As Vice-President of AIESEC International, I was responsible for leading 40,000 young people towards achieving AIESEC’s target of 45% growth in results (number of international internships) within 1 year with a team of 22 people from 17 countries.
AIESEC is the world’s largest youth run NGO enabling leadership development for social change.
Adapting – I was in a new country working with 22 strangers under high professional pressure. I missed my family, friends and India. Building a meaningful life in the Netherlands while delivering high performance is one of the toughest challenges I have faced.
Influencing – AIESEC did not believe it could achieve 45% growth as it hadn’t seen such performance in the past. Positively influencing people across the world to believe in the target while making sure everyone’s concerns were addressed, was a significant barrier I crossed.
Achieving – After generating momentum towards 45% growth, I faced the challenge of execution. How do I focus the efforts of 40000 volunteers towards one goal? I believed it was possible & persisted with new ideas & actions.
By overcoming these challenges, and more along the way, I was able to achieve 45% growth.
WHAT I LEARNED
Inner strength – The personal and professional intensity of this assignment forced me to deal confidently with complex situations. I appreciate the importance of independence and interdependence in achievement. Humility, hard work and simplicity are values I strengthened through this experience.
Skills – Not-for-profit management, team work, process enhancement & statistical analysis formed the core of my work. The environment taught me to be assertive and culturally sensitive.
The future – One of my most important learning’s is self-awareness. I understand what makes me happy and what my future goals are. I have clarity of purpose and the strength to translate my ambition to action.
Today I realized that I miss being a geek 🙂 For some reason this made me Reflect on why I found my previous job so exciting and Predict why I could come to find my current job quite exciting too.
It was one of those mornings. I woke up with a slight headache and not enough sleep. If only I could crawl back under the covers for 5 minutes, or maybe 150! Trying to convince myself that a cold shower is always the perfect remedy for this sort of stuff, I struggled out of bed. Gulping down my breakfast (of spicy poha and pulpy orange, in case your interested) I took a shot at trying to bargain my way to a spot in the November 2041 Antartica Expedition. Finally stepping out of home, I realized that I had forgotten my lunch, rushed back to get it, and of course arrived at the office 20 minutes late. And sleepy.
I had almost made up my mind that it was going to be a torturous day. The kind when you slouch at your desk with half closed eyes imagining a cozy bed and blanket. But it was not to be! Google Analytics, Excel and the geek in me saved the day. Playing with data is the most fun thing in the world. Setting a goal, figuring out what kind of data to look at, crunching numbers on Excel and analyzing trends – Rise and shine! This was one of the things I loved about my job on AIESEC International and luckily for me, it seems like I’ll have to do some of it in my new role as well.
Reflections – what made my year on AIESEC International fantastic?
1. The people – Working with young bright people from across different countries taught me something new everyday, about people, the world, and my work.
2. Traveling – Every few weeks I got the chance to set out on a new adventure, discovering people, cultures and places around the world.
3. Independence and interdependence – My targets on the team were such that to achieve them I had to strike a fine balance between individual delivery and team work.
4. Achievement – My team saw opportunity for growth, defined the path and then facilitated and watched the organization achieve.
5. My role – I loved my role which included process enhancement, coaching, product development, communication and marketing, statistical analysis and trends forecasting.
Predictions – what could make my time at Cactus Communications fantastic?
1. A new world – I like the feel of entering a whole new market after 6 years of working with AIESEC. Everything is new and interesting, I learn so much everyday.
2. Opportunity for growth – Cactus is a medium sized fast growing organization. The market I’m handling is largely unexplored and has potential for tremendous growth. I can feel the momentum building up to something powerful.
3. The challenge – Limited time to create a niche for Editage in the European and American markets with high targets. The challenge of figuring my way in a new place while ensuring I’m contributing and even achieving pushes me to think and work hard.
4. The people – Cactus is founded by an AIESEC alumnus, employs AIESEC alumni and internationals from across Asia Pacific. I enjoy the multicultural work environment this creates.
5. Mumbai – I work in Mumbai which is my favorite city in the whole world! After spending a year abroad, I’m so excited to be able to rediscover the Maximum City.
I joined AIESEC because I wanted an international exchange experience – Vishal Jodhani, India/Belgium
I joined AIESEC to be able to explore the world beyond Colombia – Alejandra Laiton, Colombia
I joined AIESEC because I wanted to invest my time into something that makes a difference – Monica Costea, Romania
I joined AIESEC because the best people in my city were part of it – Aditi Bhat, India
A few years ago, these were stories waiting to happen. AIESEC made these stories come alive. Today Vishal, Alejandra, Monica and Aditi are part of AIESEC’s global office working with young people around the world to ensure that they also have A POWERFUL STORY to share tomorrow!
Are you a young person asking these questions?
How can I make a difference in my community?
How can I build a network of friends and colleagues around the world?
How can I develop myself personally and professionally?
How can I gain international work and leadership experience?
JOIN US! Starting July AIESEC around the world is recruiting new members! Do you want to write your story in this world? AIESEC can offer you international exchange and leadership opportunities which give you a platform to create impact in your society, create a network of friends, mentors and organizations around the world, develop your personal and professional skills, and work in another country!
As a young person who joins AIESEC today, you will be part of AIESEC’s 2010 generation! You will take the final step in leading the organization to achieve its 2010 vision. The result of more than 10 generations of hard work, passion and ambition!
AIESEC’s 2010 vision:
“Every day, AIESEC is enabling the development of agents of positive change who create the needed impact in society. Our rapidly growing network connects high potential people around the world to generate an increasing volume of AIESEC Experiences. Every member in our thriving local and global communities of learning completes a life-changing AIESEC Experience. Our contribution makes us the first choice amongst young people and organizations for activating leadership.”
Who is Generation 2010? Young people who have –
The perseverance to make things happen
The creativity and originality to think differently
The ambition to lead change
If you want to join AIESEC go to http://www.aiesec.org and contact the AIESEC office in your city!