CR Magazine had a convo with Andrea Unanue Fernandez from Spain. During this convo, she is sharing her inspiring story currently in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Andrea Unanue (25) comes from a small town in the north of Spain, called Aretxabaleta. As an only child, Andrea was always independent, creative and curious. She moved to Madrid at the age of 18 to attend university, where she graduated in Aviation Management at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. Andrea also had the chance to live and work in the south of Italy, London, and Barcelona for few months before deciding to pursue a Masters Degree in International Management back in Madrid, at IE Business School. Currently, she is based in Amsterdam, enrolled in the Cisco Sales Associate Program, where she is starting her career in the world of IT.
1. Andrea introduce yourself to the audience, who is Andrea Unanue Fernandez?
Hello everyone! I could describe Andrea as a curious and dynamic girl, always willing to self-discover and develop herself. I am very enthusiastic about learning about new things around me, and although I consider myself an adventurer who’s eager to get lost anywhere in the world, there is nothing that I enjoy most than a deep and interesting one on one conversation in a cozy café. I like to keep myself active, both mentally and physically, that is why some of my hobbies are backpacking, reading and exercising. Moreover, I’d like to see my loved ones and colleagues at their best. That is why I enjoy listening to, challenging and supporting them to get out of their comfort zones. I am also very easy going and an extrovert, but I genuinely consider the time I spend on my own as a gift, and I value the moments invested in my thoughts.
2. May you please share your journey from your early teenage to where you are now?
I have been moving around quite a lot in the last few years of my life. Before finishing high school, I already knew that I wanted to move to a bigger city, leave my parents’ home and be exposed to new places, people and experiences.
I am lucky to have grown up in a family that gave and still affords me a lot of independence and freedom since I was a young girl, as well as solid education and values.
Moving to Madrid at the age of 18 changed my life, it opened my mind and enforced my will to discover the world. I have always been curious, but this experience made me much more enthusiastic, social and genuinely interested in people.
During this period at university, my father passed away, meaning another big switch in my life. It made me much more resilient, thoughtful and mature. This was the beginning of a deep self- discovery time, which in combination with having the chance to travel and live in different countries gave me the opportunity to develop myself internally while also enlarging my educational background and professional skills.
Truly enjoying being around others and being at my best at fast-paced internationally and culturally diverse environments, I spent a few months figuring out which direction should I take careerwise. Now, I am happier than ever in Amsterdam, where I have the chance to work with more than 20 nationalities on a daily basis, in an industry that is a challenge for me.
3. Tell us more about your culture?
Located in the South of Europe, Spain is a beautiful country full of green landscapes and thousands of coastline. We are a diverse country, but we are most known for being very friendly, talkative and outgoing people. Spain has traditionally been a conservative country, but I believe we are becoming more and more open-minded. From the fantastic weather to the delicious Mediterranean diet, tapas o pinchos, Spain has a lot to offer across its different regions. History, culture, nature or nightlife, surrounded by the open and welcoming atmosphere of the local people. I love my country, from the nature of the North to the beautiful beaches in the South, from the diversity of cultures and local languages to the hectic and fun lifestyle of Madrid. I believe I come from a country with much potential to shine, where people like to enjoy life, go out and meet others, but we are also hardworking and innovative. ‘Siesta’ is no more than a cliché.
4. You just recently moved to Amsterdam due to a job opportunity, and it was great meeting you Andrea, I learn a lot from you on a daily basis, how has this transformation and experience changed your life so far?
As I’ve mentioned before I love to be part of multicultural teams and having the opportunity to be surrounded by such a diverse international environment in Amsterdam inspires me every day. I finished my postgraduate education a few months ago, and I also went through important personal decisions before coming here, so this experience just went in the perfect moment in my timeline. I couldn’t be gladder.
5. Challenges build us in life, would you share some of the difficulties you have encountered in life, and how have they made you stronger, wiser and bolder?
Fortunately, I come from a developed country, and my family has always been economically stable. Thanks to that, I have been able to study and travel. However, my biggest challenge was when I lost my father due to health issues at the age of 19. I was personally very attached to him, and it was a very tough moment in my life. The journey I started back then was full of instabilities and insecurities and brought the most introvert side of me to light. Nevertheless, and after six years, I can say that this experience made me resourceful, pragmatic, much more empathetic and open to change, and it made me passionate about listening and helping others, influencing and motivating them to be at their best.
6. In simple terms, tell us your aspirations and how are you willing to achieve them?
In broad terms, I’ve always wanted to make an impact in the world, but I am still figuring out what this change will be. As long as the cause is close to my heart, I will be eager to work on it.
Career-wise, I aspire to work with different organizations improving their market positioning and competitive advantage and being able to pull different stakeholders in organizations together to create new projects and innovations. In general, I am driven by connecting people, ideas and technology to create meaningful impact.
At a personal level, I seek to enlarge my network, help people to be happier and self-confident, and never stop traveling and discovering the world.
7. The world is reading about you right now and learning from your experience Andrea, any advice?
My first advice is never to stop being yourself, even if others don’t like it. Secondly, be positive and to take every experience in life as an opportunity to learn and grow. Moreover, if there is something that is pushing inside of you, an idea or a dream, trust your instinct and go for it. Have a plan, identify relevant people who can support you and don’t hesitate to ask for help.
8. Your favorite quote?
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
9. Lastly, would you like to visit South Africa and engage with young people who might want to interact with you?
ABSOLUTELY! The sooner, the better.