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Meet the team! – Going beyond the patterns with Dorota

Let’s continue our journey into getting to know all new Uniser members! Today we’re meeting Dorota, who’s based in Wrocław and joined Uniser in June 2021.

Hello Dorota! Could you tell us what is your role at Uniser and what are your main occupations?

At Uniser I am responsible for design and development of internationalization of educational institutions in Poland and organize international learning mobility experiences both for students and teachers. I am also team leader of the Sending PL team so I support my colleagues in daily project management implementation. I design cultural pre-departure training and writing projects and coordinate strategic partnership projects. 

When did you join Uniser and what prompted you to do so?

I officially joined Uniser a year ago, but internally I feel that emotionally and professionally I have been involved with Uniser much longer. I remember meeting Enrico, Andrea, Cecilia and Elena about 10 years ago. We represented two separate organizations at the time, but we worked so well together that we strengthened our partnership year after year. At a later stage I had the opportunity to work with Carolina, Sara, Lucia and Paola. Then I met Annalisa, Vik and Luca and each time I feel that there is this “click”, there is a flow when working together. So… when the idea came up that I could work for Uniser I immediately felt that it is something extraordinary and worthy to go for it. Since I have worked for more than 10 years for the internationalization of schools and other institutions, it was important for me to be able to continue this. However, I wanted to work for a large, stable organization that faces up to the constantly changing reality. An organization that doesn’t stand still, that is constantly developing, and that gives the people who work there the opportunity to grow. I wanted to work with people who are creative, courageous, full of passion and who go beyond the patterns. And I wanted all of this to be placed in an intercultural enviroment. That is what Uniser seemed to me. Now, after a very intensive year in this organization, I can honestly say that it is just like that;) 

What’s been the most challenging part of your role so far? 

I look at my role at Uniser through the lens of process. In any process, there are phases that occur as activities and specific circumstances develop, as well as challenges and unforeseen situations. Initially it was very quiet, but after just a few weeks, there was an accumulation of responsibilities, new opportunities arose, and all activities gained significant momentum. Being a person who wants to grab every opportunity, meet every challenge and do it 100%, it is easy to overdose. Therefore, the biggest challenge for me was dosing, deciding, deferring and scheduling activities so as not to overload myself and anyone on our team. And of course, to find that element of fun in the constant intensity of our work and forward it to the people who work with us and make them feel a lightness in the relationship.

… and the most rewarding? 

The biggest reward… It’s when you look back in hindsight that it was worth it, that all the puzzle pieces come together. And even if they don’t line up in that moment you know where they belong and you’ll put them there soon. Aaa… and most of all, the fact that you’re not putting these puzzles alone. That sense of teamwork and empowerment is the pure fuel that drives me every day long. 

What is your relationship with your team members? How do you motivate them? 

I think our relationship is based on trust and honesty. There is also vulnerability and courage that is defined by the willingness to show up and be seen, despite uncertain outcomes. Using the advantage that our team is still relatively small, we have the opportunity to be attentive and catch situations quite quickly where someone needs support. I personally do not like the phenomenon of patronizing and I try to build a relationship in such a way as to be based on the talents and strengths of each of us. So that everyone feels safe in expressing their opinions and can be sure that their voice matters. 

Speaking about motivation very often I am giving examples of our outcomes, a number of life changing stories that students or teachers tell as a pure energy to continue working. However, we are all different and have different motivations to work. What I see… The specificity of work in Uniser is a motivation in itself – constant professional and personal development, work in an international environment, teamwork, and the efficiency of our actions are perfect examples of motivating factors. 

And how do you find motivation yourself? What inspires you? 

What inspires me the most are people. How they deal with new, unforeseen situations, how they celebrate successes, how they solve problems, how they build a relationship. Despite the fact that I work from Poland on a daily basis, I have quite a lot of opportunities to work together with the team and draw energy from being part of a large international venture.

And what motivates me is – constant development, challenges, efficiency, courage and teamwork. It would consist in this simple but powerful quote: “DIG deep- get deliberate, inspired, and going.”

Do you have any passions or hobbies? 

I could describe myself as a person greedy for life. That’s why I used to do many things that helped me to unlock creativity and freedom. My old sentiment and something that I loved to do and I am still trying to find a space to start doing again is fire show. Dancing with a fired pois is something that I definitely want to bring to my life again. On the other hand, looking at my daily life, I really like small pleasures that are my routine, like riding my bicycle, morning walks with my dog, playing chess, watching movies, reading comics. At this moment I am totally crazy about Spain Rodriguez – underground cartoonist, anarchist and revolutionist of the 70′. There is also one other pleasure that I feel addicted to – it’s music, mainly listening to, but I also have a few guitars that are waiting to be used again. Aaaa.. There is one more thing that I am just discovering and having great fun with –  it’s sketching ideas by visual thinking. It’s a skill which helps  to organize thoughts and express and communicate in a very effective way.  

Do you have any trips planned for the near future?

Yes, I do and I really can’t wait for it. One month in Italy is going to approach me very soon. I am really happy about this because the spirit of Italy is something that I am never bored with. We will be traveling through different places starting from a music festival in Milan where one of my favorite American singer, Phoebe Bridgers, will play and then going through  Liguria, discovering Lombardia and ending up in Emilia-Romagna. 

What would be your dream trip and why? 

Thoroughly exploring Scandinavian countries is top 1 on my dream list. I am very interested in this culture, I like the approach to life of people from the north, and I love the sound of Swedish, Danish, or Finnish language. Two years ago I studied Swedish quite intensively…. I am curious how much of it I remember;))) There is something else that excites me about the idea of traveling to the Scandinavian peninsula –  it is the wildness and pristine nature. My dream trip is a bushcraft, cross-country, wilderness campervan trip without unnecessary luxuries and amenities. It is a trip with my family and friends in total wilderness.

A true explosion of energy! Thanks Dorota!

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