Motivational talk at the ESADE Alumni Health and Pharma Club Summer Meeting of 2017 by this famous mountaineer
Araceli Segarra, the first Spanish woman to climb Everest and an expert speaker on team motivation, was the keynote speaker at the 4th summer meeting of the ESADE Alumni Health and Pharma Club with the talk entitled ''Leadership and motivation in the pharma of the future. The road to the top'' at ESADEFORUM in Barcelona. ''The response to circumstances can alter the outcome'' explained Segarra to the dozens of members in the audience.
Segarra compared mountain climbing with success in business and also in life and explained the circumstances surrounding her two attempts to climb Everest: one a failure and the other, a success. ''When you give up knowing that you have done your utmost, you come home feeling that you have learned an awful lot. For me, this is not a failure,'' she emphasised with regard to her first unsuccessful attempt to reach the top of the highest mountain in the world.
Segarra focussed mainly on the circumstances of her successful climb of Everest in 1996. The aim was to film an IMAX documentary and the climb involved countless mishaps and was affected by one of Everest’s worst ever tragedies in which eight people died in a commercial expedition. Araceli and her team took part in the rescue. ''We were all badly shaken and frustrated about being unable to help save those mountaineers. This sapped our motivation but in the end, each member of the team found the reasons why we wanted to make the climb and we finally managed it because motivation doesn’t disappear if you have a motive, if you know why you are doing,'' she said.
''One of the aims of ESADE Alumni is to provide value for alumni,'' said Joan Buxó, MBA 09 and a member of the ESADE Alumni Health and Pharma Club, when he introduced Segarra. Buxó mentioned that this talk was the last in a very intense calendar of events. Rodrigo Rama (GH 86 / MBA 89), president of the ESADE Alumni Health and Pharma Club ended the conference by commenting that ''It's a night to think about all the comparisons Araceli has made with the business world,'' and expressing his desire to hold more interesting events for members in the following academic year.
Segarra’s talk was unlike previous conferences because although she is a very well known speaker, she does not belong to the healthcare and pharma world although she is involved in the health industry in general and holds a diploma in physiotherapy.
Segarra discussed concepts such as the response to circumstances and unexpected events and also the importance remaining motivated in projects by ''doing away with monotony and knowing the reasons for every action.'' She also highlighted the importance of on-going communication between all team members and the value of personal initiative, ''When you contribute something you know you can do, it’s hard to give up the project because you feel that there’s a part of you in it.''
She added that humour is a crucial element for success in team projects. ''Sometimes the best way to unwind in a tense situation is to laugh at the boss ... Having a sense of humour was very helpful on that expedition, but obviously you must all be on an equal footing.''
The talk was warmly received by the members of the audience who then asked questions about details of how to handle egos in a team, how to take decisions and the onset of pessimism when the going gets tough. ''The secret is to make things clear from day one and for you to choose. This prevents surprises and misunderstandings,'' said Segarra about personal choices regarding which projects to take part in.
Segarra believes that one of the most important success factors in any project is leadership. In this respect, she emphasized the qualities that all team leaders should have – traits that characterise the two directors of the documentary filmed on Everest, David Breashears and Greg MacGilivray. ''Firstly, the leader must have values and principles that you share. If you have ethics and your boss is on the same page then you will work well together. David and Greg also constantly recognised the effort made by the people they worked with. There are times when some people are afraid to lose by recognising the work of the rest of the team and this is very important because it is an adhesive that keeps the team together. Selfishness, on the other hand, dissolves the bonds in a team.''
The documentary that Segarra featured in has been the biggest IMAX box-office success ever. ''When you put your heart into what you do, ‘that will do’ is not good enough, you want it to be the best project, and we managed it, even though we had to put our heart and soul into it,'' she said.
She wound up her talk by emphasizing that the secret is always how one deals with circumstances. The main factor for a successful project is attitude; how one responds to the circumstances that arise.
After the talk, the members of the audience enjoyed a networking cocktail.
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