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My first contact with an international environment happened when I was about 6 years old. My dad was a delegate for the Portuguese Federation of Motorcycling and my mom and I traveled with him across the country for “nationals”. Once a year we went to Águeda (beautiful city in Aveiro) for the “year event” - the Portugal Motocross Grand Prix. Believe me. In the 80’s this was the event! Not only for motorcycling fans but also for the country itself. And for a few years it was my favorite time of the year!
I was just a small girl but this event was huge for me. We had to go there a few days before for all preparations and for me that meant “vacations”. Party time! We used to stay in a small motel - near the arena - that had a disco and where I was a super star - apart from my 6 years old… Everyone knew us there and we were treated as the royal family! One of the things I remember best is breakfast. A lot of teams stayed in the same motel so at breakfast the international environment was something you could see and hear. People dressed their “team” jackets and everyone was talking funny. I pretended that I knew all those languages and translated them. Everyone “played” along… lol
When we got to the motocross track I was always very excited and I loved to see all the country flags moving in the wind. The paddock was full of gigantic trucks, very colorful and I still don’t know what but there was something there that made feel good. It made me feel I belong there somehow. In the 80’s all GP (Grand Prix) teams were all ready using advanced marketing and pub techniques and Portugal was 100 years behind. So all that “show” had a tremendous impact on Portuguese people. We were very impressed with every single thing! And I… Well I… I was just dazzled!
David Strijbos (Dutch) wan that GP and gave my dad his race shirt. My dad gave it to me. A huge, yellow and sweaty shirt that I kept for so many years (cleaned of course). I believe that that was the moment when I fell in love with winners! For what they accomplished, for what they could accomplish and for what it meant. Winning just became my live goal. It doesn’t matter in what but it’s that possibility that keeps my blood running! It’s what really makes me feel alive.
More than 20 years after I joined BMS - a multinational company. Once again the international environment came in to my life. And it felt great. Comfortable. I guess it made me go back all those years. Last week I joined my team (EU Markets Executive Assistants) in Paris and I had a flashback. Different languages, different countries and different cultures. Of course this time I didn’t pretend I knew what they were talking about in their native languages and translated it to Portuguese - as when I was 6. But now that I’m “supposed” to be a grown up I have a completely different point of view...
We are different in so many ways but so similar in so many others. We are all women. We all work hard. We all are doters, aunts, mothers, friends, etc… We all go to work every morning, we face traffic (some in high heels) and we all work against the clock. We all get very tired at the end of the day. We all have fears but we all have hope. We all have thoughts and we all have ambitions. We all have problems and we all work on solutions. We all have dreams. We all have good and bad days. We all succeed and we all sometimes fail. We all want something better. We all overcome our expectations and we all have a special talent… Are we really different? Yes. And no. After all we’re just people… But amazing people!
Thank you Pauline, Catherine, Alexandra, Susanne, Dana, Ursula, Ann-Jeanette, Sharina, Mariann, Petia and Marlgorzata for two wonderful days of experience exchange and learning!
This post is in English as a small tribute to this amazing Ladies.
Next week I’ll be back in Portuguese…