We partner in a number of countries with Junior Achievement, in connection with Alliance for Youth. In 2016, for the second year in a row we participated in their ‘Leaders for a Day’ event, an initiative which offers students a chance to shadow a senior leader during one working day.
The event took place in October with Damien Bourgeois (Head of CRM and Customer Intelligence at AXA Belgium). He invited Anastasia Schoinochoriti (a student from Junior Achievement’s network from Greece) to join him for the day.
We asked them why this project was so important to them and what they’ve learnt.
The student perspective: Anastasia Schoinochoriti
“Before coming to AXA, I expected it to just be an ordinary day at work, but in fact my experience was extraordinary.
It was great to shadow a leader and even greater to shadow such an inspirational man as Damien Bourgeois. I am quite a social person, so luckily I didn't feel embarrassed at all.
Although I study medicine, I’m really passionate about the marketing and publicity sector. Ι was the CEO of my enterprise for the Junior Achievement Company Program, and it was really interesting to see how this related to a real life situation.
I had lots of meetings with colleagues, discussions and idea sessions, and Damien encouraged me to ask if I had questions about the kind of work he does. The best part of the day was when we were having dinner together. He discussed with me about his childhood dreams. It was interesting to see how the perception of a child, of an adolescent has changed over time when thinking about professional life.
Damien taught me two important things; passion and perseverance. His work is a passion for him and he always perseveres; he never gives up when he has set himself a goal. I want to be the same going forwards.
Having been part of this experience from Junior Achievement, I can honestly say that I have broadened my horizons and gained knowledge, skills, competencies and the right mind-set for the future. My dream is still to become a doctor, but since I believe I was born to be a leader, I’m really keen on participating in programs within the business sector.
I really would recommend the program to other students.
My advice: Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!”
The leader’s view: Damien Bourgeois
“It was wonderful to meet with Anastasia. She was so professional and straight to the point, with clear and meaningful questions for me and for all the people we met along the way.
Even if her area of studies is far from marketing, she involved herself right from the start in order to understand the purpose of our meetings. She was really able to invest herself in the understanding of the relationships involved and I was impressed by her capability to be focused and articulate her understanding of my role.
If we’d been given even more time, I think we’d have been able to delve deeper into the details and the story of the company. But on the other hand the spontaneous “unprepared” aspect of the day was really fantastic and led to very straight-talking and informal exchanges.
I strongly recommend any leader to be part of such experience. It gives you a fresh perspective and hope about the potential of all the young talented people.”
 By International labour Organization