The will of the heart gives wings to your feet
Diana has just completed her first year studying Global Business at Dublin City University. Born and raised in Romania, she welcomed Ireland as her home 6 years ago. This summer as part of the WIP Class of 2017, she is hosted by Ellen Weiss in Silver Spring and is completing a work placement at the American Chemistry Council.
As part of our New York week in 2017, Diana addressed senior leaders at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch – charting her journey to date and ambitions for the future.
Bank of America Tower, New York
Caroline Sullivan & Sean Gaffey
30th June 2017
Dia iiv agus failtia rouv (Hello and welcome!)
My name is Diana Oprea and I was born in Romania, in April of 1998. Fast forward to January 2011, my family made a great sacrifice for myself, a sacrifice to which I will dedicate all my achievements in this life: we moved to the emerald isle in pursuit of a better education and a brighter future for both me and my sister. I was 12 years old at the time, moving to a new country where everything was alien to me, including the language.
Indeed, I’ve been only speaking English for the past four years. And moreover, I am the baby of this WIP class!
Over the past six years spent in Ireland, I have chosen to embrace every single opportunity that came my way and have tried my very best to make my parents proud and ensure their sacrifice was worthwhile.
Some of these experiences included joining Future Voices Ireland, an organisation which empowers young people coming from disadvantaged areas … also becoming a youth ambassador for UNICEF Ireland and Plan International which allowed me to give back to the Irish community in which I grew and developed as a young person.
10 months ago, I was accepted to Dublin City University to pursue Global Business (Canada), a very competitive degree which selects 6 students every year and offers them the opportunity to spend four years studying between Dublin and Ontario, Canada.
All these milestones in my “Irish adventure”, as I like to call it, have offered me the platform and the necessary elements to grow into the ambitious young lady that you see in front of you today. When I discovered WIP, I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of it and demonstrate the values to which it upholds: Professionalism, accountability, empathy and gratitude. Now, I am honoured to be part of the Class of 2017 and to learn from my 29 inspiring, role model classmates about leadership, service and the ability to deal with difference.
As a business student, I recognise the value of strong leadership and that the North and South of Ireland require leadership which stems from a range of sectors. Our island’s future will be defined by the balanced and cumulative eco-system of leadership which is not only found on the halls of Stormont or Dail Eireann, but in rooms such as this one, where great business minds work together.
This class standing in front of me today is an ecosystem of leadership, an interlinked web of talent. 30 diverse, non like minded young leaders, who realised that despite our differences, there is so much more that unites us rather than divides us.
This week we have been very fortunate to roam the streets of New York, navigating the subway (well, at least trying to…), learning from the most some of the most inspirational individuals who kindly gave their time to share their knowledge with us and invest into us. One of those people is Caroline Sullivan and also the Bank of America team who have kindly agreed to host us this morning and put together a very informative session.
As my friend and classmate Rachel said “we are all still a work in progress” and New York itself and many great institutions such as Bank of America give us the inspiration and the momentum we need to make the most of our last month in the US and to return to our beautiful island, brighter, stronger and braver than we have left.
I will leave you with one of my favourite Romanian quotes:
“Vointa inimii da aripi picioarelor.”
“The will of the heart gives wings to your feet.”