Humphrey Alumna Works to Prevent Corruption and Bribery in Romania
Oana Claudia Iacob, 2010-11 Hubert Humphrey alumna from Romania, has contributed to the Anti-Corruption Guidelines, released in November by the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham Romania). The guidelines are “meant to contribute to the prevention of bribery and corruption, as well as to a more efficient approach towards corruption to be embraced by the companies in Romania.” Claudia recently appeared on Romanian national television to discuss the guidelines, as well as corruption and transparency in the country.
The Guidelines were first drafted when the AmCham Corporate Governance Committee, of which Claudia is a regular participant, decided to develop a document that could serve as a “best practice” ethics document for companies operating in Romania. “Everyone expects the public sector to fight corruption,” Claudia says, “but it is also the responsibility of the business sector as it is involved and it interacts with public authorities.” The initiative garnered praise from many, including Mark Gitenstein, former U.S. Ambassador to Romania.
Claudia was a Fellow in the 2010-2011 University of Washington Humphrey cohort. Before her Fellowship, she worked in Romania’s public sector. Claudia knew she wanted to make a switch to the private sector, but she wasn’t exactly sure how to accomplish her goal. However, upon returning to Romania, she began to put the skills she’d honed during the program to good use. “Immediately after returning, using the same pace of my networking meetings to find an affiliation, I started looking and asking for job opportunities,” she says. “In one month I found an offer and in another two I was starting my new job. Showing initiative, being active, and making my voice heard definitely weren’t my main characteristics before HH. If I hadn’t learned these during the fellowship, I would have not had the courage to change my career or to have the skills to look for career opportunities.” Claudia also found linkages between her experiences in a culturally diverse Fellowship program and her multinational organization. “I know better to speak, understand, and interact with 90 nationalities from my company (as there were also more than 90 HH nationalities),” she remarks.
Claudia speaks candidly about the hesitation she faced upon the end of her Fellowship year. “I was one of the fellows feeling reluctant about my chances upon my returning home,” she admits. “It seems I didn’t have a clear plan and I felt even intimidated by other HHs sure of their already made plans. I didn’t consider myself a ‘leader’ as everyone told and encouraged us to act like. I still have a long way to go, but I feel more confident with each idea or small project turned into reality. I learned that not all of us can change the world with one great idea, but we can contribute little by little to change and improve our society.” Claudia is doing just that – changing and improving her society – with her recent efforts to prevent bribery and corruption in Romania.