Monday, August 25, 2008

Profile of Candice Popiel

We are happy to offer a profile of Candice Bataille Popiel, an alumnus from AIESEC Venezuela now living in the United States. Although she's married to an alumnus of AIESEC United States (No Excuses Chair, Jeff Popiel), she's an active member of AIESEC Life. We welcome alumni from any LC and any country!!

What do you do today?

I am the confounder of Glowmundo and I am an author of children's books. Glowmundo is dedicated to empowering children to think beyond their circumstances via literary and media tools. I also work as an organizational development consultant.

How did your AIESEC experience influence your career path?
If I summarize what I gained from the seven years that I was involved with AIESEC from my days in a local committee in Caracas, to national committee in Venezuela, to the years in AIESEC International, I can say that it was a series of professional and interpersonal skills and values all intertwined with a resilient, open minded and ethical attitude. All of this not only affected my professional life but my personal life. If it was not for AIESEC, I truly would not be here, not only because of my personal ties to America, but because AIESEC is how I got to know what the U.S. was really all about. (Believe me, the media and Hollywood were not convincing me to make the big life decision to move here!)

I believe that AIESEC is a space that allows young people to discover their true self and understand their own skills and life purpose all with a global awareness. It truly prepares young people to face and lead the world in whichever role they choose to play. The more I interact with alumni from all over the world, the more I see that “Golden Thread” of leadership abilities, organizational skills, globally mindedness, and ability to think and act beyond the circumstances, that makes AIESECers stand out. And I say AIESECers, because I think that the values that AIESEC instills becomes a lifestyle. All you have to say to a stranger is that you were in AIESEC and if they were too, you immediately trust, and the connection is made.

For me it has been no different, no matter the job I’ve had, I always managed to lead my responsibilities to great results, and to be open to learn. Today I am dedicated to bringing these set of intrapersonal skills and core values to the youngest ones, the children. After my childhood in Venezuela, my time in AIESEC living and working around the world, currently raising two children of my own, and understanding the needs of our world, I decided to direct my work to offer that what I call that “Golden Thread” to children. If children are taught to think beyond their circumstances at a younger age, and are raised with a sense of globality from the get go, they will show up in life with a stronger sense of self and of empathic living, and bigger are the chances of humanity taking conscious larger steps or leaps towards peace and fulfillment of mankind’s potential.

Career Advice for AIESECers and alumni
I always say, “once and aiesecer, always an aiesecer”, but for the purposes of the question, if you are currently active in the network my best advice is to take as many responsibilities as possible and learn as much as you can by exposing yourself to the international environment offered by the network that is AIESEC. By taking responsibilities without falling on politics but doing things for the right reasons, at the right time, the right way, you already have gain a ton. Also establish relationships, by taking on responsibilities within a team, you develop special bonds that can affect your life at a personal and professional level forever. As well, if you do not make it to work on another MC or AIESEC International, take a traineeship, there is nothing like the experience of living and working abroad to enrich your life.

For alumni, reconnect, reconnect, reconnect. First, reconnect with those AIESEC values that sometimes because of the “busyness” of life some of us forget and understand that it is all in our minds. We can create the AIESEC atmosphere by either starting a business of our own or living the values in whichever role we play. Second, reconnect with the network and the old relationships. The internet has revolutionized the world and with it AIESEC. Yes “the world is flat” like Friedman suggests. We have but to take advantage of it. If for the average person the internet has opened the world, for an aiesecer who has been in the world and has connections, the meaning is infinite. This is the reason why I see AIESEC Life succeeding: it is so important in reclaiming those AIESEC values and in contributing to empower us to make a difference in our surroundings.


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