Looking back and forth, thinking it through from Earth all the way to Mars and back, head-wrecking issues that HR and any organization face have their weakness with the right leadership of those that are given the privilege of managing other people. So many issues would never have materialised only if the manager knows and lives leadership. Although leadership is no longer a secret ingredient (it’s probably the most talked about thing of the century among any organization), a lot of the managers only know but don’t really live and practice leadership as it is supposed to.
Ok, leadership isn’t just a rigid list of items in a recipe; no matter how much it has been talked about, it’s still a very abstract concept. Interpretation of what resonates good leadership are subjective and isn’t mathematical. However, I’ve been taught to believe that the fundamentals of leadership can still be drawn out, in a sense wide enough to umbrella all of those subjectively different interpretation. Just as AIESEC has collectively put it:
Leadership is about knowing oneself in relations to other people, about empowering others, and about being part of the solutions by upholding, breathing in & out responsible and optimistic attitudes towards creating solutions for surrounding problems.
Taking the contexts of how ones are authorised and privileged to manage and supposedly lead others, leadership would clearly make a difference. Strong leadership at all hierarchical levels almost mean a lot of HR-driven processes become obsolete, because then HR need not constantly be a law-maker and a policeman to introduce and remind people of people-related processes and take not so popular actions to ensure compliance. Those processes would exist in their best natural forms – the managers/leaders take the best care of their employees, which would results in high retention, engagement, motivated and empowered workforce, and thus high performing organization – a utopia that every entity dreams of.
My take on this, as an early HR professional, as well as a member/alumni of AIESEC, a specialist organization in leadership, is that: leadership and people managerial responsibility isn’t something that employers might as well as give away, to any Tom, Dick and Harry, and definitely something cheap. Impactful things, potentially giving high returns, are expensive. Organizations should be ready to invest in vigorous processes to develop someone from the inside or head-hunt external talents to take on leadership positions and to pay competent leaders/managers the money that they deserve, because their ability will collectively turn around the effectiveness of their workforce and the profitability of their business.
July 1st, 2013: MCP, MC, Conferences, ICs, IPMs,…. are all now in the past. The past 4 years was more than just a responsibility; it was a privilege. I thought I was someone outstanding until I joined AIESEC and saw how big the world really is and how small I actually was. It was that realization that keeps pushing me to strive to be always better.
I am so thankful for everything and everyone that has crossed my path over the years. Thanks for making me a better person, for allowing me to finally have done something that I am and will always be proud of! Thanks for the opportunities, for the passion, for the network, and for all the wonderful things that have happened to me. I really have lived a really great university life. :’)
As I’m opening a new chapter, my wish for this amazing organization is for it to endlessly advance, continuing to enable more and more young Cambodians to live the experience as great or even greater than the one I had the privilege to live.
So that was something I reflected on, as I was closing my AIESEC experience. Via this post, I would like to paint a clearer picture of how my whole AIESEC experience looked like. Of course, this is no detailed account of everything that happened and that I got to experience through AIESEC, because that would be endless; it’s just a recap of the major things I did.
A friend of mine, Chetra, told me about a group of Europeans coming to PUC to promote a leadership and international experience opportunity. And I submitted my application.
Jan 10, 2009
Having joined the Leadership Tournament (the AIESEC Assessment Centre) and been selected as one of the five people, I was officially the Local Committee President of the first AIESEC local chapter in Cambodia – AIESEC Phnom Penh.
March – August, 2009
Following a series of training and induction activities by the founding team from AIESEC UK, from March until August 2009, my team and I worked mainly to recruit and induct new members in our local committee, as well as helping to expand AIESEC into other universities including Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Institute of Foreign Languages, University of Puthisastra, National University of Management, and Royal University of Laws and Economics.
Because of a scholarship to study in Europe for one year, I made the decision to leave my responsibility in AIESEC behind. Studying abroad was then a dream that I could not throw away.
I joined my first AIESEC conference in Siem Reap (it was then called, AIESEC Cambodia Summer Conference 2010), and I met so many new faces. Though feeling somehow disconnected from the organization and from the new people in the organization, I was really intrigued by the idea of being on the national board of AIESEC Cambodia, just as my friends – Chetra (my LCVP TM) and Tong (the first LCP of AIESEC IFL). I was inspired.
January 2011 Following the decision, I submitted my MCVP application and went, for the first time, to facilitate an AIESEC conference (National Congress 2011). By the end of the conference, I got the news, being selected as an MC manager of TM, which was upgraded to be the MCVP TM & OGX.
March 2011 I made an investment and joined my first-ever AIESEC international conference – Asia Pacific Exchange and Leadership Development Seminar 2011 in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. What a great and eye-opening experience.
June 10, 2011 My term as an MCVP TM & OGX officially started, in a team of 6 people, from 4 different countries – Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand.
