She is a fearless woman who is at the epicenter of change. Meet Eka Gigauri, the Executive Director of Transparency International Georgia. The country is under constant change and Eka is at the forefront of checks and balances in her role.  Eka was earlier working in Governmental, Non-governmental and private sectors, mainly in the fields of Foreign Relations (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs). She is a former Deputy head of the Border Police of Georgia. She is a lawyer and a Stanford University Democracy and Development Programme fellow. I am speaking to her today on how she stands up to constant physical and emotional pressure from aggressive political leaders trying to get her to give up her campaign efforts.

How would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as an active woman who is always at the epicenter of important events and is not afraid of new challenges.

You are the Head of Transparency International Georgia. How did you choose this path for your career?

The main motivator for me while choosing this path was to do an important job for my country and society.

You are “fearless” in your current position. Help us walk in your shoes and understand where you get the strength from.

Sometimes you are very tired both physically and emotionally because political leaders are attacking and trying to make you give up what you do. This is the moment you realise that you are doing it right and have concrete results. Sometimes total strangers approach in the streets and thank me for what I am doing. This gives me so much strength and motivates me even more to stick to what I do. 

The main motivator for me while choosing this path was to do an important job for my country and society.

What excites you when you wake up every morning?

My exceptional team, that I am very proud of. Starting each day by planning the following days and weeks with them is great excitement for me. 

Global Girl She The People Elsamarie

Share some examples where you have made a difference in your country and community?

Being a civil society leader in Georgia today is one of the most remarkable things I can do for my country as we live in a time when a strong and independent civil society is crucial for a country’s democratic development. There was a time when most of Georgia’s population did not have access to the critical media outlets that resulted in the fact that they did not have the chance to see the big picture of what was the political situation in their country. By advocating this access very actively, we made it possible and that was the year when the opposition won with a majority in the elections.  

Another important change that I have contributed to was eliminating corruption in the Border Police of Georgia while working as a deputy head. 

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What are some of the challenges you face? How do you overcome them?

I think that sometimes I do not have enough time and I am able to do more. But considering that each resource is limited I am prioritizing my tasks. 

Being a civil society leader in Georgia today is one of the most remarkable things I can do for my country as we live in a time when a strong and independent civil society is crucial for a country’s democratic development.

How do you manage self-care? Do you believe in work-life balance or integration? What are some of the strategies you adopt?

I can not say that I am very good at maintaining work-life balance as I spend 90 percent of my time working. 

Do you consider yourself a “Global Girl”? Why?

I do consider myself as a Global Girl as I always try to advocate for the important changes in my country not only on the national but on the international level as well, just like all the active women worldwide who are striving for better changes. 

What is the advice you would give your 16-year-old self?

Learn more! And use what you learn in practice, otherwise the learning process will not seem to be productive. Learn from your mistakes! Only those who work make mistakes, this is why making mistakes is not a problem. Do not be afraid of anything and always remember “What does not kill us makes us stronger!”.

What are the three values you think are most important for a global leader?

Personal bravery, hard work and the ability to create a good team.

What’s next for Eka Gigauri?

Taking up new challenges and testing myself into the new spheres. 

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