From Cluj-Napoca (Romania) to Brussels, from the private to the public sector, the talented and dynamic Raluca Anghel, one of the participants of our Women Talent Pool program, seems on track for a promising European career.
After starting her professional journey at AIESEC, a youth-run international organization, she occupied several positions at Microsoft (in Brussels) in the field of corporate and political communication, as well as EU policy. In 2015, she became Head of Office at the European Parliament for the Romanian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Emilian Pavel.
If you ever wondered what it means to work for a Member of the European Parliament and to shift from the private to the public sector, then it is time read our interview!
The city of Brussels is a desirable location for young Europeans searching for job opportunities in Belgium's European hub. Yourself, how did you land in Brussels? What attracted you to the European Affairs?
I came to Brussels to work for Microsoft through the AIESEC international internships programme. I actually studied a combination of European affairs, law, management and marketing, so as soon as I saw this position at Microsoft in the Legal and Corporate Affairs team, I felt it would be a great choice. It combined some of my greatest interests: technology, CSR and entrepreneurship, communication and EU affairs.
Learning how to work with the EU institutions and the EU legislation process on behalf of the private sector was a fantastic opportunity. The private sector is largely impacted by various EU policies, so contributing to this process is extremely valuable. Added to that, the private sector, with its various resources and expertise, can be a fantastic partner and can help implement the EU Agenda. I therefore loved working on behalf of Microsoft, on issues like entrepreneurship, innovation, education and training, and partnering with various organisations and institutions.
Since 2015, you are Head of Office of a Member of the European Parliament, probably the first dream-job of many young Europeans. Can you tell us more about what it means to work for a Member of the European Parliament?
As the Head of Office of a Member of the European Parliament from Romania, I am in a very fortunate position to be part of the EU legislation process and have a positive impact in areas I am very interested in. I work and advise on EU policy making, I manage the team in Brussels, as well as our local teams in various cities in Romania, I lead the image building and political communication, including PR, as well as run projects and events both in the European Parliament and in Romania. The Member of the European Parliament is part of the “Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs” and “Employment and Social Affairs” committees, and most of our projects touch upon related topics to his work in these committees. No day is the same, our work is extremely fast paced and requires a proficient level of multitasking and attention to details :-).
The digital transition fosters creativity and innovation, so it’s the best tool for anything any woman might want to do!
You worked in the Private, Public and Non–Profit sectors. What do you think you have gained from this diverse background? What did you enjoy about working in each of those fields?
I have been really fortunate to work in all these different sectors. I have firstly learnt that I can always bring a contribution to the areas I care for, and I can do that from different perspectives. I also learnt how various organisations work, as well as how to manage people in these organisations and apply different leadership styles.
Working in the non-profit sector, I enjoyed giving back to the community, I loved interacting with extremely passionate and motivated people, but I especially appreciated learning how to do my job with limited resources.
Within the private sector, I really enjoyed learning - as I was part of a very dynamic company, I learnt new things every day. I had the chance to improve my management, communication, “intrapreneurial” skills and expertise, and interacted with so many brilliant people. But most importantly I also saw the positive impact that a large company can have on the society and I really enjoyed being part of their projects.
As for the public sector, I really love being part of the policy making. As I have worked in the private and NGO sector, I know how important it is to develop policies that are anchored in reality and support the true development of the economy and society.
Women must help other women, so coaching, mentoring, sponsoring are crucial.
In your wrap-up at a WIL EU Breakfast Debate, you mentioned that in an increasingly digitalized world, women’s tech-literacy is becoming a key challenge for the future. How do you think women can increase their participation in STEM and be part of the digital transition?
I am very passionate about this topic. I think a mind shift is required and the entire society needs to be involved in a raising awareness campaign about STEM studies and professions being gender-neutral. Women also need to have role-models and see what brilliant careers other women have had in this sector. Women must help other women, so coaching, mentoring, sponsoring are crucial - which can be done either in the context of their work, or through a volunteering programme that they could be part of or even set up.
At school, from an early age, girls need to be given the same chances as boys and be tutored to truly believe that they can become anything they want. Stereotypes must be avoided starting from school!
More than that, the digital revolution also brings a lot of flexibility, which is something that women (but not only!) can make the most of, so they just need to embrace it, learn how to make it work in their favour and demand their rights. The digital transition fosters creativity and innovation, so it’s the best tool for anything any woman might want to do!
You also believe that another major challenge is Global Warming, and that it can only be addressed through international cooperation. As an expert on innovation and environmental sustainability, do you think the EU can coordinate a solution for climate change and that it could be driven by innovation?
Innovation and technology are definitely key to fighting global warming. In times when the idea of climate change is challenged (sigh...), I definitely think the EU must and does take a leadership role in setting an example of how to combat it and reverse it. But the EU needs a lot of partners, not only other states but also various industries that can provide technologically innovative ways to tackle global warming.