Leaders-for-a-Day: Francois Lhemery, Senior Director of Policy for Microsoft EMEA

My experience with the Leaders-for-a-Day program was excellent. Paulo Ferreira from Portugal, the young leader who came to "shadow" me in the Microsoft office in Brussels, was very curious, knowledgeable and way more mature than most 18-year-olds I’ve encountered. I was impressed by the fact that Paulo already has his future plans set for the next years and it was great to help and mentor such a young talent with an entrepreneual mind-set.  

Paulo shared with me several observations during the day. First, his surprise at the breadth and depth of Microsoft products and also the role the company takes in various initiatives and programs. Indeed, it is true that Microsoft is supporting different programs and events, like "YouthSpark" and "All You Need Is Code". Second, Paulo noted that he was also quite surprised to see how much work is done, so-to-say, "behind the scenes" within the different policy areas. But he is not the only one who learned something new during the day.

The Leaders for a Day program provided me with a great opportunity to meet a young, motivated, ambitous leader who we need so very much in today’s world. Meeting Paulo, observing him and talking about his plans was refreshing, as he brought a completely entrepreneurial perspective on things to the table. I only wish the program had been available when I was 18 years old.

The Leaders for a Day program is incredibly valuable, because it brings entrepreneurial and soft skills to talented students though experiences they can’t get in traditional education. It provides a needed and helpful component to formal education programs. I enjoyed the day a lot and want to express many thanks to JA Europe, the organisators of the day and Paulo, my shadower!

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