I got to reply to 5 quick questions for Parliament Magazine edition 505
1. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
I speak French in meetings in the parliament, both in plenary, The European Parliament is divided up into Committees: smaller groups of MEPs that work on a particular topic. and group meetings. I love speaking other languages as it allows me to connect with and understand other people better. Speaking EU English is useful, but it doesn’t allow you to really connect with citizens in other countries or your colleagues.
2. How would you describe your political/leadership style in three words?
White water rafting: Plan for the destination, but allow yourself to ride the waves as they come while remaining prepared for hidden rocks.
3. What is the smallest change you have made in your career that has had the biggest positive result?
Started telling stories rather than holding speeches. I don’t always succeed, but when I do take the time to tell a story rather than a bunch of facts, people start to listen more.
4. What do you do in your free time to relax and unwind?
Spend time with my dog; walking outside, playing with a football or teaching her silly tricks. It requires you to be totally present in the moment, no phones, no distractions, and with a creature that loves you unconditionally. Also I watch really bad reality tv, at the moment my weakness is “Married at First sight”.
5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?
Reading fiction is a pleasure and important for empathy. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel, it’s the first novel in a long series, about a young girl in pre-historic age. I read it, while I was probably too young for the more adult parts, but it inspired me to believe I could do anything (if I trained) that men could do and perhaps better, as well as knowing that being different or doing this differently is not a bad thing. This is a good start in life, especially for women.
(6. What is the most humbling thing you have experienced in your career?
Being elected. It makes me feel very humble to think of all of the 17929 people that have put their trust in me and my capacity to represent their views and hopes for their future.)