President’s Distinguished Club 2016-2017 – Reflections from Past President Tatiana

Tatiana is the first female president of the club to serve the full-term. Under her leadership, the club achieved the President’s Distinguished Club badge of honor. In the post we reflect on the past year with her.

1.) Could you reflect on journey of last year, what were the major challenges and how did you overcome them ?
Honestly, I cannot think of any challenges at all. I think I got really lucky with the team. I was often wondering when some kind of trouble would strike us that would need me to take out my Superwoman outfit.  But, my A-Team dealt with all the troubles even before they reached my ears. Maybe because they were scared of me… Ha-ha, joking, of course.
2.) What is it like being the President ? 
It’s a honorable position. I enjoyed being the President. You feel empowered to make a difference. That’s a great feeling.
(Frank, Tatiana and Boson)
3.) What was your personal motivation in taking up the role of the President ?
I had followed several Leadership training programs at work and wanted to apply that knowledge.  Was also curious how hard that would be.
4.) What are lessons in leadership this role gave u ? 
Well, it confirmed the theoretical knowledge I already had, but you only fully grasp it when you experience it. Prior to this , I had served as VP-Education (VP-Ed). When I was VP-Ed,  sometimes felt not empowered enough.But seen in hindsight,  it was mostly due to my inexperience. Being VP-Ed and then the President gave me a broader perspective- you see similar situations from differing view points.
5.) What recommendations would you pass on to your successor and future aspirants ? 
Most importantly, don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
There are other important things, of course. Have a vision and make sure the team shares it with you. Say clearly what you want, and delegate. Give immediate feedback, corrective or positive. Be respectful of others. Ask the team for opinion and ideas. Let the others be in charge of their tasks and hold them responsible. On top of that, I think to be a good club President one has to first serve as one of vice presidents to understand how the club functions and the team dynamics work.
6.) Tell us a bit about your life here in Belgium 
I came to Belgium in June 2009 to move in with my Belgian boyfriend-Ben. I met him in 2007 in Leuven when I had come on a business trip and we have been madly in love ever since. We flew up and and down like crazy for almost 2 years (2-3 weekends per month). Then the financial crisis struck, flying got more and more expensive, and we decided to start with me moving to Belgium, and then move together to Australia, US, or Canada. I easily got a job in Belgium at the same company where Ben works, as I had all the skills and experience they needed and I was well-known to the people in the company since that business trip back in 2007. The idea to move to Australia, US, or Canada faded away somehow. We found it good enough in Belgium. We did, however, temporarily relocate together to the Melbourne office of our company in 2014 for half a year. It was a great experience and they offered us to stay there permanently, but we decided that Belgium is a better place for us. We can keep in close contact with our families, which is very important for us, and it’s a great hub to travel to anywhere in the world. Travel is our biggest family hobby. Our 4-month old son has already been on 3 trips with us. At the end of last year, my big dream came true and I finally got a dog, a now 9-month old Boston terrier Boson. Nowadays, what I enjoy most in my free time is taking my dog on walks and “dates” with other dogs. He loves to play and explore. He gives us a reason to get more out of the house and explore Belgium as if we are tourists here. My son Max, naturally, goes everywhere with us, too 🙂

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