This Monday it is time for the Events Manager of ESN, Hanneke together with the Marketing Manager, Andreea to talk about their Board experience. Enjoy!
Best event in ESN:
A: The first thing that comes to my mind is Summer Introduction Days. It was the first time we had to work together, and we pulled the event off quite well. The second favorite activity is our CoBo, because we bonded a lot and this one resembled a normal board year the most.
H: I agree with your picks, Summer Introduction Days were awesome. But I would pick an online event that was successful. For example, collaborations with other associations. I will always remember the successful online events because organizing them was such a big part of my board year.
Best experience in ESN:
H: As a board member my best experience was talking to partners. I loved getting to know all the different people who play a part within ESN. And how about you Andreea?
A: From a marketing perspective it is getting to know the brand and work with it. That is, exploring the brand through my vision while making sure that all the marketing materials align with the mission of ESN Rotterdam. I had to strategize a lot and I made quite some mistakes at the beginning. Nobody really noticed it because I would double and triple check everything all the time. Before ESN I was not detail oriented, but I am that now.
Responsibilities within ESN:
H: Well of course the first one would be organizing events. There have to be enough events and also a great variety of events. In addition supervising your committees is a big responsibility. At the beginning I was struggling with delegating tasks because I love to do everything myself. But this is something I really learned this year. And the third responsibility is that you have to represent that brand and you have to like being ‘social’. What about you?
A: The name of the position says it all, first branding ESN. Thus, my main responsibility was working on the brand and making sure we distinguish ourselves from other student organizations or ESN sections. Then coordinating committees and making sure that everyone knows what is happening and what they have to do. This was quite a challenge because I was also following my Master courses. I really tried to empower my committee members and help them develop their skills. At the same time, I was there to double check everything. So sometimes I was kind of a ‘policewoman’. The third responsibility would be expanding on the capabilities of the committees and my position. For example, I organized a Photoshop event which was new to me. I prefer being behind the scenes.
Part- time vs Full- time:
A: I am a part- time board member and I have great organizational skills, which is key. Time management is very important, but it was still a challenge. You want to do more and keep expanding on the brand. You had a full-time position, how is that?
H: Events Manager is always a full-time position. I really wanted to focus on only being a board member. Most of my time was spent coordinating committees because events did not take up as much time as usual. Time management was not an issue for me, but I did have issues with creativity. In a normal year you have to be at ESN Tuesdays every week and at all the events which makes it very busy. If everything is online, you have to be on Zoom quite a lot.
H: Of course sometimes I think about what would be possible in a normal year but on the other side I have an extraordinary year. How many people can actually say they organized this number of online events? This year was all about changing your plans all the time. And how was this year for you?
A: For marketing it did not change a lot this year. It became even more I would say. We improved quite a lot on our social media presence- for example, we have three Instagram accounts now. Additionally, we expanded our professional side by creating content for our LinkedIn account. Some new platforms that we use now are Tiktok and a Podcast.
H: I coordinate three committees, namely City Trip, Social and Social Inclusion. They are really fun to lead because they are very different in their own way. The Social committee is a given because they help out with all the ESN Tuesdays and the bigger parties. This year we had a lot of Online Tuesdays. With the City Trip committee you organize a city trip each month. This year we made a lot of social media content related to various city trip destinations. Last but not least, the Social Inclusion committee. This committee really shows how versatile ESN is. It is all about volunteering and giving back to the community. In general I am very proud of all my committees because we had so many restrictions. Your committees are also pretty predetermined, can you tell something about that?
A: The ESN Marketing Manager always coordinates the Marketing Committee and the Content Committee. I was very lucky with my committees because they made my life a lot easier. They are very versatile in terms of their vision. We grew up a lot together considering the ESN brand. I also gave them a lot of freedom.
Strengthening the Committee bonds:
A: I always try to be a friend first and then a board member. We always have an informal part of our meetings where we discuss very mundane subjects. For Committee bonding I organized an online Christmas music bingo, which was really fun. Moreover, I always make sure everyone is fine personally and professionally.
Interesting enough, talking with the Communication Manager on the national level and attending the community meetings helps me out a lot. By discussing my challenges with other ESN Marketing Managers I know that other people are going through the same. How does the national network help you?
H: Very good that you mention the national network, because this is something that not a lot of people know. There are national platforms where you meet other sections in the Netherlands. It is really nice to talk to other Events Managers to see what they are organizing and how they overcome their problems. This also gives a lot of opportunities to have collaborations. We organized events with Dutch sections but also internationally. What do you think is the best part of the network?
Beginning vs now:
H: The beginning of my year was very interesting because a lot changed at the last moment. So without any experience I had to organize all these intricate events together with my board. I became better at reaching out to people because I noticed that most people are very keen to work together. I learned what works and what does not work. And what about you?
A: If I would go back and talk to myself from 7 months ago, I would probably tell Andreea that she should not stress. Also do not postpone events too often. Moreover, I would tell her that it is going to be alright because #THISisESN. We did our best for sure and by helping others we help ourselves as well.
Would you still choose to be a board member:
A: Yes, I would have done it anyway. I was really curious about the ESN brand and I wanted to take on a challenge. I am not sure if I would change anything, like physical events would be better but I developed myself a lot. The teamwork is so great so I would not exchange it for something else. But what everyone wants to know is would you do it again?
H: Yes, no doubt. I could also have done my Master now which I would not enjoy at all, because everything would be on Zoom. This is the only year that I can have an online board experience. I think especially now people need something to be distracted from all the regulations. Of course, I would rather have a real ESN Tuesdays than an online Tuesdays. With all the knowledge that I have today I would still do it.
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