For the past month, Claudia Wong has been working for AIESEC Canada as Vice President Organizational Development. She shares her story of how her involvement in AIESEC at UBC & nationally has helped her develop her skills in leadership and team management.

People always ask me if how I am now, is how I was like before I joined AIESEC. The answer? Not at all. What is different? A whole lot of things. Do I attribute all these changes to AIESEC? For sure.

Before AIESEC, I was not comfortable with public speaking and leading teams. When I first joined AIESEC I was on the Organizing Committee of AlumNight and I really wanted to challenge myself to raise sponsorship. There was a great sense of accomplishment when I was successful and really boosted up my confidence.

That was when I decided to run for Vice President Talent Management. Speaking in front of the General Assembly was nerve wracking for me but it was all worth it when the water hit my face (attend an election if you don’t know what I’m talking about!). As Vice President Talent Management, I learned how to run events and lead a team that was super energetic with very different personalities. As I started to run more General Assemblies and information sessions, any stage fright I had seemed to slowly go away. I think part of it was also being passionate about AIESEC, really believing in our impact and wanting to share that with others.

The deciding factor of my next step was Western Regional Conference 2009 in Victoria, British Columbia. As Vice President Talent Management, I wanted to win the most spirited Local Committee award and it was my mission for the next two days to lead the whole 30+ delegation of UBC to reach that goal. Although, UBC didn’t win that year I was inspired to run for Local Committee President because of it. The thrill of leading a team to reach a common goal was exactly what I wanted to do next. I am not going to lie and say being Local Committee President was easy. In fact, it was a tough year for me but the skills I learned were invaluable.

I believe that in order to lead a team, the leader must be able to create a story, one that everyone else on the team can relate to and motivates them. My story? That UBC needed to win the most spirited Local Committee award at Western Regional Conference, as well as throw a VERY successful Western Regional Conference 2010. Did it happen? YES! My Executive Board and I had created a story that we delivered on 100% and put all our efforts making it happen. Throughout the process, my crisis management skills increased exponentially as well team management. The Local Committee President year was an intense year of leadership but I loved every moment of it.

I enjoyed the intense team aspect so much I decided to apply for the national team of AIESEC Canada, and got the position I wanted! How is it so far? It’s everything I wanted it to be and more. It has only been my first month but if this is any type of preview for the rest of the year, this will be the best team and leadership experience I have gotten from being a part of AIESEC. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

-Claudia Wong