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Leaders-for-a-Day: The young leaders share their experiences

Following the 2015 Leaders-for-a-Day, the JA alumni and ESP-holders share their experiences spending one day with with some of Europe's top leaders.

 

"My top leader was Barbara Wynne from Accenture, who welcomed me to experience her day-to-day work-life. What an inspiring woman."

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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. 

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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The Leaders-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.

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First of all, I really wanted to thank whole JA organization for making this trip possible. These two challenging days were ones of the best in my life, not only when it comes to the gained knowledge but also in creating a big international connection with newly met. After wonderfully coordinated first meeting I’ve felt perfectly prepared for what was to come the next day. The meeting itself was supposed to introduce us to each other, make us more comfortable talking in front of the group, and teach us how to find and present certain information in a nimble way.

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Priceless experience, a ton of new contacts, opportunities everywhere! This is what the Leaders-for-a-Day event meant to me. However, only these few words just cannot express how I am thrilled I met such amazing and talented people. Friendliness of everyone I spent my time with astonished me. The fact I could spend the whole workday with the CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies changed the way I see my future. A lot of various nationalities have been working here. Belgians, English, French, Americans and much more! It is amazing to see how pleasant the international environment can be. 

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There are few life changing experiences in life, those worth to be mentioned in a “Describe an experience that has shaped you” college application essay. And I’m more than thankful to have just participated in one of such, shaping memories to last while enthusiastically establishing a close network of friends, both junior and senior leaders, all with the same vision: to promote entrepreneurship, to inspire and keep being inspired every day that passes. 

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It is true that we need to start from somewhere, and I can say that my starting point was JA as it really helped me grow and improve myself. It started with a mini-company we created in school where I was vice-president of manufacture, then the competition with other mini-companies in Bratislava and now, the Leaders-for-a-day. The most exciting experience I have ever had.

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Being a part of the JA Company Programme and receiving the ESP certificate enabled me to visit Brussels, where I had the chance to meet another 35 incredibly talented, pleasant and ambitious students from all over the Europe and shadow Mrs. Michaela Šojdrová, member of the Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats), during her work day in the European Parliament.

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I had expected a lot from this experience but I could never imagine what this experience really has gave me, I had the chance to follow a great Leader, his name is Neil McMillan (Director Advocacy and Political Affairs of Eurocommerce).

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Being a part of Leaders-for-a-Day 2015 was definitely an unforgettable experience. I had the chance to shadow young and inspirational director of New Europe Group Alexandros Koronakis and be myself a journalist in Brussels for one day. At the beginning of the work day we had an interesting interview with a politician from Italy. It was really great to see the process of making an article for the upcoming New Europe newspaper.

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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.

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Today I got the chance to follow Dirk Jacobs for a day. Dirk is the Deputy Director General of FoodDrinkEurope, 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.

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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.

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Category : Entrepreneurship, JA Alumni, JA Europe Network, Entrepreneurship Education, Entrepreneurial Skills Pass (ESP) Posted : 16 October 2015 09:08 UTC

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