A short interview

In this interview, Bianka Restás, Project Coordinator of the Young Leaders' Forum (YLF), explains why she thinks YLF is an outstanding opportunity for young, talented experts.

RB.jpgThe Young Leaders’ Forum is a side event of the think.BDPST conference that gathers young professionals from the V4 countries, the CE region, and the EU, active in the field of innovation, and provides them a platform where new innovative initiatives and ideas can be shared to implement new, innovative solutions and inventions.

The main purpose of YLF is to foster a lively dialogue and create a network among young innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, PhD researchers, policy experts, and young professionals working at companies that are investing in innovative projects. During the four-day event, participants have the opportunity to exchange best practices, experience, ideas, and knowledge, and improve their skills through participating in panel discussions, seminars, workshops, and face-to-face/small group consultations. In parallel, YLF allows these young professionals to improve their leadership potential and learn new skills that will make them more competitive in their fields of expertise.

I believe that YLF is a unique opportunity for participants to grow professionally and personally, listen to outstanding experts, and challenge their comfort zone. As the forum involves young professionals from various countries with different backgrounds, diversity is one of the most important values of the forum. It connects experts from the fields of social sciences, legal studies, and natural sciences to create a bridge between these fields to better understand together the different aspects of current issues, trends, and challenges. Besides the panel discussions, seminars, and workshops, the programme also involves social events to give young professionals the opportunity to get to know each other better. Our experience is that these events create an atmosphere that further contributes to the effectiveness and success of the forum by breaking the walls: after such events, participants can pose their questions more freely, express themselves more honestly, and share their personal and professional experiences to learn together.

What are the main topics of the forum this year?
The programme of YLF 2021 is focussing on issues connected to e-Governance, digitalisation, and renewable/green energy. There are two main topics to be discussed in different formats during the forum: security challenges for e-Governance and green energy developments in the V4 region.  Among others, participants will also have the chance to attend leadership seminars with a career and management coach, a public speaking workshop, and they will be able to participate in a three-minutes challenge that can help them to improve their presentation and communication skills.

The programme of YLF is designed to allow young leaders to attend selected panels of the concurrently held think.BDPST conference. This kind of interconnection provides YLF participants the opportunity not only to meet prominent lecturers, decision-makers from the public policy and business sectors and from NGOs, as well as high profile politicians and diplomats, but also to actively take part in discussions with them, and to engage in the Questions and Answers sessions of the debates.

In which areas do you think YLF contributes the most to the personal or professional development of participants?
I think YLF is an exceptional opportunity for personal and professional improvement as it has a strong focus on developing participants’ communication and leadership skills, on providing networking opportunities, as well as on exploring participants’ personality, their professional background, and knowledge. YLF also helps young talents in career planning, improving their self-confidence and shaping their character in a way that they will become more successful and competitive in their studies, career, and professional life.

What would you recommend to those who are planning to apply next year? What are the most important selection criteria?
The evaluation process is highly competitive as most of the applicants have a very rich professional background and a wide range of skills. However, our experience is that despite many candidates have an outstanding CV, they do not dedicate enough time and effort to filling the online application form out and, as a result, they do not answer the questions precisely enough. Investing the necessary time and energy into this phase is crucial! During the evaluation, by reading the answers, we always get a first impression of a candidate, as the time dedicated to the application is perfectly reflected in the quality of their answers. Of course, it is also very important to read all requirements carefully before submitting an application and to have a 1-page, well-written, quality resume including both the applicant’s professional experience and educational background. Both parts of the application process are very important.

All candidates with the desire to learn, improve, and share expertise, knowledge and ideas are warmly welcome.

If you have to describe YLF with only a few words, which words would you choose?
Diversity, inspiration, networking, growth, challenge, and fun! :)

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