Interview with our guest speaker, Pawel Urbanski

Saturday 18 April 2015



Meet Pawel Urbanski, who will be speaking at PSC Leadership: Getting Started and Getting done workshop on the 29th of April. PSC approached him with a few questions in anticipation of his lecture.

What does it mean to you to be a leader?

Before we start talking about leadership we need to set the stage. The stage is our current reality, together with the past and possible future ahead of us. The past is our background, previous experience or significant life events. Presence is our current place in life with all its constraints and potential consequences of our activities and decisions for the future. And last, but not least, the future is everything we plan, work to achieve or experience. Any of those examples can be spread on the scale from very negative, across neutral, up to very positive and rewarding.

We don’t live in the vacume and interact with other people who have their own objectives and understanding of the world. Therefore, we must be ready to listen, educate, convince, give up power or accept that leadership brings as much opportunities as responsibility.

Being a leader, in my opinion and understanding, means to be able to take decisions that will bring positive outcomes, bring other people on board, make them do something with energy and commitment. Being a leader may also mean becoming very unpopular when we stand up for a cause or course of action that may hurt someone’s interest. We must also remember that every leader is also a follower or at least equal to the other people in the university society or business organization.

Leaders bring about change, energy or give a push to launch avalanches or earthquakes.

Why is it important to start developing leadership skills while still at university?

When you are at the university, you are very much in the learning mode. You expect to gain skills, knowledge with all the ups and downs. University environment gives lots of opportunities to have a test drive with different professional areas, you consider for the future. There are many student societies with very much wanted hands to do something. Your classmates come from different walks of life.

All of the above lets you practice in a safe lab without major consequences. If you realized that you don’t feel your best when public speaking in front of a small audience, you simply go on with working on a newsletter or doing the event logistics. If managing people is not your thing, there will be some research going on and you may help a fellow student or professors with collecting feedback. And if it sounds boring you may run for the student body.

All of those experiences and skills are more or less present in the same shapes and variations in our mature / professional lives. The only difference is that accountability and impact are usually greater. When you test your swimming abilities, and improve them at the university, it is easier to jump into deep waters later on.

What do you think students will learn from your workshop?

How to get started with their projects and ideas. Finding their drive and sense behind the things they want to start doing or want to join as a participant. And finally, how to cross the finish line by keeping engagement and energy level high enough after the initial fascination and energy outburst fades a little for whatever reason.

I managed to do it when climbing the Seven Summits, starting and failing a few ventures, doing my Ph.D. in computer science or last, but not least – learning to play golf.


Are you intrigued? Come to the event itself! April 29th, Lecture Room 4 in The Gateway. Further details on the event Facebook page.

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