Apr 18, 2010
My last semester as Local Committee President
Our intern, Maté, from Hungary arrived right after National Congress. He worked on our University's Career Fair, which was very well done and we all had lots of fun helping out on. I've learned about a dozen words in Hungarian and have tried cherry soup, cottage cheese noodles, poppy-seed cake and lángos delicious fried bread). It's also been a great excuse to see all the wonderful tourist attractions in Victoria.
It took a while to find just the right person to be Local Committee President (LCP) but the long search was worth it. At the end of February, our VP Communications, Cory bravely ran for the spot. I have not met any other 20-year old with same amount of maturity, keen business sense, organization, and public speaking skills-- to name just a few of his talents. But I'm sure his team would say his greatest talents are the strong relationships he develops with each of his teammates and how he never fails to keep them entertained.
By the end of March, Cory was done his transition and he headed off to National President's Meeting, while the rest of our Local Committee took the ferry to Vancouver for Coastal Conference. It was the absolute best way for me to end my term. There were over 80 delegates from SFU, UBC, Kwantlen Polytechnic, San Jose (California) and Victoria. My friend, Terrence, the outgoing LCP from UBC and I (along with lots of help from our chair and facilitators) planned the agenda of the conference. As we ran our sessions, everything just came together well. The west coast local committees just have a way of magically coming together. In the final minutes of the conference, as we formed a giant circle around the room to the song of "Stand by Me", I realized that we managed to achieve what he hoped to for this conference: a sense of togetherness in our sub-region, training to be successful at our goals, and renewed passion.
Being a facilitator was a very different experience—it was a great way to learn and create connections. I think the highlight of the conference for me was meeting two Board of Advisor members from AIESEC SFU who helped us all to understand what it truly means to be in AIESEC-- to push ourselves and have international and leadership experiences unlike anything that any other organization can offer. One of them even said that, as accomplished as he is, he still considers his LCP year to be his biggest year for personal and professional development. It was the year that he learned the most.
I don't know if that will be true for me. But I do know that I have learned so much more than I even expected this year. After this experience, every small challenge I have to deal with, whether it's an email, a phone call, a handshake, a time-crunch, a conflict, a networking event, a meeting, a speech, a job interview, an event, a plan that changes, an item to delegate, a letter to write…everything is easier. And those are only the little things. I would not be the person I am today –confident, enthusiastic, assertive, passionate, opinionated, risk-taking, outgoing, eloquent, organized, productive and ready-for-anything, if I had not taken up this role in AIESEC.
In my year, there were many things to be proud of: large improvements in every single portfolio, a best-case practice regional conference and a fantastic new team to replace us. We didn't reach all of our goals, but we learned a lot from our mistakes and we gave it our all. I feel at peace with myself, knowing that I did my very best. It may not have always been the best way to do things, but I continuously learned how to do my job better and always strived to improve.
As I wrote individual greeting cards to the new executive team while crossing the Georgia Strait, I thought about the final words I would tell them at my last time at their Executive Board meeting. And here they are:
"Yes, you change lives in AIESEC [through leadership development and international exchanges], but the most important things are what comes after your time in AIESEC. It's the AIESEC alumni—the globally-minded, responsible leaders—who are well-equipped to make the word a better a place.
In the end, it's not about how many lives you've changed, but how you've changed your own life—how much you've grown, learned, experienced and loved. It's what you take away from this experience. The real winners are the ones who have learned the most and the ones who know they've done their best. These are the people who are bound for success…"
And now that I am an UVic Grad and no longer an LCP… What next? I was an alumni panelist on AIESEC SFU's review board which was a great experience. I've passed my review board and am applying to AIESEC internships abroad. Hopefully this blog will turn into an exchange blog later this year.