Some victories you can only win as a team
Teamwork is not fun for everyone, because it forces you to let go of your ego. But when you achieve a dream fighting with a team, it doesn't matter who gets the credit.
At only 19, Tudor-Alexandru Panait runs his own digital marketing agency and seems the person capable of many individual achievements. On the social front, however, he believes partnership is the key to reach significant results. And over the past three years, he has learned that teamwork is also about pursuing a specific set of rules.
A decisive episode in Tudor's development was his involvement in a project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), through the Minister-delegate for European Affairs, and UNICEF in Romania, where he was Romania's Junior Ambassador to the EU. "I learned how important it is to focus on what we can achieve together, not just on what we each bring to a partnership. We exaggerate our contribution, anyway. Everyone brings diverse resources in a relationship, not just labour, funds, or knowledge. In a group, someone can be important by the atmosphere they create."
Tudor was also part of the Children's Board in 2019, a UNICEF project in Romania to encourage the involvement and observance of children's rights, referenced in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The experience reinforced his idea that civic and lobbying activities go hand in hand. "We all had a strong goal we believed in. If they selected us to the board, we had the right qualities, and they would prove useful in due course. What mattered then was our consideration for UNICEF. Regardless of how great we thought we were as individuals; we knew we were part of an elite organization and aware the team’s success would be rewarding to each of us."
The drafting of the Bucharest EU Children’s Declaration was a key project to fine tune collaborative skills. This was a unique document in which children asked European leaders to consult and involve them in decisions affecting their future. "I don't know when I will have an opportunity to contribute to writing a document that presidents, ministers and other officials would read. I learned how to present my ideas, summarize them, make them catchy and make my point."
How important is the age of the one delivering a message? To answer this question, Tudor quotes a board colleague: no adult is too tall for a child's words to reach his ears. "I know that, during communism, the mindset was that parents had the first and last word. Still, few parents ask their children what they want. They think they are too young; they don't know, they don't deserve to express an opinion. But often if you listen to a child, the quality of what they have to say can surprise you."
To express yourself, it often takes a little nudge and some support. "I used to feel ashamed, until three or four years ago, even to call the waiter at the restaurant and ask for the bill. After this project with UNICEF, I ended up speaking on TV or radio. It helped me get out of my comfort zone. The Children's Board showed me what it is possible when we believe in something, we are determined and have people who believe in us."
For the future, Tudor believes in the power of taking charge and the wonders that come from hard work and the ability to make sacrifices. "I notice we compare ourselves a lot, we see other people’s mistakes, we expect things from others. But if we would only look in the mirror to see how we can become better, what we can do for a change for the better, maybe things would be different. I understand that change doesn't happen with the snap of your fingers, but with sweat and sacrifice. If we each become better, maybe in time we will have different leaders."