Dirk stressed most was: DO WHAT YOU LOVE!  

We didn’t have much time for lunch since we had to join a workgroup meeting in the afternoon. At this workgroup, there were more than 30 people from companies and institutions from around Europe present. The interesting thing was to really see how some people did not say a word during the meeting and how others shared their opinion on everything. 

After this meeting, Dirk and I went to Mella Frewen, the Director General. I already met with her in the morning during the directors meeting. Together, we went over her presentation for a conference in the coming week. We also talked about what it is like leading an organisation, the challenges and the opportunities. 

Dirk and Mella than invited me to join a reception at which Coca Cola introduced their new President for Western Europe. Again this was a great way to come in contact with new people and to experience the atmosphere in the food sector. 

Overall it has been an amazing day and I’m really grateful to JA Europe, Dirk Jacobs, Mella Frewen and all the others who have made this unique experience possible! THANK YOU! 

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Approximately a year ago, our student company started thanks to JA Company. At that time, all I had was knowledge. I didn’t know what to expect. I was just trying to participate as much as possible so that I could get at least some experience. We created a name and set our goals, then we had a first school meeting where we introduced our company and basically we went step by step and experienced every important moment in our company as a team. We became more creative, cooperative, representative. I saw that on my classmates, we really did better and better everyday and so my opinion about business completely changed. 

I realized that even if there was not always a successful day, even if we made a mistake it pushed us forward, never backwards.

Thanks to all the experience in company and other interesting JA events I realized that there is not such a thing as failure. There’s a thing named feedback, which will tell you if you do something wrong. This kind of feedback is motivation for me to fix the weaknesses and to improve myself everyday. For many people it may mean failure, but not for me anymore.

After we completed all the experience with student company, reviewed our abilities and got the ESP certificates, other awesome opportunity appeared. Leaders for a day. And I said to myself „When Opportunity Knocks on your door, take it and cherish it“. 

However, I must admit that at the beginning, I couldn’t imagine that there was a real possibility for me to get the opportunity. However, I tried and did everything to be as good as possible. I knew that there was a big chance that I wouldn‘t be successful and therefore I was so excited when I got the email with the subject: „Welcome to Leaders-for-a-Day in Brussels!“ At first, I couldn’t believe that. Then I realized that I’m going to be a part of really special event and I believe that it will be the next awesome experience thanks to JA Company. 

Now, when I have the chance to meet a leader of big and successful company I have many expectations. I’m very curious about many things that I’m going to experience on that day. One of them is definitely that I’m going to experience the normal working day of successful leader. I’m very excited and on the other hand I don’t know what to expect. The only thing that I’m sure about is that it will be very valuable experience for me. I will see all the necessary things that leader is been going through every day in world of business. I believe that I will have opportunity to see every important decision he must make everyday and every activity which is important in business. The next thing I’m curious about is what is he like in contact with people. How he motivates his employees and how he manages to lead the whole company. Other aspect that I’m curious about is time-management, how is he able to lead and to do all the important things realated to leadership. In my opinion, the most valuable thing I could get would be his advice, which would help me in my future steps. 

What else do I expect from this opportunity? I will meet new successful people from abroad as well. This event could give me the chance to see business in a different way. I will learn more about entrepreneurs and leaders, about team-work because there are also other activities for us and since I cooperated with JA before I know that it is going to be amazing. It will certainly further my knowledge about marketing, which is also my priority at school, as well as in future and I believe that working together with a successful leader for one day will be unforgettable experience.

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First impressions after my experience at Euronext

The Leaders for a Day initiative provided me with the opportunity to shadow a senior executive inside his enterprise’s structure. I had the chance to follow Mr. Van Dessel, CEO& Chairman of Euronext in Brussels. Formerly the meeting had to take place on Wednesday 14th, however due to his busy agenda, it was asked to move the shadowing experience a week earlier.

The office is situated in the city centre, I met Ms. Tosheva so she could distribute some materials and explain the programme previously prepared. I started my experience with a committee meeting at 9 o’clock. Various subjects were discussed, Euronext being a pan-European financing centre, this particular group responsible for regulated markets in Belgium. Since 2014 is Euronext quoted on the stock exchange, thus, numbers of stakeholders’ interests have to be taken into account. Around 11 o’clock, after this meeting, I could introduce myself and present to my interlocutor my experience within the JA Programmes. Then, he explained several relevant principles related to Euronext as a financing place, before reaching the major subject, leadership.

Mr. Van Dessel is a passionate and comprehensive leader, the people working around him are forming a tight-knit structure. I appreciate the fact that they took the necessary time to reveal their motivation and I had the opportunity to get an overview of the requirements for these workplaces. Finally, I hope every student participating in Leaders for a Day on Wednesday 14th would learn from their leader as I learned from Mr. Van Dessel and his team.

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Hi everybody, my name is Davide Puleo, I’m an Italian  student and I live in Palermo.

In the lines below, I’ll share with you how I feel at the moment and what are my thoughts and my expectations before going to Brussels next Thursday, joining the activity “Leaders for a day”(L4D).

But first of all, let’s talk about me and my interests.

I’m presently attending the last year of the High School in Maths and Science section. I like learning foreign languages, in fact I’ve studied French, German and I went twice to England to improve my English. 

I love Music and going to the theatre, I’ve been playing the piano for four years, and when I’m tired or thoughtful, the first thing I do is turning on my Mp3 player and relax, letting my mind go away on the notes of the melodies.

By the way, I still can’t believe I am among the 40 selected students that will leave for Brussels. This opportunity could be determinant and decisive for my future, just for three simple reasons:

  • I’m going to spend an entire day in close contact with some of the most important figures in Marketing and Management in Europe
  • I’m going to meet peers from almost all Europe, who have my same ambitions  and same inspirations and objectives too
  • I’m going to face with a completely new experience, speaking another language, with unknown people

The opportunity of being involved in a work day simulation, shadowed by a European leader, is not for everyone. Certainly, I hope I’ll learn from my leader’s experience as much as possible, maybe how to move in the labour market and, above all, in which direction. This means that after this experience, I think I will have learnt how to build necessary skills for success in the marketplace, I will have expanded my knowledge and my network in this area and I will have improved my entrepreneurship and my economic/financial abilities.  

Furthermore, I hope I will be more informed before making my career, and before choosing the best course of study to reach my dream of being an international manager. 

Meeting new people who share the same interest is an excellent chance to establish relationships and partnerships for the future. Even though I’ll meet teenagers from countries far from Italy, such as Portugal, Estonia, Denmark or Belgium, the remoteness could evolve into a stimulus to help each other, compare our creative ideas and business projects, identify weaknesses and strengths, basing our opinions and decisions on a different point of view and rating method, just because we have different origins.

It should not be underestimated that I will have the possibility to visit an outstanding city like Brussels, being accommodated in an important hotel of the town, during the school year, while all my classmates are doing their homework without any break. I’m not very honest against them, but I actually think we sometimes need to take the train of the opportunities which runs rarely in front of us. My parents taught me that “we must be always ready”, and fortunately my readiness got me this beautiful occasion.

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