Board of Directors Feature: Laura Turner on AIESEC in Retrospect

Laura Turner, VP Marketing at alphabroder, one of the largest apparel distributors in North America, is no stranger to the everlasting impact of AIESEC on an individual. Her journey with AIESEC started some years ago at the University of Saskatoon, where she was an active member throughout all four years of her undergrad, even joining the Executive Board as a Vice President in her final year. After that, she took her experience further by going on an internship abroad in India.

“After going on exchange,” she says, “I learned so much about different cultures; I learned how to adapt, which for me, has become a very important skill in all of life.”

Now, as a proud AIESEC alumnus, she sits on the Board of Directors for AIESEC in Canada, supporting the organization as an Alumni Director in an advisory capacity. As someone who has ample career experience and embodies the leadership of AIESEC, Laura is uniquely positioned to discuss and reveal the potential that youth have going forward in their schools, and in the workplace.

She emphasizes the value of AIESEC for the youth of today, saying: “AIESEC is a powerful, energizing force. The people in it are passionate and excited.” She also cites this as the reason why she’s decided to stay involved in the organization as part of the Board of Directors.

“The world is full of possibility, and AIESEC engages the individual on so many levels. When I had the opportunity to be involved again, I just started doing it.”

Turner also has positive insights on the leadership development that AIESEC creates. According to her, AIESEC fosters the organic growth of leadership. There are a multitude of leadership opportunities for the average member, and pushing out of comfort zones is highly encouraged.

“Teaching leadership is really important for not just youth today, but also society in general. There is a need to expand it, and relate it to everybody.”

What’s more, the capacity of youth to change through AIESEC reflects the change wrought by fast-shifting technology.

“We are the first tech natives,” Turner comments. “Everyone’s timeline is shorter, which calls for a changed mindset.” She explains that AIESEC prepares youth to take on challenges and be solution-oriented. In essence, AIESEC equips them to deal with and handle big shifts—to be adaptable in all sorts of situations—by giving them the opportunity to develop on a personal as well as a professional level.

“It’s invigorating,” Turner says of her experience with AIESEC.

Turner has carried this inspiring environment with her throughout her career, and she encourages youth to take advantage of every opportunity given to them. There are a lot of big shifts in society—now and in the future—and Turner is confident that AIESEC is preparing today’s youth to embrace them and tackle them head on.

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