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STARS IEEE Thought Leader workshop

I ran a STARS Thought Leader workshop as part of the Professional activities summit at the IEEE 2012 Student Branch Congress. There were 32 participants from Europe, Africa and the Middle East which together are part of IEEE Region 8.

At a personal level, the chance to run a workshop in the historic and world heritage listed El Escorial was cool!

El Escorial was built from 1563 - 1584, hence it is nearly 450 years old.

I first saw the building which is a combined monastery and royal palace 15 years ago and was impressed by its grandeur. El Escorial is situated at the foot of Mt. Abantos in the Sierra de Guardarrama and the site  was chosen by King Philip II of Spain. He ordered the building of a grand edifice here to commemorate the 1557 Spanish victory in Picardy against Henry II, king of France. He also wanted to use it as a necropolis for the interment of the remains of his parents, and it contains the sarcophagus of many generations of Spanish nobility of the last five centuries. The Royal Pantheon contains the tombs of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V (who ruled Spain as King Charles I), Philip II, Philip III, Philip IV, Charles II, Louis I, Charles III, Charles IV, Ferdinand VII, Isabella II, Alfonso XII, and Alfonso XIII.

The workshop itself attracted a wide range of participants including one person from my home country of Switzerland. There were participants from the Baltic states, Spain, Germany, Belgium, South Africa, North Africa and the Middle East. Their enthusiasm and whole-hearted engagement made the workshop fun and rewarding for me too. One part of the workshop focuses on team and teamwork, using one of the CSM Scrum exercises and illustrates how leadership is dynamic in self organizing teams.

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Participant comments

"During the whole workshop I had fun and I think this is important for efficient knowledge gaining. To summarise, an excellent lecturer showed us the most important principles of leadership. An excellent leader should have integrity, trust and must THINK.

I am looking forward to read a book we got as a gift. Reach for the STARS by Han van Loon.

As Han van Loon said to us:   Keep flying high!"

As posted by Katarina Gasperlin on the IEEE Student branch Ljubjana blog

"Thank you so much for coming to the SBC in Madrid and sharing your insight on what it means to be an effective STARS thought leader. After the workshop I felt challenged to change my thought of what an effective leader is and have been enjoying your pocket version of the book so far. The work shop was enjoyable and captured my attention for the full span of it. I really enjoyed it."

Valerie Edith Chiriseri

Chair: IEEE Student Branch, University of Cape Town


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