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Mircea Geoana

NATO Support for Young Leaders and Innovators


In this episode

Welcome to the second part of our insightful conversation with Mircea Geoana, the Deputy Secretary General of NATO. Mircea was born and educated in communist Romania, finished his education in the West, and built a successful political and diplomatic career.

He was appointed as an ambassador to the U.S.A. and became the youngest ambassador in Romania’s history.  He later served as a president of the Romanian Senate, Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Deputy Prime Minister. In 2009, he narrowly lost the elections for the president of Romania when he received 49.6% of the votes.

Mircea is a board member of several organizations, including the World Economic Forum, The Aspen Institute, and the European Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a published author and has written several books on foreign policy and international relations.

00:00 NATO’s billion-dollar entrepreneur fund

  • NATO created an ecosystem where young entrepreneurs can test their ideas for free
  • Testing ideas in DIANA – Defense Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic
  • The Innovation Fund – The first ever multi-national sovereign venture capital fund
  • Competition with China
  • European HQ for DIANA is based at Imperial College in London

10:23 Mistakes made and things learned from them

  • Don't be satisfied with your learning
  • Aspen Institute in Colorado
  • Started Aspen Institute in Romania
  • Wishes to become a moderator of Aspen leadership seminars

15:20 Five ingredients of being a great leader

  • There are no natural-born leaders
  • There are many different types of leaders
  • Never be happy with your success (make room for progress)

17:55 How important it is to be funny as a team leader

  • A tendency to become rigid and dry from within over time
  • Try to be humble and listen to others
  • Everybody has something to offer
  • There is always something to learn

20:32 What does it take to be successful

  • Life is tough and has ups and downs
  • There is always another chance
  • Never give up

21:36 Extreme Preparation

  • Romanians are very talented people, but sometimes neglect preparation
  • Hard work is very important (talent is not enough)
  • In NATO, everything is done with thorough preparation
  • Preparing for the unexpected
  • Don’t take things too seriously

26:30 The importance of mentors

  • Believes in mentorship and, even more, in indirect mentorship
  • Started mentorship program with NATO
  • Randall’s mentorship program
  • Mircea’s dream is to bring programs to Romania

31:33 The secret to work-life balance

  • The balance between mind, body, and spirit
  • A tendency to have a foresight for bad things to happen
  • A Randall’s intern spoke in NATO about the anti-microbial disease
  • Focusing on simple things – love, compassion, giving back, improving yourself
  • What is next after leaving NATO?

35:41 Fill in the blank to excellence

  • Mircea's biggest lesson in life
  • Mircea's number 1 professional goal
  • Mircea's number 1 personal goal
  • Mircea's biggest regret in life
  • Mircea's biggest dream
  • Mircea's advice to a 21-year-old self

Sandee | Bliss: Beaches

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