Marilo Meta is a recognized leader in youth development with extensive experience in the non-profit sector. His journey started in 2012 with international engagements through Erasmus+ programs and as Organizing Committee Vice President at the organization AIESEC Albania and Rotaract Albania. In 2018 he served as an Atlas Corps Fellow from Albania at the Open Government Partnership in Washington, DC. He founded the international NGO “Leadership Development Association Balkan, to provide leadership opportunities for young people. As President of LDA, Marilo Meta has successfully organized international conferences for youth development through LDA Balkan in Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Presheva Valley and North Macedonia. Also, Marilo Meta is a Community Group Leader from the global company Salesforce for Albania and holds the MVP title from this company for the Western Balkans.
You are 30 years old, and you are already the President of the LDA organization. How did the idea to create it come about and what is it like to be the leader of this organization?
The idea was born in 2017, after I participated in many events, conferences, and youth exchange. Where I made new contacts and after discussions with some colleagues and friends from Georgia, the idea was born to create an organization with a focus on young people to follow the problems that young people encountered in different fields, their engagement as well as the activation and development of potential. theirs that often remained in the closet.
Normally, like any new creation, it has its own difficulties, first of all the difficulty was the team that we had to work together to create the statute, the foundation act, the court decision and obtaining every legal and financial document of the organization and then creating the structures. Where the main one is human resources. Creating a good structure, with motivated people, with a good team that would determine the relevant departments and how the organization will operate and the creation of this structure based on the organization’s 5-year strategic plan. A major aspect that has helped us as a new organization is the volunteering part because it is very important for young people to give their time, ideas and thoughts to the organization. And they get new knowledge from this organization, enrich their CV, reflect their knowledge and benefit from local, regional and international exchanges through various trainings, conferences and workshops.
You have conducted many conferences and trainings. What are some of the top pieces of advice you give to young people?
Since 2017, when we started the effective operation of the organization, we have organized many conferences, trainings, workshops, exchanges such as those at the local, regional and international levels. Some of the advice I give to young people who are part of LDA but also to young people in large conferences where I have participated as a speaker and mentor are to get as excited as possible in these conferences, workshops, youth exchange, as it creates a lot of recognition of new ones that will help them increase their knowledge and open new paths to the career they want. I also tell the young people not only to participate on the day of the conference, but to become part of the organizations and engage in the organization of these conferences because this gives them professional and personal skills and they can use these skills in the future. theirs.
When you decided to study at university, even today many of your peers chose to emigrate. What encouraged you to move forward today?
I chose to study at the university in the field I wanted, which was computer science in the bachelor and master of science. What encouraged and inspired me was because I saw a light that gave hope in Albania that we could do more. By choosing a profession and developing it through study, I saw a great incentive that would be an opportunity both for myself and for other young people. I saw opportunities here, this was the main point that encouraged and motivated me not to leave Albania but to continue creating professional growth in my country. I have not been disappointed and I am quite happy about this issue both for my experiences and for what I have brought here. In addition to the master’s degree I completed in informatics, I also completed a master’s degree in International Relations because I see the possibility of effective education and formal education as very important.
After completing your studies in Informatics, you also studied at the police academy, where you then worked as a police officer. Then what happened to your career that made you change profession from officer to community leader for Salesforce company and founder of NGO organization?
I chose the police out of passion, because I wanted, in addition to formal education, to have an approach with other, more active education and the legal side that the police gives you, with civic engagement as well as with the physical education part. In the application phase, I was 18th in the national ranking out of 10,000 applications, and this was an even greater motivation to continue. After graduating from the police academy, I was appointed as a police officer in Shkodër district. Here I had my ups and downs, I was lucky to work with a very well-prepared colleague, but the difficulties were related to state corruption and police corruption, and this made me retire from my career in the police. And in 2016 I resigned from the police and the following month I started creating the LDA organization.
You also worked in the USA for a period of time? How was this experience for you and how did it affect your career?
After leaving as a police officer, I started working at the Ministry of Finance in Albania, in the money laundering prevention sector, where from this position I was offered the opportunity through an ATLAS Corps organization, which is a partner organization, to move to Washington DC where I worked for an organization international for one year Open Government Partnership. It was a unique opportunity through the curriculum that I learned about the work there, the technologies they used, the work culture as well as the many trainings that enabled me near the open government, near the World Bank, near the IMF and other institutions in Washington DC. This organization I was working for just started using the Salesforce platform, which is the No. 1 global CRM. They sent me for the first time to the Salesforce global company event that was held in San Francisco, California in 2018. This is where I got to know the Salesforce community and the work they do globally as a global company. World’s first CRM platform. And then, motivated by this event, I started the request to be Community Group Leader of Salesforce for Albania and was approved by Salesforce after several stages of interviews. Since January 2019, I lead the community of Salesforce and Slack, the collaborative company for Albania. From the experience in Washington DC I learned a lot and it greatly influenced my further career at LDA and at Salesforce as MVP for the Western Balkans.
What are some of the greatest achievements in your life that you can name us?
From the biggest achievements I can mention the 2 main ones, the approach for the first time with the work in the international arena in Washington DC which has given me a lot of potential and influenced me a lot both personally and professionally. And the other achievement is the establishment of the organization LDA Balkan and the creation of a structure, a solid and powerful platform for the youth of the Western Balkans.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
After 5 years I see myself in Albania running the organization and helping other organizations as well, I see myself in international organizations and creating employment opportunities for many young people and many people who have problems finding a job with the combination of power that brings information and communication technology and national and international organizations. The connection of these is for the creation of a better working environment for the young Albanians and the Diaspora.
Interviewed: MSc. A. Zylyftari