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Name: Mihaela Ulieru
Organisation: IMPACT Institute for the Digital Economy
Dr. Mihaela Ulieru is a technology alchemist and is an innovator at the edge of the impossible. She is founder and President of the IMPACT Institute for the Digital Economy (IMPACT stands for ” Innovation Management and Policy Accelerated with Communication Technologies”), which she founded at the peak of her illustrious academic career as a consulting arm of her work aiming at policy reforms for the adoption of latest digital technologies in all areas of society and sectors of the economy.
Along the way she kept inspiring and supporting young entrepreneurs – one of her first MSc students was Garret Camp, co-founder of Uber and StumbleUpon – and she currently advises several startups aiming to put the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” technologies (AI, Blockchain, IoT, AR/VR) to work to make the world a better place. She has held and holds appointments to a plethora of advisory boards and councils, among which: the Science, Technology and Innovation Council of Canada (appointed by the Minister of Industry), the Science and Engineering Research Council of Singapore (appointed by the PM), Expert to the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Data-Driven Development where as part of her work she proposed Blockchain to be added to the Top 10 Future and Emerging Technologies.
As a thought leader Dr. Ulieru promotes the advantages of leveraging Blockchain and its potential to create equality and a fairer society through the inclusion of the 99% in the economy. As a top high tech academic researcher she spearheaded and led major multi-stakeholder programs leading the scaling-up of operations through strategic partnerships and networks in Industrial Informatics, the Future of Medicine, Self-Organizing Security, the EnergyWeb, Global Manufacturing Systems, and Sustainable Personal Living Technologies. She has authored over 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles, Keynoted over 250 events, supports several non-profits and foundations and still has time to write poetry in several languages, having received several awards, among which “Poet of Merit” from the International Society of Poets.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As a female leader, I found it most challenging to deal with male egos, especially when challenging their entrenched beliefs.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My experience is that I was "born" a leader - leadership is a state of spirit, one takes initiative, demonstrates courage in the face of adversity and shows the way when others are still unsure of the direction.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
The Calendar does that for me - far too busy with too many projects, yet I've learned to leave room to think, create and read about the latest innovations. I developed a skill enabling me to prioritize "on the go" and "let go" anything which is irrelevant to my overall purpose of making the world better.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
To remain open when someone whom you extended yourself to help betrays you, continuing to be the conduit you want them to embody. Leading by example is not about expecting others to emulate you, but hoping someone will be inspired to do the right thing.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Too many books... the most recent one "Boldly Go" by William Shatner, which describes the courage of a leader as accountability to the mission, with every action being regarded as a step towards acomplishing it.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Most of my leadership stories are about speaking truth to power and taking risks to do the right thing in environments that do not foster honesty and openness, and having succeeded in supporting especially young professionals who more often than not fall victims to such confusing, destructive environments.