A composite image of Miglė Zdanevičiūtė and her younger self.


Letter to my younger self: Migle Zdaneviciute

In a letter to mark Women’s History Month, Relationship Support Manager, Migle Zdaneviciute, shares her story of beating the odds to earn a place on Lithuania’s rhythmic gymnastics team as a child and outlines how the soft skills she developed through sport help her excel in her role at Barclays.

Dear Migle,

You'll prove all those who doubted you wrong. When you start rhythmic gymnastics at the age of seven, you’ll be bullied by your peers and they'll encourage you to quit. Little do they know, you're about to show them what true determination looks like.

Gymnastics will set you on an extraordinary path. Your mum will be your biggest role model and she’ll remind you that reality won’t be as bad as the fears in your head. You’ll persevere and push yourself harder – arriving before class and staying behind after to learn as much as you can.

At 12 years old, you’ll make Lithuania’s national team.

Training six hours a day alongside school will leave little time for a ‘normal’ childhood. Your trainer will be a huge influence. You’ll clash at times, but this will only bring you closer. When you compete, the joy of performing, the anticipation of the audience and the thrill of it all will make you believe that anything is possible.

Baby Migle is held by her smiling mother.

Migle with her mother, around 1996.

Migle in action at a gymnastics competition.

16-year-old Migle at a competition in Vilnius, Lithuania. Image credit: Augustas Cetkauskas.

At 17, you’ll be at a crossroads: stick with gymnastics or take an opportunity to study in France for a year. You decide it’s time to leave competing behind. Though adjusting to a new place will be difficult, you’ll grow up so much in France. By the end, you’ll have met one of your closest friends, learned a new language and satisfied your love of history at countless museums. After that, you’ll coach gymnastics in Luxembourg and attend university there, studying Management.

During the summer holidays, you’ll start a gymnastics camp – combining your love of the sport with your interpersonal skills. You’ll enforce a zero-tolerance bullying policy to make sure others don’t have the same experiences you did.

Gymnastics will teach you about teamwork and you’ll learn the power of persistence from your mum – both skills which are crucial for your career. After a few years working in finance, you’ll land a role at Barclays in Luxembourg as a Relationship Support Manager. You’ll be so thankful to your manager for seeing your motivation and taking a chance on you. He’ll become a role model not only in work but in life. His kindness will help empower you to speak up if you don’t understand or agree with something. Everyone, no matter their job title, is a human being who has fears and biases. With a manager who believes in you, clients who support you and a workplace that recognises your hard work, you’ll thoroughly enjoy your job. Within your first year at the bank, you’ll be so proud when you win an award for being an inclusive leader.

This month is Women’s History Month, and as a history enthusiast, you understand the huge impact of women’s contributions to society. Think of the Egyptian pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut, who successfully ruled a male-dominated society – she shows us that even thousands of years ago, women were proving themselves in positions of authority. Women must never underestimate their abilities.  

So, always remember to be brave, and if you fail, try again.


Migle with a flower bouquet in an assembly hall.

Migle at her graduation ceremony in 2019.

Migle leaping through the air in front of a waterfall.

“Women must never underestimate their abilities,” says Migle. Image credit: Vaida Budiakiene.

Need to know

Migle Zdaneviciute had an impressive career in rhythmic gymnastics from the age of 12 and participated in four European Championships while on Lithuania’s national team. As an adult, Migle set up her own training camp and began coaching the sport. She graduated from the University of Luxembourg in 2019 with a degree in Management. She joined Barclays in Luxembourg in 2021 as a Relationship Support Manager and received an award for being an inclusive leader in 2022. 

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