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Empowering your younger self: Advice from 11 EF leaders

Empowering your younger self: Advice from 11 EF leaders

Here at EF Education First, we have many strong women leaders across our global business—in fact, over half of our senior managers are women. In honor of International Women’s Day, we asked 11 EF leaders what advice they would give their younger selves.

What advice would you give your younger self?

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Ming Chen then and now

“Looking back, I would give myself 5 pieces of advice:
1) You don't know what you don't know. All sorts of unexpected challenges are going to pop up along your way; the best way is to keep an open mind, stay resourceful, and believe in yourself.
2) Laughter and sleep are the best medicine for any troubles.
3) The people you work with matter. You spend more time with them than your family, so be mindful that the space you create at work will be the one you live in.
4) You are in charge of your own life. Be the main character.
5) You will evolve in terms of your habits, likes, dislikes. You can either flow with it or fight it. Choose to flow.”
Ming Chen, Chief Culture Officer

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Anna Frolander then and now

“Trust yourself. Don't let anyone tell you to be someone you're not. You know best who you are, so don't try to mold yourself to fit someone else's idea of who you should be!”
Anna Frolander, Chief of Staff, EF International Language Campuses

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Wendy Lee then and now

“Believe in yourself, trust your abilities, and have confidence in your decisions. Be brave, follow your passion, and don’t let fear hold you back from pursuing your dreams and taking risks. Embrace all opportunities. Live in the present and take care of yourself. Don’t dwell on the past or worry too much – focus on making the most of each moment and appreciating the blessings in your life. Make time for self-care and recharge your energy.”
Wendy Li, Director of Global Recruitment and Employee Development

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 Patrice Malone then and now

“You are BEAUTIFUL. When you enter complicated spaces that are not serving you well, it's okay to let them go. You don't have to be strong for everyone, just yourself.”
Patrice Malone, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging North America

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Clare Mifsud then and now

“Embrace change and welcome it. The path toward your goals isn't always a straight line. By being flexible and adaptable, you'll navigate the twists and turns with ease, and ultimately reach your personal and/or professional goals.”
Clare Mifsud, Vice President of Operations, EF World Journeys

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 Brooke Parker then and now

“Slow down and take a minute to think things through. When I was younger, especially when I first started my career, I defined my success by my output—doing more and doing it quickly. Over time I set the standard for myself––I’d rather do things well or not do them at all. My work got stronger, and ironically, I could take on more.”
Brooke Parker, Director of Marketing, EF Academy

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Dana Sanctucci then and now

“Embrace your passions. Always keep exploring and let each journey, whether smooth or challenging, enrich your life and teach you about the world and yourself.”
Dana Santucci, Executive Vice President, EF Properties

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Nikki Thomas then and now

“Work hard, play hard and do something that makes you love Monday. Life's too short not to.”
Nikki Thomas, Product Director, EF English Live

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Amy Van Dam then and now

“Your unique power is inside you—all you need to do is see that it's there. Nobody else can give it to you, and nobody else can take it away. Don't spend your energy worried about what other people think about you. Spend your energy being kind, doing things you're proud of, and being open to everything the world has to offer.”
Amy Van Aarle, Executive Vice President, EF Education First

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 Lori Van Dam then and now

“The best way to connect is to be open and vulnerable. Trying so hard to project a perfect image is not only exhausting, but it can also create barriers to real relationships.”
Lori Van Dam, CEO of Hult Prize

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Laura Vitiello then and now

“Say yes, even when you are a little bit scared. Escaping your comfort zone is where there is the most opportunity for growth, and it will prove to you just how much you are capable of."
Laura Vitiello, Director of Recruitment & Employee Development, Cultural Care Au Pair

The leaders featured in this article are team members at EF Education First or organizations associated with EF.