Author: Anastasiia Yakovenko

The CEE Her Workshop, held on July 10 and 11 at GLOBSEC in Bratislava, Slovakia, gathered young women professionals from different CEE countries and industries to celebrate women’s leadership.

During the workshop, they had an opportunity to meet with several accomplished women of Slovakia from both the public and private sectors and learn about their stories, the challenges faced on their career paths, and strategies to overcome them.

The first day of the event featured two incredible guest speakers – Martina Slabejová, Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia with extensive experience working for Microsoft, and Petra Kotuliakova, Founder of Aj Ty v IT, a company created to support young women in pursuing careers in informatics and technology. The leadership discussion was kindly moderated by Orsolya Ráczová, Director of the Centre for Global Europe of GLOBSEC.

The women actively engaged in the discussion about the true meaning of female leadership. It was highlighted that women often struggle to find enough self-confidence, which sometimes impedes them on their way to success. They emphasized the importance of supporting and empowering each other, especially in traditionally male-dominated fields.

All participants agreed that change in the political culture is required for women to feel comfortable where they belong. An important step is to make the discussion about changes inclusive, encouraging men to take part in creating equal opportunities for all genders.

After a motivating interaction, participants engaged in a more reserved conversation moderated by Vladislava Gubalova, Senior Fellow at GLOBSEC’s Centre for Global Europe, where they shared their views on what constitutes leadership. Some expressed the belief that leadership is about building bridges between people and helping them discover their inner selves. For others, it is an ability to start difficult conversations and an instrument to make a positive change.

The fruitful exchange was followed by a dinner, joined by two more inspiring speakers – Denisa Frelichová, Head of the Directorate of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, and Veronika Hudzíková, CEO of FaceRehub, a startup set up to assist with rehabilitation therapy for face palsy patients. At first glance, they represent two very diverse fields; however, the challenges encountered on their paths turned out very similar.

Speakers highlighted the need to help women recognize and unleash their potential while growing their self-confidence.

You should stand up for your interests, learn how to use your tools, and achieve a better result,” – Denisa Frelichová concluded the dinner.

The second day of the workshop focused on developing more practical skills. Participants attended a training session facilitated by Martin Poliačik and Jacub Kobela from the Critical Thinking Academy aimed to enhance their critical thinking and analytical skills. Like the previous CEE Her Workshop edition, the training session provided the participants with an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience.

The two-day workshop aimed to provide the group of outstanding women from the region space for networking, exchanging experiences and getting inspired by exceptional speakers.