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Helping Romanian students become entrepreneurs

Mihaela VASILE, Corporate Engagement & Government Affairs Manager for Monsanto Romania

For the second year in a row, as Corporate Engagement & Government Relations Manager for Monsanto in Romania, I successfully supported our team to mentor more than 600 students from around the country. This was made possible by Monsanto’s partnership with the Junior Achievement (JA) Award — Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship.

This annual project started in October 2016 in Romania, when different high schools submitted their requests to join the JA programme. In partnership with the Monsanto fund, JA staff members prepared all the necessary documents, during the month of November, and began recruiting volunteers from Monsanto to work alongside students during the year. In this scholarship year, Monsanto secured eight volunteers to engage with over 600 recruited pupils.

The first student class visits started in December 2016. Activities included visits to Monsanto innovations centres, job shadowing and innovation camp sessions.

Over several months, students were organised into small teams, with regular face-to-face meetings, lasting five hours each. These groups were structured as ‘mini companies’ and mentored by Monsanto volunteers. Volunteers shared their experiences with students regularly to create realistic pilot companies that could easily enter the market.

For me, as one of the volunteers on the project, it was an empowering opportunity to have open and friendly conversations with the students. And it was delightful to see passion, engagement and enthusiasm from such young people.

They were like sponges, capturing each drop of knowledge from myself and the other volunteers. What I learned was that engagement by the volunteer teachers (in addition to the Monsanto volunteer staff) was also very important. Those teachers dedicated much of their precious time to impart their knowledge to make it easier for students to interpret the outside world of business.

I met some of those teachers and from them I understood how important it is to approach any job with passion and dedication — and to be proud of your students’ achievements.

Every minute spent with the students gave me more energy and enthusiasm. In their projects, the students were happy to support poorer people in their communities and even recruited some of them into their mini-companies; offering local products or services to people.

These kinds of volunteer actions can only help to develop the next generation. I and the rest of the volunteers at Monsanto are happy to be part of this growing professional knowledge-exchange experience.

Category : Business Volunteering, Entrepreneurship Education Posted : 26 June 2017 14:15 UTC
About the Author
Mihaela VASILE, Corporate Engagement & Government Affairs Manager for Monsanto Romania

Most of her work time is dedicated to building, maintaining and developing company relationships with relevant industry and competent authorities’ representatives and mainstream media.
Mihaela has a Bachelor of Statistics Diploma of The Bucharest University of Economic Studies. She affirms with pleasure that agriculture is an innovative and science-based sector, full of challenges, but fascinating to communicate about it. She is a Monsanto employee since 2005, being CE&GA Manager since 2011 and currently is the Chair of Agrobiotechrom association.
Over the time, alongside the country, she organized seminars and workshops with pupils and students and attended various public debates on legislative themes and had multiple farmers’ meetings.  
Her curiosity, strategic thinking and determination are three of her features, which support her professional development.
Website: www.monsanto.ro  
LinkedIn: Mihaela Vasile

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