On the afternoon of Monday, December 5th, 2016, WIL Europe was honored to be welcomed at the French Representation to the EU in Brussels, for a very high quality networking cocktail with Ann Mettler, Head of European Political Strategy Centre at European Commission.
As the discussion was meant to be informal and warm, in order to foster shares of experiences and exchanges between Ann Mettler and a restricted number of 30 WIL members and WTP Alumni.
François Riégert, Minister-Counsellor, Head of the economic service at the French Representation to the EU in Brussels, opened the evening networking cocktail with few words welcoming to the guests and the talents. He expressed his satisfaction to witness major changes in terms of gender parity in EU institutions in the recent years.
Pinuccia Contino, Head of the Unit “Communication and Strategic Planning” of DG Justice and Consumers and Paulina Dejmek-Hack, Member of Cabinet of J. C. Juncker, as WIL Board Members, introduced the keynote speaker of the evening Ann Mettler to the guests, and emphasized her resilience through the tortuous path toward leadership.
Ann Mettler then took the stage to reflect with the audience on her inspiring path through the European Institutions, entrepreneurship and think tank. Sharing her successes, but also her doubts and difficulties on her way to leadership, she gave a wonderful testimonial of resilience, and a tremendous example that authenticity, passion and hardwork can overcome any barriers. She acknowledged that the path toward leadership is not always easy, but “find a job you’re keen about, and it will worth it”. Either way, she advised women to dare: to dare having great ambitions, and to dare to pursue them. Stepping out of their comfort zone is also risking failure, but that shall not prevent them from trying again, and succeed. “I have not always succeeded, I had major failure too. But I’ve always tried, as hard as I could. And that I can be proud of.”
As a manager, she strongly believes in meritocracy, and values soft skills (human qualities, motivation and eagerness to learn) as equally important than competencies in her employees. It is then up to the manager to bring out the best of people.
Talking about her experience in entrepreneurship (as the co-founder of The Lisbon Council, a Brussels-based knowledge economy think tank and innovation policy network) she encouraged any woman, and especially working moms, to try this experience. Being her own boss not only makes you the sole responsible of your success, it also gives more flexibility to adjust working hours with family life requirements.Ann Mettler closed the session by giving precious pieces of advices to the Talents : Being authentic : be yourself and do not try to be a man, make yourself indispensable to your boss, and bring passion to everything you achieve.