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Meet the Women of EU Business School – International Women’s Day 2021

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EU Blog » EU Business School » Meet the Women of EU Business School – International Women’s Day 2021

Women in Business month has provided a fantastic opportunity to learn more about our fellow female staff members at EU. We are proud to work with such an international and diverse team of women, who specialize in everything from finance and management to communication and design.

We would like to celebrate their careers and share their valuable tips on life, business and being a woman!

This week, we hear from six of our senior colleagues who have worked hard to get to where they are. They share their professional goals, the all-important make-or-break moments of their careers and their strategies for finding success.

Claire Basterfield

Head of Communications & DesignBarcelona Campus

Claire is an expert in communications and started working with EU in 2017. She is originally from Taunton in the U.K., but has been living and working in Barcelona for the last 30 years. She holds a bachelor’s in business and a master’s in marketing. Claire speaks English, Spanish, Catalan and French.

What have been some make or break moments in your career? Where did they take you? What did you learn from them?

One of the most important moments in my career was requesting to lead the worldwide sponsorship of women’s tennis by Sanex, the global personal care brand.

This project was initially a small one comprising the sponsorship of one Belgian tennis player, Justine Henin, who was later to become the world’s number one player. In the space of just a year, the project grew to become the brand’s main activity with actions including the sponsorship of Martina Hingis and the global sponsorship of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour. We even hosted a Sanex WTA Tournament which took place in Knokke-Le-Zoute, Belgium. I led the project with top management at HQ in the Netherlands. The project opened doors and allowed me to be seen. And, by the way, I knew nothing about tennis before the project began. To get up to speed, I read about sports, sports strategy and the ins and outs of tennis in my spare time.

This showed me that if you want something enough, can present the arguments to support your pitch, have worked hard in a company, are passionate, persevere and believe in yourself, management will support you and you can achieve your goals.

Can you share with us any tricks or strategies that you have used to move forward in your career?

1) I have always worked hard and been passionate. I believe that nothing is given for free: working hard, stepping out of your comfort zone and doing a little more than the rest of your co-workers will make you stand out.

2) I have worked for companies in which I believe and left companies whose values I do not share. In my mind, if you are not comfortable in a company, you are wasting your time. Hence, it’s best to move on as soon as possible.

3) I have had great bosses who have been true mentors. They are all people I have admired and respected and on whom I wanted to make a good impression. I am still in contact with many of them today.

4) Teamwork and a great team: I can honestly say that one of the benefits of being a department head is that you can choose the people with whom you work. The communications team at EU is made up of great professionals (the work they do is outstanding) and people.

5) Just go for it! Sometimes I say to myself “tira” (which in Spanish figuratively means “keep moving forward”). Why overthink? If you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain, don’t think; just jump right in and start.

Dr. Sanghita Polley Hazra

Admissions Counselor & Research Associate at ONResearch – Munich Campus

Dr. Hazra was born in India and speaks English, Hindi, German and Bengali. She originally started a career in dentistry but later discovered a passion for business. In 2014, Hazra moved to Germany to study an MBA and is currently an associate for EU’s research platform, ONResearch, alongside her main role as admissions counselor at the EU Munich campus.

How have your professional goals changed throughout your career? Why?

When I was a child, I knew I wanted to become a doctor. At some point, I narrowed down my field of medicine to being a dentist. Four years later, while practicing dentistry, I realized I was fascinated by the daily operations of my dental clinic. My passion was shifting from being a dentist to becoming a businesswoman.

I chased my next big passion to bag an MBA and explore the world of business. While pursuing an MBA in Munich, Germany, my focus shifted towards the sales and marketing fields as I enjoyed the constant human interaction and loved establishing customer relationships.

My professional goals changed over time until I discovered my real passion.

Can you share with us any tricks or strategies that you have used to move forward in your career?

The only control we have in our lives is the control we have over ourselves.

If we can work on ourselves through continuous learning, developing skills and staying up to date, we can achieve anything we want to move forward in our career.

