In everyone’s life there are people who inspire and motivate us to act, not only with their words, but especially with their life example. One such remarkable individual is Agnieszka Nowakowska, Vice President of the Board of Directors of the “Independent Woman” Foundation. She is a person who has not only succeeded in the business world, but is also committed to the mission of supporting women in building their independence, both in their professional and personal lives.

Agnieszka Nowakowska is not only a trained civil engineer, but above all a strong and independent woman who has successfully managed projects on an international scale. However, her life goal has become not only to develop her professional competence, but also to inspire other women to achieve their dreams and nurture their independence.

In this exclusive interview, Agnieszka Nowakowska shares her story, values and passion that drive her every day. She talks about her role in the Independent Woman Foundation, her involvement in organizing the Run for Independence, and convinces us that every woman is important and can achieve what she dreams of, regardless of adversity.

If you are curious about how Agnieszka Nowakowska combines professional success with family life, why running has become a symbol of independence, and what advice she has for other women who are striving to achieve their goals, we invite you to read this inspiring conversation.

How are you using your education today – you are a master’s degree in structural engineering – in Foundation activities? Does the masculine world in which you rotate on a daily basis provide an opportunity to put your feet firmly on the ground?

It certainly does. Years of working in a male environment have strengthened me and continue to strengthen me all the time. After all, in such a work environment, you have to show that you are better, stronger, more powerful, more effective, more efficient and more capable. Although, in fact, after all… women are just like that. This environment also requires a lot of work with ourselves – we need to constantly work on self-confidence, as we are often put to the test. In this context, openness and self-understanding are important, in my opinion. My entry into this tough male world was also definitely facilitated by my childhood – I grew up with three brothers and a sister. So male energy accompanied me from the beginning, I had to get used to it.

Read also: Ballet on the mat with Karolina Erdmann

Run for Independence
Photo: Anna Kajat

You also have experience managing large projects in an international environment – this work experience has certainly strengthened you even more.

It is true, my current experience helps me a lot I would like to emphasize here that we form an international community in the Foundation, and each of us is professionally active on a daily basis. Therefore, when managing the Foundation, it is not uncommon for me to face greater challenges than the previous ones. Let’s remember that each of us works in the Foundation pro bono, and it is important to take care of the high self-motivation of each Volunteer, take care of their work comfort, recovery time and nurture our mission.

My Girls, as I call them, are wonderful, smart, talented Women who know why they are in the Foundation. I can always count on them.

So you are a woman for special tasks and a multitasker – how do you balance professional roles with family life as a mother and wife? How do you find a balance between these life roles?

I can say with full satisfaction that I have completed Kamila Rowinskaya’s training – “Maximum Productivity”. It always seemed to me that I manage to reconcile a lot of things, but after this course I feel that I really have superpowers in this area. What is important in my opinion, however, is not only the organization, but also the attitude. You have to love yourself and accept yourself. It is also necessary to say to oneself: I am most important to myself. I would also like to emphasize that I have very strong support from my husband in this process, who understands that what I do and my professional development are important to me. He realizes that the Foundation is my mission, he sees that I live it. In my opinion, however, it is also important to support each other. It is important to have space to notice the other party’s efforts. The same is true with children – they too know what is important to me, what my values and priorities are, and why I take specific actions. We talk about it a lot. It seems to me that not every woman lavishes such attitudes at home. We women still live in the belief that no one can manage at home as well as we can – we don’t want to be bailed out. “I have to be at home, with the children, cook dinner, put in the laundry, pack the children for school” are very common words I hear from women in our country. And I will say this: a happy and fulfilling woman/mother/wife is a happy family.

Read also: In search of female power

Running for independence
Photo: Anna Kajat

Is this also the motto of the Independent Woman’s Foundation, which you co-manage? How do you see the foundation’s mission in supporting women in their professional lives?

The founder of the Foundation is Kamila Rowińska and together we manage the Foundation. The Foundation’s primary mission is to educate women, support their self-development and strengthen their mental and financial independence. We are primarily concerned with building women’s independence and self-confidence. It’s an attitude we work on all our lives – the higher level we reach in this area, the more challenging situations we face. Self-confidence, however, is not only connected with challenges – it also opens new doors for us, shows us the whole spectrum of possibilities. So the Foundation’s mission is to put women at the center, to make them realize that they are important – for themselves, here and now. Over time, a woman’s subjectivity, her materiality as a person, becomes naturally noticeable to others.

You are also breaking existing patterns as a Foundation.

We are breaking the notion that only a woman can raise children, that she is the only one who takes care of the house and the man goes to work. And in this context I was reminded of how my colleague and I once met at work over the weekend and he said: I came to rest. The sad thing is that women’s work in the home becomes noticeable, important and difficult when a man undertakes it himself, isn’t it?

Oh, yes, parental leave is then no longer seen as a vacation… The Foundation puts the woman at the center – through its activities, it empowers women in their daily lives. What values are most important to you in these activities?

Everything that I follow in the work of the Foundation is also inextricably linked to my life values. And I put health first. I mean good sleep, relaxation, time for yourself, time to go to the beautician, time for regular checkups, visits to the dentist. It is also important to be active in sports, go for a walk, bike or go to the pool. Coffee with a friend is just as important as going out for a beer of the opposite sex. These are all areas of importance to a woman’s health. Mental health, physical health, but also spiritual life.

First, we put an oxygen mask on ourselves.

Exactly so – because if I am healthy (physically, mentally and spiritually), everything at home works. If I start to get sick, I suddenly find that it stops working.

