Aspire Organising Team #3 – What it takes to be a wizard

The series wouldn’t be complete without getting a glimpse into how the project managers felt about this year in the organising team. If you are considering a leadership position within the organisation, the best place to start your training is definitely by reading about the challenges project management presents and how fulfilling it is to see your ideas come to life. 

“When I redesigned the Aspire organising team structure last year, I had in mind a universe with 5 stars right in the middle of it. These stars were the Project Managers. Why? It’s simple. Because they make everything move. Their commitment and passion are the forces that hold everything together and make the world spin.” –

Elena Zaharia, Executive Director 

The Project Management team is Aspire‘s crew of “good at everything” people. Their experience and expertise make them ready to embark on new challenges all the time. They put together vision with execution, planning with making on the spot decisions, creativity with patience, ingenuity with a personal touch.  

Are you curious about what makes a Project Manager successful? Is it being organized? Or maybe having excellent communication skills? These and many more. Let’s find out how Aspire PMs spent their year and what their major outcomes were. 

At the Aspire Christmas Ball

Project Management – bringing our projects to life 

Creating and executing a project is a tough, long process that only a select number of people can do. It takes creativity, persuasion/communication skills, perseverance, quick thinking, and many more. These key members of our team bring most if not all of our events to life. They tackle the summer programs and various projects designed for the alumni community. They communicate with others, manage the budget, find the right team members, and have other logistical responsibilities.  

What paves one’s trajectory if it’s not the project he manages? Andra Neagu, Project Manager demonstrates how her development was paved by the Aspire leadership opportunity:  

“Being a part of the organising team has given me the opportunity to meet inspiring people and create meaningful connections with them. I also had the chance to get out of my comfort zone and to try a lot of things, which helped me figure out my professional career. 

It’s not easy to be a PM, but in my opinion, it’s the best. This role involves a lot of dedication, self-discipline, and responsibility because it depends on you if your team will successfully complete a project. You must enjoy working with people and you will have the opportunity to develop different skills (e.g. from conflict management to budgeting & controlling) and to collaborate with people from different departments. It’s a wild ride so take a deep breath and jump in!” – Andra Neagu – Project Manager  

Organising Team on a Road Trip
The Orga Team on a Road Trip!

Tudor Gaitan, Project Manager in charge of the Aspire Hubs, remarks additionally on the experience of creating synergies in Eastern Europe: 

“Aspire offered me the opportunity to heighten my project management skills whilst allowing me to visit and interact with the community of bright minds from Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova. This year provided the perfect learning-to-traveling ratio.” – Tudor Gaitan, Project Manager  

Last but not least, we owe this opportunity to learn and read about Aspire to a new project, Aspire Blog. It all started in November 2019 and as any new idea to implement, it came with a series of challenges. With a background in communication and past experience in advertising, Miruna saw the need for a new communication channel for Aspire’s events and programs.  

“In the beginning, I used to consider Aspire Blog as my own baby: it was built from scratch, with a lot of trial and error and it required lots of motivation. I think we both grew together: Aspire Blog is no longer a baby and it is no longer mine.

Like a seed we plant, it grew bigger and spread to reach the whole Aspire community with the help of an amazing team. What started just as a solo experiment is now a real project, a product of teamwork and collaboration between circles, projects, and Organising team members.”- Miruna Iliescu – Project Manager 

“When I interviewed Andra, Miruna, Georgia, Luca, and Tudor last year I knew they were the right people to step up and lead our Aspire initiatives. For some of them this step came naturally, after being part of the organising team previously, for others it was their first encounter with the organising team. These 5 stars helped us take Aspire to a new level, bringing their passion and devotion, and I’m proud that they will continue their journey as part of the organising team in different roles.”

Elena Zaharia, Executive Director 

After the 3rd article on circles and current Aspire projects, you’re still not sure where to apply? Apply for a PM position and you can certainly choose to grow and develop a current project or… start from scratch your own initiative. 

“My advice for someone who’s still considering whether applying for a position within the organising team? Take a leap of faith. We learn together, we experiment together, we laugh together, but most importantly, you’ll make friends for life.” 

Contributors: Alexandra Nanu, Iulia Gheorghe, Ulemj Munkhtur under the guidance of Miruna Iliescu

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