This month, Aspirers in the Spotlight gives insight into the personal and professional experiences of Sabina Ciofu, the Head of EU and Trade Policy for techUK (the largest trade association for tech businesses in the United Kingdom). She holds a BA in Classics from the University of Cambridge and a MA in War Studies from King’s College London.
This inspiring individual spends her time in both Brussels and London covering and managing a wide scope of policy issues, ranging from the EU tech agenda to the ongoing and upcoming international trade negotiations. Prior to this, Sabina worked as Policy Advisor in the European Parliament for almost a decade, where she focused on EU tech regulation, international trade, and EU-US relations.
Besides working as the Head of EU and Trade Policy, Sabina Ciofu is the founder of the Gentlewomen’s Club, co-organizer of the Young Professionals in Digital Policy, and a member of the Global Shapers Brussels Hub. Through these remarkable organizations, she has led several youth civic engagement and gender equality projects. The Aspire Community is proud to say Sabina’s an alumna of Aspire Professionals 2017!
Sabina’s Early Life, Passions, and Motivation
She was born in a small town in North-Eastern Romania a year before the revolutions that brought down the Berlin Wall and with it, the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe. Sabina attended university in the UK the same year her country joined the European Union. This was the only time she could’ve afforded to do so. Sabina has lived a life of freedom and opportunity, both of which were denied to her parents. This sequence of lucky coincidences between events in her life and key political moments for Romania has inspired her strong belief in globalization and international cooperation, as well as Sabina’s activism on youth civic participation and equality.
I love bringing people together, building lasting connections, and creating meaningful interactions. And I’ll always choose ‘people time’ over ‘me time’. It’s where I get my energy, inspiration, and joie de vivre from.Sabina Ciofu
1. What did you enjoy the most about Aspire?
The relationships I built with fellow participants as well as the mentors and the professors, the sense of belonging to this big Aspire family where we share ambition and passion, but also a strong desire to serve our communities, societies, countries.
2. If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
How you close doors is as important – if not more important – as how you open them.
3. What are your non-negotiables?
Practice kindness, stand up to injustice, You don’t have to get it right – just get it going!
4. What was the hardest decision you ever had to make?
Having to ask for help from complete strangers when I needed it, as there was nowhere else to turn. I’m a proud person and that was a very humbling experience. It was also a good lesson that by and large people are genuinely happy to help if you only say “I need help”.
5. Can you tell me about a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?
What I’ve learned through the years is that human willpower is huge. You can really do a whole lot if you set your mind to it. Setbacks are just that: meant to teach out stuff and make you better, not make you stop.
6. What is that one book that has influenced you the most?
Hard to choose, but here are a few of my favorite women in politics:
- What Happened – Hillary Clinton
- The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir – Samantha Power
- Who thought this was a good idea? – Alyssa Mastromonaco
The book that touched me the most was A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Absolutely devastatingly beautiful.
7. Why should people apply for an Aspire experience? What did you gain by being part of this community?
Mentors, friends, family. Join for the experience, stay for the fun.
Sabina’s Favourite quote
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RIP)