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15 February 2011

Leadership…twenty-first century style

Bonjour  from Brussels! 

One of the perks of my job is meeting a lot of talented people from all over the world.  Alexandra Moraru, is PwC’s AIESEC Coordinator and sits in our Brussels office.  AIESEC is present in over 107 territories with over 50,000 members.  It is the world’s largest student-run organisation, focused on providing a platform for youth leadership and giving young people the opportunity to be global citizens. 

I’ve asked Alexandra to write a guest blog to share her views on her leadership journey so far.  This is the first in a series of guest blogs I’ve been planning to bring you the stories, views, and experiences of PwC women (and some men too – you just wait) from around the network – many of them who may be newer to the firm – but have already inspired me with their spirit and passion for what they do.  I hope they’ll inspire you, too.  Enjoy! 

Alexandra writes:

AIESEC and personal leadership
I was born and raised in a former communist country and started moving around the world when I was 19, experiencing life in the USA, Norway and, later on, Belgium. In the meantime, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about leadership from different perspectives: cultural, social, economical, entrepreneurial and personal.

There are many types of leadership, but I believe without personal leadership, none of the other types make sense. I guess it’s a question of how I was raised. And when I say raised, I mean by my mentors and coaches, not just my family. What is personal leadership, in the end? It’s just you leading yourself, you having your own personal vision and defining the best possible way to achieve it, it’s you striving to reach that vision.

And that is how all leaders start their journey, really. Only afterwards may followers adhere to your vision. I learned this in the organization that has shaped me in the last 5 years: AIESEC – a youth organization that develops leadership abilities in their members.

I believe that when we’re young, we need platforms to play around with personal concepts of leadership, to dissect them, to try them on, even to fail and learn some valuable lessons.  My dream is to one day venture into politics.  I know I can’t move mountains yet, but I do have the power to shape them – and this is not arrogance, but ambition.

150211_A 

Personal ambitions: a girl in Romanian politics

I am a 24 year old who was born in Romania and has lived in 4 different countries.  I’m passionate about communication and Public Relations and come at everything with a “can do” attitude.  I don’t believe that my gender limits me.  For me, success means having a career that will fight corruption and ignorance in social spheres and leadership means having people with the same values helping me achieve this.

150211_B 

Women’s role in different societies, as experienced first hand

I’ve had the opportunity to observe gender roles in very different countries.  In Norway it was very normal for a  woman to ask her husband to take paternity leave while she went back to work.  I’ve also seen that politics in Norway is “gender-less” – people have learnt to get past stereotypes and vote for the best candidate – this is why feminism is important to me – because the talent bar is raised.  In my travels I have visited countries where I did feel a difference between men and women, where I saw discrimination, and when you see that it can make you feel angry and powerless.  It’s something that luckily I’ve never experienced in school or at any of the jobs I’ve ever had.

150211_C 

Why don’t we women try harder?

I am a girl who grew up in a communist country – so it may be surprising to hear that the only barriers I’ve experienced are ... well…the ones I put up for myself. So, in Belgium, where I know society is facing gender gaps, I don’t feel disadvantaged because I’m a woman. Even in Romania, I always feel equally treated by everyone, from the public authorities, to the merchants, to the health system or educational one.  

And yet, I know there are few women in leadership positions, both in the public and the private sector.  But at the same time, I see very few women actually trying. And I can’t help but wonder: is it us, women that create those barriers or do they actually exist? I really think the fault is shared, but I also know that women in my generation have the amazing ability to just step over any discriminatory obstacle, because we were raised to believe in ourselves, without even thinking about our gender.  I think women in my generation have this gift of not believing that being a woman could ever be a disadvantage, thanks to the efforts previous women generations have put into striving for an equal world. Nowadays, women of my generation are happy to be female because we were thought that this is a strength of ours and we know that all we need to do is use it.

150211_D 

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