2021 is almost over and we are starting to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel! We have experienced another challenging yet innovative year, and we are proud to have seen our alumni community continue to thrive.
We fondly look back on 12 months of thought-provoking virtual events and the long-awaited reintroduction of in-person meet-ups.
January: Strategic Thinking
Our first event of 2021 looked at strategic thinking through a new lens. Rosa Navarro from Mindful Barcelona presented an interactive session on mindfulness, which was an instant hit among our alumni! Not only did Rosa show us how mindfulness can enable us to see which mental models we are applying to our work, she guided us through a simple meditation practice that we could incorporate into our daily routine to get us thinking in a more divergent way.
February: Diversity and Inclusion
Three fabulous women joined us in February to discuss their varied experiences around inclusion. These incredibly insightful talks explored strategies to create more inclusion in business and heighten our cultural awareness. From Vicky Evangeliou’s cultural expertise on Greek hospitality becoming more accessible to Riya Kalra’s first-hand advice of founding a female-run business and Ewa Pietrzak-Jania’s steps to overcoming organizational barriers, we couldn’t have wished for a more well-rounded series!
March: Women in Business Month
This March, we refocused all our corporate, social and academic actions to celebrate businesswomen. Our alumni events were presented by Farah Ragheb, a positive-impact entrepreneur who established the reputation of TOPSHOP TOPMAN across the Middle East, and Milica Ermer, a marketing and communications expert who challenged the societal expectations that women face when working in male-dominated industries. To wrap things up, we invited external guest speaker, Charles Steinmyller, from the Tampax division of Procter and Gamble, to shoot down gender stereotypes. As a male marketeer for female products, Charles opened our eyes to embracing differences and a different approach to the customer journey.
April: Career Planning
Victor Carulla kicked off the topic of career planning with his insights into the top hiring trends in 2021, followed by a dynamic look at career transitioning for expats by career coach, Anna Veskova, and a fascinating session on how to excel as an entrepreneur by Emilia Alves.
May: Entrepreneurship and Forbes Talks
May was one of our favorite months of the year! We held a Forbes mini-series with young high-flyers Christoph Kastenholz, Julian Baladurage and Noëlle Demole, all of whom have been associated with the prestigious magazine due to their outstanding careers. They gave us behind-the-scenes access to their thriving businesses and shared some of their secrets to success. It was also our pleasure to be joined by serial entrepreneur, Kevin Sigliano, who gave his valuable advice on how to maximize the potential of start-ups; something that is especially of interest to our younger alumni.
June: Work-Life in 2021
Since the pandemic began, our lives have been turned upside down on a personal and professional level. In June, we were joined by professionals, Jose María Guido Ávila, Lev Mozolev and Sjaak Koole, who provided us with an all-access pass to how their industries have been disrupted by the pandemic. They provided us with unique ways to transition teams to and from the remote workplace while maintaining a communicative and productive group dynamic.
July: Virtual Alumni Reunion
This year’s Virtual Alumni Reunion gathered EU lecturers, students, alumni and guest speakers from industry-leading companies across the globe to tackle unconscious bias, develop inclusive leaders and create our school’s very own D&I strategy! Victoria Williams kicked off the three-day event with a heartening overview of diversity and inclusion in business, which was then followed by a stakeholder-wide discussion panel to explore the steps to creating a D&I strategy and an open dialogue on diversity, equity and inclusion in organizations.The final day of the event continued with an eye-opening masterclass on tackling bias by Jorel Rodriguez and a final professional alumni panel entitled “The Role of Developing Inclusive Leaders in Organizations”, highlighting the importance of diverse teams and how they lead to better products and more meaningful marketing campaigns.
August: Business Online
Technology has led to a worldwide boom of online businesses. Eray Kurucay, Senior Account Director at LinkedIn, was keen to bring to light the impact of tech companies on online business and share his experience of working for tech giants LinkedIn and Google. Our students and alumni were intrigued to learn about Eray’s career change from sports to technology and how to get into these competitive industries.
September: A New Academic Year
After an unpredictable start to the year, we were thrilled to welcome EU’s new students back on campus this September! Who better to introduce them to the EU community than our alumni, who shared their reflections and words of advice.
A clear highlight of the year was Kathrin Wolff’s Alumni Speaker series session on blockchain. Kathrin has an outstanding background in the finance sector and has seen it develop in ways we never thought possible. She was able to break down the topic into bite-size pieces and left us stunned to see the ways in which blockchain could revolutionize our businesses.
November: Purpose-Driven Brands and the Return of Alumni Meet Ups
Throughout November, we were finally able to celebrate our first in-person alumni meet-ups since the pandemic began! We loved catching up and reuniting old classmates in Munich, Geneva and Barcelona. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Ebru Özgüc to discuss purpose-driven brands and how they drive business growth.
December: Work-Life Balance
Fiona Pattiselanno-Westerkamp has rounded off this year by guiding us through different definitions of work-life balance and showing us the paths to follow for a better future. After this challenging year of change, it is definitely just what we needed to get 2022 off to a good start!
As 2021 comes to a close, we would like to thank all our phenomenal alumni who have participated as speakers and attendees at our events this year despite the unconventional times we are living through. Your enthusiasm and support have been fundamental in helping us create a strong and vibrant community in which we can share our experiences and achievements.
Next year, we look forward to further building our network while celebrating more of your successes and continuing to create meaningful connections.