August 2011 AIESEC International Congress 2011, Nairobi, Kenya: It was one of the biggest conferences I have ever attended, with more than 600 delegates from more than 100 countries, and also my very first time in a new continent, Africa. It was a surreal experience.
January 07, 2012
Following an extremely difficult decision, I finally had the gut to apply to the first Cambodia president of AIESEC Cambodia. I was officially elected on January 7, 2012, to lead AIESEC Cambodia Session 2012-2013.
AIESEC International President Meeting (IPM) is probably the most prestigious annual conference of the organization, where only presidents and president elects are the delegates. It was my absolute honor to join, and IPM 2012 in Hungary was probably the best AIESEC conference I have ever attended. And for the first time, AIESEC Cambodia became the full member of AIESEC International.
July 01, 2012
My term as MCP of AIESEC Cambodia finally started. I had 7 amazing individuals to work alongside me.
August 2012 Following a lot of hard work and strong commitment to responsible leadership, AIESEC Cambodia was awarded the UBS Regional Excellence Award for Asia Pacific 2012, at the AIESEC International Congress 2012, Moscow, Russia. It was my absolute honor to accept this award on everyone’s behalf.
I was invited by a good and kind-hearted MCP friend to chair a national conference of about 200 members in Taiwan. It was a great learning and I felt really touched and inspired.
After such a long struggle, I finally found my successor – an amazing and brave young lady from AIESEC Indonesia. But unfortunately because of the visa issue, she didn’t manage to make it to IPM 2013 in Serbia.
It was my first time, facilitating an AIESEC international conference (SEA Congress). It was another great experience, an amazing one to bring my AIESEC experience to a close.
June 30, 2013
My AIESEC journey came to an official end. What a wonderful experience! We all made it through a lot of ups and downs and it all ended with nostalgia and a certain sense of achievements.
After more than half a year, I made the decision to quit my job and to go for an exchange (something I have always wanted to do) and I started applying. And just recently, I got the news about a job offer at the Electrolux office in Singapore. I’m finally matched and going on the program that I was working so hard to enable for other Cambodians. Hopefully, things will go well for my visa application and I can actually realize my exchange.
Now that I got an opportunity to write more about my travelling experience, I would like to share with you all a very beautiful trip I had in October this year, in a very beautiful country, Taiwan. It was definitely a very heart-touching experience, not because I went to do so many adventurous things, at super amazing places with breathtaking landscapes; it was because of so many little things combined together – the food, the weather, that activities that I did, the little places that I visited and of course the people and friends. Everything put together to make up a very beautiful experience that has gotten me to always have something nice to say about Taiwan.
As part of AIESEC and the president of AIESEC in Cambodia, I was offered the privilege by one of my president friends to chair one of the national conferences of AIESEC Taiwan. Peggy, the president of AIESEC in Taiwan gave me the trust to help empower about 200 of her members, which was kinda of overwhelming at first without any experience chairing or even facilitating an AIESEC conference abroad. After giving me some time, I accepted the offer. (It would be plain stupid to reject it).
So that’s how I got to step feet on the Taiwanese land with minimal cost. 🙂
On the evening of October 17, after such a tedious process of applying for a Taiwanese visa from an office in Ho Chi Minh, I finally got in a hand my passport with the visa. (The process was with a lot of uncertainty and for a few weeks since I started the application, I was never sure of actually getting it.) But fortunately I did receive the visa just one night before my flight to Taiwan. On the morning of Oct 18, I went to the Phnom Penh International Airport and board the Cathy Pacific Airline to Hong Kong and to Taiwan. (It was actually about 2 years since I lasted went abroad through this airport. So it was really excited!)
Condolences to our late King Father
The journey was very long, as it doesn’t involve long hours bus ride like what I had to through in 4 or 5 trips before this one. It took me less than three hours to reach Hong Kong, less than an hour to wait for a connecting flight, and a bit more than an hour to reach Taiwan from HK.
Then I was in Taiwan, the country that I had heard so much about, from many of friends that have been there, from quite a few movies that I watched when I was a kid, and from so many other sources. The weather was quite cool, which was really cool. It was even more awesome when I had 2 beautiful ladies and another president friend (President of AIESEC Malaysia) sitting at the waiting area to greet me. 🙂
Oh before that, I was a bit delay at the immigration office, not because I was stopped. Basically, I had to fill in an immigration form and one of things to fill was the address of my stay in Taipei. I didn’t have it printed out, didn’t write it down anywhere, so I had to check my email. I was going around to find free-wifi and although it was difficult but I found it. I managed to check my email but then the address was written in Chinese (traditional Chinese) 😀 I had no choice but to bring my phone to the immigration check lady and she willingly helped me fill it in. It was not so difficult afterwards.
So that’s how I got to Taiwan. In later posts, you’ll find out more about specific experiences I had there.