Name: Helena Gabaldon
University and Study Focus: Leiden University College - Governance Economics and Development
Nationality: Belgian & Spanish
What motivated you to be a part of WIL?
I joined WIL to be part of the young, talented and passion-driven community that WIL represents. I became a WIL member to be able to promote gender equality, personal and professional growth in our community which also pushed me to join the Innovation team to help the workshops and events organisation.
What is a question (academic, personal, social, etc.) that you are currently trying to answer?
I am currently trying to learn how to overcome perfectionism which has had quite significant impacts on both my personal and academic life.
What has been one of the most impactful experiences in your life?
Being part of WIL has definitely been one of the most important experiences in my life. Every event gives me the opportunity to grow both on a professional and on a personal level, allows me to learn something new and discover different perspectives on the world surrounding us. Honestly, I never left a WIL event being disappointed. Discussing and thinking about themes such as passion, mindsets, growth is not something I would have the chance to do otherwise, which is also why I also love the way WIL events and interactions challenge me. Finally, becoming a WIL member also allowed me to meet incredibly talented, smart and passionate people which I am lucky now to count as my close friends. So for all these reasons I can definitely say that being part of WIL is one of the most impactful experiences in my life.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I used to, and still plan everything in advance, project myself in the future, have everything clear and settled in my head, but for the past year, I actually learned that life is full of surprises and unplanned events that have the power to mess up this plan I had and put you in positions you had never expected. So, when someone asks me what are your plan for the next year or even where do you see yourself in 10 years, the answer is simple: I do not know. For now, I try to focus on every day and go with the flow. I do of course hope that in 10 years I’ll be doing a job I love, be happy, be proud of what I accomplished, but those are the expectations of most of us.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
I can say that I have always been driven by this french proverb: “qui ne tente rien n’a rien” (in English: nothing ventured, nothing gained). This expression illustrates pretty well the philosophy my father inculcated me since I was a kid. It always pushed me to go beyond my limits, try something new whilst not being afraid of failing or losing something on the way; cause at the end of the day it is better to go for it than to not try it and miss a unique opportunity.
What is one way you would like to help or offer support for other WIL members?
I am currently part of the Innovation team, so I would love to help anyone wanting to join the team and organise events with us. Becoming part of the programme team might seem quite challenging, at least it was for me, but thanks to the amazing team we have, support and help are always offered. So I definitely encourage new members to join the Innovation Team and guide them to organise events. Apart from that, I am always available for answering questions on WIL or having a chat, so don’t hesitate to contact me!