Olga Cobilas ’09
Life is full of amazing things going on around us; we must stop and become a part of it. I was one the 106 luckiest people in the world last year. It began when I saw an email describing the GV program. Global Village for Future Leaders of Business and Industry is a leadership, management, and cross-cultural, long time training program. It was created for experienced young professionals from all over the world and advanced students who have a great dream of building a leadership career in business and industry, and who want to form an active and lasting global network.
I remember the day I arrived to start this program. I was so enthusiastic about the upcoming events. It was the same feeling I had five years ago when I came a FLEX participant about to travel to the U.S. I learned so many things during that one year, more than I could even have imagined. I learned to be flexible, open minded, and diplomatic. began to understand people better, I fell in love with the U.S.A. So when I was coming home to the place I knew I belonged after five years, I remember feeling it was one of the best days of my life.
When I came to Lehigh University I was welcomed by great staff. The next day we had an opening ceremony where I met all the people that were part of the program. I was amazed: 106 people from 56 counties were gathered and everyone was wearing his or her national costume. It was a parade of nationalities, traditions, languages. We were so different but at the same time we were the same, the children of the world. On Monday we started our journey to a leadership future. The schedule was very intense. We had events and sessions starting from 8 in the morning until late in the evening, but it was full of interesting classes like Minding Your Business – The Art Of Assertion, Winning Strategies, Risk Management, Get & Keep a Professional Position, Executive Sessions, etc.
One of the key points was working on a consulting project. I was a part of the Fabio Capello Index team; we worked very hard to meet our client’s requirements. We had several meetings with him, face to face, we could discus his point of view about the work we had done, and create a clear framework for him. I would like to introduce you to the project. Fabio Capello Ltd is an Italy company founded in 2010 by a world-renowned football coach, a gaming company founder, and top executive with Global Football at IMG. Alongside a team of professionals and scouting service specialists, they developed an index based on unique formulas to measure an individual player’s contribution from both a quantitative and a qualitative perspective. This project provided a comparison of similar websites, and as a team we developed a marketing plan specific to online markets with a focus on social media and mobile applications. This project involved brand marketing, data management, and internet research.
Another important part of our schedule was dedicated to seminars, panels, special sessions and country presentations: Cultural Simulation, Ethics; Intern-Led Sessions; Leadership panel, etc. One of the most valuable experiences was the Servant Leadership Project. We were providing children with special needs and other developmental disabilities an opportunity to play baseball.
I will never forget our visits to Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. or New York. We visited places such as Thomson Reuters Corporation, Ronald Reagan Building, International Trade Center, Embassy & Permanent Mission Of Antigua and Barbuda.
GV is indeed unique. The discussions, debates, the exchange of experiences was a remarkable thing, which taught me how to come out of my comfort zone and overcome my fears, how to exceed my own expectations, how to create a clear plan in achieving my dreams, how to create strong bonds between people from different countries. Now I know all of that and even more, I have a family consisting of more then 150 people all over the world.
I truly thank Lehigh University, the Iaccoca Institute and the FLEX program for providing this enormous opportunity to shape myself as a future professional. It is unforgettable, beyond measure, and a precious and life impacting program. And there is still time to apply for the 2014 program! The deadline to submit an application is February 15, 2014. You can learn about Global Village at http://www.iacocca-lehigh.org/Iacocca/globalvillage/