By Arturo Medina Merino
Chair of Young Professionals Spain Affinity Group

Young Professionals Spain presents its “IEEE Inspiring Leaders” activity at IEEE Day 2019

During the past weekend of October 11 to 13, the city of Valencia hosted the celebration of the traditional IEEE Day in its 2019 edition. However, this year this celebration had an even more special character, given that it was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of Region 8, that is, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Therefore, we had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the international spirit of IEEE, sharing venue and experiences with members from South Africa to Sweden.

Owing to this, a special atmosphere was continuously perceived during the meeting, because not every day one has the opportunity to attend in first person the internal, complex but enormously interesting operation of a meeting of such a high level.

From Young Professionals Spain we wanted to capture the unique spirit of the occasion, looking for an activity that really did justice to the event. For this purpose, we wanted to give visibility to the energy of the key members of IEEE, which through their continuous efforts make possible the work of this institution; they are the leaders of IEEE, and they have the power to inspire both future generations and current members to continue their work in the organization, pushing it to achieve its goals and carry out its mission.

That is why we created the IEEE Inspiring Leaders event. For it, we had the valuable collaboration of 5 IEEE leaders:

The IEEE Inspiring Leaders participants were distinguished leaders from all R8.

Through a round table format we seek to approach them, knowing what their motivations are, their interests, their way of working, their source of inspiration. In short, through these questions we seek to know both the what and the how and, above all, the why for their immeasurable value for IEEE.

Four were the sections in which the questions were divided, each of which sought to approach an aspect of the work of our participants:

  • Inspiring Leadership.
  • Your relationship with IEEE.
  • IEEE as a volunteering activity.
  • The future of technology.

In the first section we met the different professional profiles of the collaborators, being able to witness the enormous variety of roles and tasks that can be performed in all engineering fields. Despite this diversity, everyone agreed on the main skills that an engineer must have, beyond their technical background, highlighting above all the capacity for collaboration and communication with people from different disciplines.

In the second section we delve into the role that different members play within IEEE, and how they have reached this point. Most of them started as students, which highlights a fact that must always be kept in mind: the present, past and, above all, IEEE’s future begins with the student members. It is essential to take care of them and keep them active and motivated.

From right to left, the roundtable members were: Mona Ghassemian, Ana Cigarán, Maike Luiken, Péter Nágy and George Michael, accompanied by the moderator, Arturo Medina.

Also in this section, the idea of ​​how IEEE can benefit its members on a professional and personal level was reiterated. Of course, in all cases IEEE has had an undeniable impact on the lives of our IEEE leaders, as this acronym is already an indelible part of their career.

Moving on to the third section, in which unfortunately we had to start reducing the number of questions, as time was pressing, we investigated how our participants organize their lives to achieve professional success and at IEEE. Some ideas that were frequently mentioned were the need to have enough rest time dedicated to oneself, which requires having a clear organization and keeping in mind at all times what tasks you have to do in the short and medium term.

Finally, we wanted to ask more open questions in the last section, seeking to know what they expect from the future. Key technologies such as renewable energy and its distribution, or more daring ones such as teleportation were discussed, as well as the great challenges of humanity, such as the elimination of plastics in our oceans.

Finally, we wanted to ask the participants about what motivates them to move forward. In this sense, never stop enjoying what we do was an idea that arose, and to which we all agreed, as well as the self-imposed need to devote time to our personal development beyond our work.

Unfortunately, time was running out and we could not continue to enjoy the ideas of our speakers, which we could have been listening to and discussing for hours, given their great experience and, of course, their charismatic personality. It was a pleasure to have members so distinguished and yet so close. They showed us once again how IEEE is a community that not only has members of a very high technical level, but also has an open and charming people, always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needs help or advice.

We hope that this energy has served to inspire us all to continue our work at IEEE, and not let that spirit of effort and solidarity ever die.