When I joined AIESEC I immediately applied to lead my own team, which didn’t happen. Throughout my first months in AIESEC, I learned a lot about Sales and HR but also about how to lead and motivate other people to achieve their goals. Today I lead two teams and have learned that what defines a great leader are not his own actions, but those of the people he leads.
what defines a great leader are not his own actions, but those of the people he leads.
This is my AIESEC story…
When I joined AIESEC in UAntwerp time I was a first-year law student and like with most decisions in my life at the time, this was a pretty random decision. After secondary school, I took a gap year which I spent volunteering and travelling through South America and Africa. Being back in Belgium and spending all my time either at university, at home or going out with friends, I felt like I wasn’t living as much as I did during that gap year. I wasn’t meeting people from different backgrounds and views on the world, I wasn’t hearing their stories, I wasn’t challenged to get out of my comfort zone and I wasn’t being productive. In short, I felt like if something was missing and five years of university that were ahead of me, seemed like an eternity.
I felt like if something was missing and five years of university that were ahead of me, seemed like an eternity.
This was two years ago, and this has been the best random decision I ever took. It was also one of the last random decisions I took because throughout these years a lot has changed. Or have I changed?
I believe I haven’t necessarily changed, I haven’t become a different person. I am however more aware of the person I am, about what I believe in and about what I want to achieve in my life and this is all thanks to AIESEC.
I joined AIESEC in the Incoming Global Talent (iGT) team, which might not tell you much. What we did was make the connection between companies in and around Antwerp looking for talented young people and those international talented young people that wanted to learn and develop themselves through an internship in Belgium.
We recruited the interns together with the companies, provided logistical support during the visa process and made sure that the interns that came to Belgium got a warm welcome and felt at home. I really liked doing this. I was again in touch with people from all around the world and I was doing things I had never done before like recruiting people, preparing visa’s, organising culture immersion session etc. I was often challenged to question my own point of view and became aware of how many things I consider normal or self explanatory that simply aren’t so for a lot of people.
After a couple of months, I got the opportunity to apply for a new position within AIESEC where I would lead the two iGT teams. At the time I felt like it was the logical next step and I felt ready for it. I ended up getting the promotion but soon discovered that there was much more to it than I expected and was prepared for but it turned out to be the most rewarding experience of my life.
it turned out to be the most rewarding experience of my life.
— Elias Pepermans.
Vice-President Incoming Global Talent in AIESEC in UAntwerp (2019)
You want to live a similar experience to Elias? AIESEC is recruiting new members! Check out more here: aiesec.org/membership