The National Annual Forum ended with an emotional, inspiring, and meaningful conversation between the ambassadors of partnership and success of NASO – Dr. Marina Stefanova, lecturer at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and Mr. Luk Zelderlo, Former Secretary General of the European Association of Service Providers for People with Disabilities and expert at the European Social Fund +, on the topic “Leadership, Partnership, Success Rules for Better Lives”. In the beginning, Dr. Stefanova started the talk by saying that there will always be problems, but it is important for people to solve them – personally and professionally. Addressing the participants, she said, “We are all here to share and exchange experiences – you, because you know best what ‘social work’ is. We are making the change – visible or not, the change that needs to happen.” She also said that we need to talk to someone who is dealing with the difficulties, who knows how to deal with the tailwinds, namely Mr. Luk Zelderlo.
Mr. Zelderlo told through his life and work experience what leadership is for him: ‘leadership is based on cooperation and learning’. His experience has shown him that starting something is 20% of the work and learning, applying what you learn is the other 80% of the work. As a leader, he also shared that it is important to keep our values and principles close to us because it is always easy in the beginning, but along the way, there are usually crises. When asked how leaders change during crises, Mr. Zelderlo responded, “For a leader, a ‘crisis’ is not a crisis, so as a leader, I know from the beginning that there will be challenges. It’s much easier to accept it as part of the process, as something that happens every day.”
In his presentation, he shared his key recommendation for leadership and success, which is, “Keep our focus on the goals of the organization. The next very important thing is to have people supporting us because at the top you are alone, so you have to have people supporting you.”
As a finale, he was challenged to dream out loud and share his vision for the next 10 years. In response, Mr. Zelderlo shared that in order to have a better life, we need to apply imagination, creativity and think outside the box. He added that a better life is only possible if we make a difference in the society. A better society is again based on partnership and cooperativeness to build ‘bridges’, to support and build better lives for people.
Mr. Luk Zelderlo concluded by saying, “There is no way to social inclusion, social inclusion is the only way!”
Dr. Marina Stefanova with inspiring examples and expertise presented the key directions and processes to achieve social impact leading to the realization of sustainable development and shared value partnerships.