Alumna Profiled: Rania Soulaki
Graduated: Deree ’84
Lives in: Athens, Greece
Current Position: Hellenic Petroleum CSR Director
“Never get discouraged, always strive for the best.”
Rania Soulaki holds a degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and a BA from Deree – The American College of Greece.
She began her professional career in EKO SA in the Human Resources field. Since 1998, she has been working for HELLENIC PETROLEUM and is competent for the Group’s CSR issues. She has particularly worked on the problems of local communities and the planning and implementation of programs for socially vulnerable groups and the youth.
From 2013-18 Member of the Board of CSR Hellas, the Hellenic Network for Corporate Social Responsibility, and represents HELLENIC PETROLEUM in CSR Europe.
She is married with two children.
Q: Which three words would you choose to describe Pierce/Deree?
It is really quite hard to describe in a few words my 10-year experience as a student at Pierce and Deree. Reminiscing about my school and college years, I would say that Pierce and Deree were unique because of:
-The multidimensional knowledge they offered
-the leading-edge educational practices and innovative way of thinking
-Consistently teaching the value of teamwork
Q: What are the three enduring values you learned at Pierce/Deree?
The three principles that were infused into Pierce/Deree’s teaching and learning methods and always guide my personal life and professional affairs are:
-Listen to and respect the opinion of others
-Teamwork towards shared purpose and mutual benefits
Q: Looking back, how did your time at Pierce [should we also add Deree?] help you become the person you are today?
When you are a student, you do not realize the impact school can and will have on you. Growing up, interacting with diverse personalities and gaining professional experience, you recognize that the school’s educational processes and the distinguished teachers of Pierce/Deree have equipped you with powerful tools, such as trust in people, high self-esteem, broad-mindedness, persistence and patience.
Q: What do you miss most from your days at Pierce/Deree?
What I miss the most from my school days, were the quiet moments in the library. A sacred room, almost magical, always warm, full of beautiful and carefully chosen books, both in Greek and in English, magazines, financial newspapers, psychology books, literature, and us, a small group of students, sitting in one of the corner tables, whispering to each other, working on a – if my memory serves me well – Max Enrst essay…
Q: What advice would you give a new Pierce/Deree student?
I would advise young students to take every single opportunity given to them to broaden their horizons, always find the courage to fight for what’s theirs, aim high, do what makes their heart sing and never stop dreaming.
Q: Who or what inspires you the most?
Inspiration is something that constantly shifts and is influenced by feelings. Recently, what inspired me greatly was the refugees and their struggles. People that left everything behind but their families and came here to start again their lives from scratch. This requires courage. And I get inspired by that braveness and determination and it gives me strength for new endeavors.
Q: What is your motto in life?
Never get discouraged, always strive for the best.
Q: What does your work and/or current projects entail?
Through Corporate Social Responsibility, for many years now, I seek to contribute to creating the right environment for the new generation and the young scientists to keep dreaming and planning their life in Greece, and for Greece.
Q: What is the most inspiring aspect of your work?
The most inspiring aspect of my job is its multidimensional nature, the interaction with different people and the diverse stimuli that derive from it.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
My plan for the near future is to discover places of Greece where I have not yet travelled to. I trust this will open up new creative horizons and will lead to more contemporary ideas and actions and fruitful collaborations.
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