“Take Advice But Make the Final Decision Alone”

Lucie Zifcakova is originally from the Czech Republic, who grew up in a small town. After a high school, she moved to the capital city – Prague. This was an eye-opening milestone in her life where she met new people from different countries and she realized there are so many opportunities in the world. That happened 11 years ago and nowadays Lucie considers herself as a global citizen. Her main focus is to connect working in the engineering industry with her passions for travelling and motivating the others. Her main personal challenge is to always think in a positive way. She loves breaking the stereotypes and fight again the biases.

Q: Tell us a few things about your country, and also your life's story!

A: I am originally from the Czech Republic, but I left my country 9 years ago and since then I have lived in 4 different countries. The Czech Republic is a country with an east European mindset of the people, we have a nice landscape and great architecture, we have big tourism in Prague. Czech people are in general very conservative, they like their traditions and it is a big challenge to accept the new things.

I like my country but I feel more as European, living abroad opened my mind and it is difficult for me to fit the Czech culture again.

Q: What is your view of the world as it is today? And how do you define the concept of a better world?

A: From the European perspective, we live too comfortable lives that we are becoming ignorant towards each other and we do not see the real problems in the world. Today we should pay more attention to our environment as we are all citizens of one planet. In a lot of countries, people still do not understand the need to protect our environment so we should invest more in pieces of training. Also if we can, we should always help others. I miss humanity nowadays in the world. We also should not be ignorant regarding the critical situations in the world where people are dying and it is not shown in the media so we should spread the knowledge (example: current massacre in Sudan).

Q: What are some of the key challenges in your society?

A: Society in the Czech Republic has these challenges:

  • Xenophobia - people do not like in general different races and different religions in their country.
  • Pessimism - people do like to complain about everything here, instead of changing their lives, in general, Czech people are known for that.
  • Low level of confidence - due to the history of the country, it is within our culture to underestimate ourselves and do not trust in ourselves. If you have healthy confidence, the society thinks you are too proud and you want to show off.

These 3 challenges do not apply to all our citizens of course. It is about majority of our country.

Q: As a young individual what are a few of the hurdles that you had to overcome up until today?

A: I needed to build up my confidence level in order to grow in my career. I needed to learn that in the first place we should take care of ourselves and just after the others. I realized there is not gender equality at all in Europe in the business world.

Q: Why is the role of a mentor important for you?

A: It is always good to learn from someone who has more experience and listen to them. I was not lucky till now to meet anyone like that in my career who would gain my respect so he can be my mentor. Therefore I am really grateful for my mentor now.

Q: Do you have a lesson that life has taught you and you would like to share?

A: When we are making decisions about our life, we should listen and follow our heart and brain first. People will always advise you the safe path or what they think it is the best for THEM within your future plans. I would like to share that, of course, it is good to ask for advice but do not let anyone manipulate with you. Take advice but make the final decision alone.

Q: Name a project, a foundation or a person in your country that you think is doing great work in helping improve other people's lives!

A: Organisation called: Profem (https://www.profem.cz/en/)

Q: What are some of the challenges that women in your country face and what efforts are made towards gender equality?

A: In general, women are very often underestimated by men in business. If we as women want to be successful in any kind of organisation, we always need to adapt to the men. In my country, I really do not know in particular which steps are made in order to improve the situation.

Q: Athena40 is the first ever global selection of the top 40 women forward thinkers, commentators, activists, authors, academics, entrepreneurs, executives, innovators. Can you think of a truly innovative and forward-thinking woman from your country that you wish to nominate for the Athena40 global list?

A: Anna Geislerova - she is a Czech actress, but also a political activist for a better country.

Q: Share with us a phrase, a poem or a story that you love or you find interesting!

A: “You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Q: Tell us one thing that you have learned from your mentor.

A: My mentor is an amazing woman with a huge drive and motivation. I learned from her that never is too late to start new things from the beginning if you feel it is the right way to do.