After graduating from University, I decided to start my own business. One reason behind my decision was that the standard two weeks of yearly vacation in Canada seemed insufficient, and the other my sense of adventure and what an adventure it has been!
As a founder of several companies, I was able to bring AIESEC’s values into the core of the organizations I have worked with. I also found out that these values were more than useful; they were critical in the challenging environment of a startup.
When I moved to California, I looked up the local alumni community and this led me to meeting David Epstein, who convinced me to join AAI within its communications profile/role/team/portfolio.
As I reflect on a year in AAI, there are 3 things which I can take away from this experience.
Meeting Amazing People
The alumni community brings together people from all walks of life, many of whom are incredibly successful within their fields. Attending alumni conferences and having the shared values of AIESEC has made it possible to approach individuals who would usually be out of reach of one’s network, as well as establish an immediate rapport.
The study tours after both conferences in Porto and India were simply inspiring. I laughed, ate ice cream, had a glass of wine with industry leaders. These encounters renewed my inspiration; upon my return home, I worked harder to strive for excellence in whatever I do.
Meaningful Volunteer Work
As students, we saw the impact of our work had on the trainees and the community. In our adult life, we don’t always have the opportunity to make such concrete social impact. Supporting or getting involved with the alumni network provides an outlet where we can continue to give back and improve our communities, as well as our world. Many alumni are doing incredible work around the globe.
Another opportunity which is not always present in our career is being able to learn or try new things. I was able to apply some of my professional skills in new ways as well as developing entirely new set of skills – for example, chairing the AIM in India, which was an amazing and enriching experience.
I’m forever grateful to those who have laid the ground works for AAI, as well as those who persevere to move the association forward.
Whether it’s having a drink, or actually volunteering with the association, AAI will always be relevant and can add tremendous value for every AIESEC alumnus.