Dr. Begoña González Otero

Dr. Begoña González Otero

Group General Counsel – Munich Campus

Dr. Gonzalez Otero is from Santiago de Compostela, Spain, but has also lived in Barcelona, Madrid, Istanbul and, for a short time, Auckland. She speaks five languages; Spanish, Galician, Portuguese, German and English, and holds a doctoral degree.

What have been some make or break moments in your career? Where did they take you? What did you learn from them?

Well, when I injured myself and could not move forward with my artistic career, that was both a make and break moment. I would not be a Senior Research Fellow at one of the most important science hubs for innovation in the world, and would not have studied law or be interested in economics and social sciences, without that make or break moment.

Can you share with us any tricks or strategies that you have used to move forward in your career?

I don’t think there are any tricks or shortcuts that are worthwhile. For me, the best strategy is to be honest with yourself, be respectful to those around you, be a team player and be able to sleep at night without any regrets.

Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you and surround yourself with people who care about and support you. This is essential in reaching any success.

Iris Mayerhofer

Iris Mayerhofer

Campus ManagerMunich Campus

Before working with EU, Iris worked in broadcasting and was CEO of a German television network. She has moved around throughout her career and has lived in the U.S., South Africa and Germany. Iris has a master’s in American studies and her favorite app is Tagesschau, a German news service.

What lesson did you learn while you were studying (in class or out) that you still use today?

If you believe in yourself and you are confident that you can reach your goal, you will reach it.

What have been some make or break moments in your career? Where did they take you? What did you learn from them?

I was so convinced that one of my ideas for a very big, new project would be successful, that I agreed to commit my future career in the company to it. Had the project failed, I would have had to leave. I succeeded.

I learned that if you really believe in something, you have to go for it even if it means taking a risk.

Ingrid Menergi

Ingrid Menergi Santesmases

Graduate Coordinator & Head of Academic AdministrationOnline Campus

Ingrid has been working with EU for almost 10 years. Earlier in her career, she studied journalism and criminology and worked for the Generalitat de Catalunya. Ingrid has always lived in Barcelona but she can speak English and Italian along with her native languages, Catalan and Spanish. Her favorite food is tabbouleh.

What was the proudest moment of your career?

There was a time when I was juggling two jobs at EU; I was the registrar’s assistant and an academic counsellor for the online campus. At a certain point, the work was too much and I was asked to decide which of the two tasks I wanted to focus on and which to leave behind. The Dean of the online campus was very happy with me and pushed me to stay. He also asked my colleagues to try and convince me to choose the academic counselling position because he didn’t want to lose me. I was proud that he valued my work so much and that he went to great lengths to keep me on his team.

Can you share with us any tricks or strategies that you have used to move forward in your career?

My strategy is to work hard and go the extra mile to help our students as much as possible.

Anne-Claire Aubert

Anne-Claire Aubert

Group Finance DirectorAll Campuses

Anne-Claire has lived all over the world, including Geneva, Paris, London, Montreal and Sydney. She has a lot of experience in the finance industry and has previously worked for PwC and KPMG. She is a proud mother of two boys and her favorite food is coconut dhal.

Can you share with us any tricks or strategies that you have used to move forward in your career?

If you set your mind to something, do it well and at 150%.

Gender equality at work starts at home. So, my second piece of advice is to pick your life partner well, one that will support you in all decisions. I want a career but I also want to be a good mum, wife and friend. I am so thankful for my amazing husband, who really sees me as his equal. If you want to have a career and still end up doing 100% of the housework and looking after the kids, it is not going to work, something is going to have to give.

Have you ever had to put a personal project on hold or make compromises in your personal life for the benefit of your career? If so, could you give us an example? Would you do things differently?

In the past, I think I worked too many hours because I did not know how to say no. I like to do things well and I don’t want to disappoint so, I prioritized work over a work-life balance. Now, of course I still work long hours, but I am in control of my priorities and I choose when to do things. As my old boss used to say, “I am not a brain surgeon so nobody is going to die if I push something back by a few hours or days”. That really helped my prioritization skills. I don’t want to be put in a position where I have to compromise anymore.

Some people live to work, some people work to live. You must find what’s best for you and make it work. If it’s not working and there is too much compromise on one side or another, then it is time to do something about it!

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