AIESEC is known for its values like: demonstrating integrity, living diversity, striving for excellence, and more. In this blog article, we present to you someone who is a great representation of these values with an entrepreneurial mindset. Our guest was the AIESEC international Director for MEA ( Middle East & Africa) 17/18 and MCP (National President) Tunisia 16/17
I bet you want to know all about this amazing person and how she reached one of the highest roles in AIESEC…
Without any further due, let’s find out what our guest has to say about her unique journey; making it to one of the highest roles in AIESEC.
Hi Ines, our readers are excited to know more about you! What could you tell us about yourself?
“Hi, thanks for having me and for that amazing introduction!
My name is Ines Agrebi. I’m originally from Tunisia. I love arts, mainly music. My interests include public policies related-topics, culture, self-development/human behaviour, and innovation. I currently work at one of AIESEC’s global partners – DPDHL Group – as a part of the marketing team. I also host a podcast in my free time; it’s called “my generation with Ines”.
Why and how did you join AIESEC?
The triggering event happened in 2011 when I was 16 years old. I was still in high school back then. I participated in an English course organized by an AIESEC local chapter. It was facilitated by two exchange participants: one was from India and the other from Mexico.
They sparked curiosity within me. I remember the Indian Trainee sharing her story of how she left her Job to come to Tunisia and volunteer.
I was amazed why one would do that. Not to mention that 2011 was the year where the revolution happened in Tunisia. Thus, igniting the Arab spring.
I loved the cultural exchange we had along with the international aspect of the organization. After that experience, I was determined to join AIESEC.
Once I finished high school and joined the university my journey with AIESEC began.
It was october 2013, the day I joined AIESEC.
Could you walk us through your leadership experience in AIESEC and what were your main learnings along the way?
“I started like everybody else, as a newbie in LC Bardo, Tunisia.
I was in the sales department. I enjoyed working with external stakeholders.
I remember the very first meeting with a potential partner, the business cards, the professional emails I learned to write, the proposals I edited. The learning curve was exponential.
Moreover, I loved my LC (Local Committee) so I decided to apply for LCVP(Local Vice President)role. Funnily enough, I remember being hesitant back then. But eventually, I applied and got selected.
It was my first leadership role in the organization. I was leading a team of 14 curious and driven AIESECers.
Along the way, there were hurdles, and I had to surpass them.
One big challenge was managing both studies and the Vice president responsibilities.
As a team, we managed to over achieve our income target with a lot of learning.
The beauty of this organization is that we learn by doing.
The year after I applied for National VP for Business Development.
I’ve got the chance to experience International congress India 2015. It was a big turning point in my journey, as I witnessed the real diversity with 800+ delegates under one roof from 120+ countries and territories.
That conference had a big impact on me. It definitely contributed to my decision making to run for presidency in a way or another.
At the age of 21, I got elected as the first female president of AIESEC in Tunisia. Leading an entity with more than 800 members was not evident nor an easy task. The experience was THE most transformative of all the ones I had.
I’ve had my down moments, but what kept me going was the vision I had for the entity back then.
I think it is important to apply for roles while having a strong “why” (reasons) that are bigger than oneself. Why? So that we can immerse ourselves in the experience, feel fulfilled by what we do, serve at our best, and represent our entity well.
The fact that I was the only person who represented the entity in the global plenary, taught me a lot about responsibility and ownership.
There were 800 members back home who put their trust in me to portray a great image that our country and entity deserve.
My MC IFRIQIYA (national team, Tunisia) and the leadership body played a crucial role to the term’s success. In addition to that, it was a challenge for me that contributed to my growth.
I was selected for the AIESEC international team as Director for Middle East and Africa. When I joined AIESEC, I never thought I would go that far.
It was definitely a highlight year.
“Never take diversity for granted” is one of my main takeaways. We were 24 individuals from 16 nationalities. This reflects different cultures, unconscious biases, native languages, etc.
It definitely made a drastic change on how I approached the notion of the meaning of a different perspective.
On another note, leading the MEA(Middle East & Africa) region taught me a lot about resilience and how to accept challenges with grace. I’ve learned the“so what now what attitude”.
AIESEC is a fast paced environment, as we deliver many projects and conferences in a short time. It leaves no room for rumination and “ what ifs” but rather a solution orientation mindset.
I also learned a lot about the importance of representation during that year. The importance of voicing the challenges of a region and making sure it is being heard. Ironically, everyone now is working online due to the pandemic but back then, since I was most of the time doing visits in different country offices across the MEA(Middle East & Africa) region, I remember attending many meetings online with my team back in rotterdam.
My last and most rewarding experience in that journey was when I came back home and delivered THE last project with AIESEC which was CCP of the International presidents meeting Tunisia 2019. I led the GRINTA team to host all MCPs (national presidents). It was a race against the clock and a final countdown to do something I love which is showcasing my culture to the world. I Learned that the will of a group of people is, indeed, unstoppable. When I think about how we managed to make it a successful profitable event in such a short time of work – less than 5 months – I can only be grateful to the passionate, relentless team I had!
If you were to sum up your learnings from your AIESEC journey in 3 sentences, what would you say?
Humm, I remember one MCP (national president) lead session from IC (International Congress) Poland 2016 where the faci played a video of a school principal speaking of her leadership journey. One of the slogans she mentioned was:
“If you are going to lead, lead.” Leadership takes courage, being vulnerable at times, determined at others, questioning oneself if we took the right decisions and a lot of listening. Yet, taking ownership of our responsibility, learning and improving on the way is the key to growth from what I have experienced.
How would you advise an aspiring AIESECer to become an AIESEC international member?
When people ask me that question, I always say do not think of it that way nor ahead of its time. Immerse yourself in every single experience you live by always striving to stay curious, do the right thing, hold yourself accountable, and take responsibility for your actions. When the right time comes, know if you have something more to add to the table or it is time to leave. I always believed that it is important to put the organization first while having personal drivers of growth and challenging ourselves to see what is beyond our own limitations and fears. It is easier said than done. I am also still learning that till this day. It is important to always keep that inner growth journey going.
Ines had climbed all her way up to AIESEC International. That’s an inspiring journey and story. It was only possible for her by taking the initiative to become a member.
Are you ready to write your own unique story like Ines did? Then apply today and become a member!