Read also: Modern faith – Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, atheism – who believes, what and why?

Run for Independence
Photo: Anna Kajat

So we take care of our health on many levels. What’s next?

Next we have the issue of development. Inner permission to develop myself allows me to grow in many fields, to build confidence. I would compare female development to the stages that young children follow: crawling, then learning to walk, the first steps – increasingly confident and finally running. In this process, it is good to be aware of our strengths and those weaker, but most importantly, what we are good at, efficient and effective. It is better to focus on our own strengths and learn to treat weaknesses as something that does not hinder us in our development. The family is an important complement for me personally in this context, but I believe that in this area every woman has the right to decide for herself. If he doesn’t want to start a family, he has the right to do so. He doesn’t have to do anything. Decisions about personal life are up to us.

That’s what independence is.

Independence is based on health and development. This, in turn, underpins security. And again we are back to square one – all values are interrelated. Courage also plays a very important role here – you need to cultivate it in yourself. I’ll go back to the example of the child here – if the child didn’t have the courage to stand on its own feet, it would have been crawling all its life. So all the rest follows. Harmony is achieved by taking care of each of these spaces, each of the values. It’s also worth noting that our courage, which each of us has in us, is often suppressed – the world doesn’t like brave women, men don’t like it, and they know that women are often braver than they are. Courage is naturally followed by independence.

Women can also look to each other for support. The Independent Woman Foundation groups women together – creating community and support groups. What do you think are the benefits of such initiatives, especially in the contemporary context?

I will refer to the film “Barbie”, which I am delighted with. One of my colleagues summed up his message beautifully – women recharge each other in feminine energy, and men recharge each other in their groups, in masculine energy. And it is very important to maintain a balance in this regard. I believe that women should support each other, because only they really understand how difficult it is to be a woman, how demanding it is, how much courage it requires. Women’s communities are therefore crucial for me. The Foundation itself is already a beautiful community. I see how girls develop amazingly, how it is in the women’s environment that they gain courage, nurture this energy and grow in it. They start with small things and then become bolder and bolder. Our message is: accept yourself and see that this acceptance radiates outward.

Let’s talk about plans – what are some further ideas for foundation activities?

We want to create women’s communities to cheer each other on as we grow. We want to showcase women who support women’s groups locally. We conduct some of this online – for some women this gives them anonymity, a chance to peek at us and decide with peace of mind whether they want to act too. As for specific events, in addition to our regular ones, for September we are preparing a project on negotiations, we are launching “Challenge.” In October we are focusing on development, and in November we will talk about addiction and codependency.

When we take care of our energy, awaken our courage, we can put into practice your life motto: Be afraid and do! No risk, no fun!

Change can be difficult and challenging – concerns are normal. The important thing is to act in spite of everything, to cultivate courage. In doing so, I accept the possibility of failure. Perhaps there was just something not mine? I also draw conclusions. One of the participants of our meetings said something very interesting: I like failures because they teach me the most. Failure is a strong word, but accepting it gives us the opportunity to choose a different path.

What do you see as the biggest obstacles to women’s equality today? What’s worth looking into?

In my opinion, it is necessary to make men aware that we are not a threat to them, that we are a support for them and their great potential. The same thing is basically worth telling women – to come out from a different point, to change their attitude both at home and at work. Women also need to be convinced that they are equal, that they have the same rights, including for development. Let’s use our potential and create something beautiful together. We have examples of such couples – for example. Ania and Robert Lewandowski or Malgorzata and Radoslaw Majdan. Each of them realizes independently, but they support each other. This is an attitude and a beautiful inspiration that our Foundation wants to promote.

The foundation also promotes independence through physical activity. Let’s talk about the Run for Independence.

The run is something absolutely wonderful, which has received an extremely positive response, including from men. The intention of the Run is to show that for us, women’s independence is important. It is open to everyone to participate. The run is a form of communication, of showing: hey, we are for you, we connect with you, you can join us and help others.

Many women, as far as I know, started their physical activity just with the Run for Independence.

That’s right! Running is a beautiful activity that can be the start of something important – it makes us relieve stress, feel happier, often be more efficient, sleep better, have a better metabolism, and – very importantly – show that we can do it.

The run is a fraction of a larger project.

This is part of the year-long project “Challenge” during which we shape women’s self-confidence, focus on change, getting off the beaten track. Interestingly, over the past few years, the “Challenge” project has also proven to be of interest to men who join with women in this journey to independence. I encourage you to participate. We are launching the project as early as September.

Our conversation began with the fact that the base of our self-confidence is our health, and we circled the loop – because, after all, the Run for Independence is also a run for health. Why, other than to attend this event?

To participate in the Run for Independence is to show that you are important to yourself, it is also to support other women and benefit from their energy. Because together we can do more! Let’s dare and try it, give ourselves a chance. No risk, no fun!

Read also: Life is the sum of the people you meet – interview with Maria Potocka

Run for Independence
Photo: Anna Kajat

Agnieszka Nowakowska, Director of Sales and Head of Development at an international renewable energy company. A professionally fulfilling mother and wife. Her message in life is to take care of yourself and your femininity, both on a physical and mental level. He believes that each of us is important and unique. It was this conviction that led her to take on the role of vice president of the Independent Woman’s Foundation.

The Independent Woman’s Foundation works in the field of developing women’s professional competence and creating local support networks for them. Among its key goals are activating and developing women’s talents and encouraging the continuous development of their own competence.


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