Olga Rivero for NetCom: “Working as a Netcommie requires two important ingredients: commitment and experience”

Olga Rivero, member of AEGEE-Oviedo, is currently subcommissioner of NetCom Assistant Carmen María López, but in Autumn Agora Cagliari she’ll be taking the stage to present her candidature as Network Commissioner. She has many ideas on how to improve our Network in mind, and she is sharing some of her thoughts with The AEGEEan.

Please, first of all, introduce yourself! Who is Olga Rivero?

I’m a biotechnologist specialized in Microbiology that was born in Oviedo (North of Spain) almost 23 years ago. I lived there until one year ago, when I moved to Madrid to finish my studies and start looking for a job. I love music (I have played the piano for almost my whole life), travelling (big news, ha?), TV series (I’m a big fan of Breaking Bad, Friends and Modern Family) and films (thumbs up if you have watched all Woody Allen movies like me!).

How and why did you join AEGEE?

The most remarkable thing is that I’m not the typical pre-Summer University case as you might think. My best friend introduced me into the AEGEE world after some months talking about it constantly everytime we met. It was during summer when I told myself, “as soon as this academic year starts, I will stop by some meeting of this AEGEE thing and see what’s going on”. And that’s what I did… And from that 10th September 2010, I have never ever been able to stop working for our association!

You decided to run for Network Commissioner after being subcommissioner – what made you take the decision?

Ever since I became interested in the thematic bodies of AEGEE and started going to Statutory events, I knew that the role of a Network Commissioner was the most inspiring and suitable for me. That’s why I decided to take the first step by becoming Subcommissioner of Pauline Letard, and later of NetCom Assistant Carmen María López. As I could prove during all these months, I wasn’t wrong about my perception of a Netcommie, and since my motivation kept growing and growing and I felt more confident and prepared everyday, I asked myself: why not running for the position?

What did you learn from the time being Pauline’s and Carmen María’s subcommissioner?

I have to say: almost everything! They are both passionate people about AEGEE and have a common basic way of working, even though they have a very different way of developing their tasks. Both of them have taught me how the work of La Tripulación is (that’s how the team in charge of La Nave is called) and which are the responsibilities and duties of being a NetCom, how to organise myself as part of this team and give priority to the most important tasks when there’s a lot of work to do and how to be practical and analyze a problem from the inside and the outside. They have been my mentors throughout the year, and I really owe a lot of things to both of them. For this new experience, I’m taking the best of what I’ve learnt when them for working in a new way with a new team!

You say that your priority is to take the same locals and keep working with La Nave. Which are the strengths and the weaknesses of this region, from your experience?

From my point of view, the greatest strenght of La Nave is that every local feels close to each other and cooperates a lot helping out when there’s a problem, organising trainings and SUs together and trying to develop new ways of keeping on growing. I think that every antenna in La Nave rows in the same direction and loves being part of an area that has been moving on together for quite a long time.

The worst weakness of La Nave may be that not every antenna is able to grow and develop at the same rhythm, and while some are getting bigger and more successful every day, others find it difficult to stay active and recruit new members because of different reasons that sometimes are attached to the country (the reasons are not the same in Portugal than in France, for example, or in a big city and a smaller city). Other big weakness for me is fundraising because of economic crisis in our countries.

With subcommissioner Pablo Ruiz

Which vision do you have of the work of the NetCom?

For me, working as a Netcommie requires two important ingredients: commitment and experience. It’s a very demanding position, for which you have to be aware that you need to be very accessible and willing to work a lot. The duty of a NetCom is helping to solve every small situation that comes along the way of each local and taking the right steps to fight against their weaknesses, and also helping the Network to grow as such, cooperating with the Comité Directeur and with the rest of European bodies. From my point of view, all of this can only be achieved by a team that has already gone through a lot of AEGEE life and has a background that allows them to think out of the box!

And what is going to be your top priority as Network Commissioner?

As I said, focusing in making every local’s weaknesses disappear or, at least, diminish. Some of the problems are common between antennae, and there are some strategies (such as HR or Fundraising) that can be developed.

Do you already have a team of subcommissioners? And do you plan to have French and Portuguese subcommies, too?

Yes! My team is not specifically closed, but I already have the name of most of the people that will take part of my team. Iker Iraizoz (AEGEE-Valladolid), Marta Martínez (AEGEE-Santander) and Pablo Ruiz (AEGEE-Zaragoza), who have already been subcommies for some months, and three new incorporations: Sora Chung (AEGEE-Alicante), Léa Charlet (AEGEE-Paris) and Inana Namet (AEGEE-Toulouse). This six people have a lot of things in common: they are highly experienced,  locally and within organisational bodies of AEGEE, they are full of motivation and have so many interesting ideas. And the best thing is that they are going to work in the same direction to become the best Tripulación team ever. So, as you can see, there are two frenchies in the team, but still no Portuguese. So if any Portuguese or anybody from this area wants to join the team, don’t hesitate to approach me!

There is also another candidate for NetCom coming from the same region, Rubén Puras (AEGEE-Burgos). Would you be willing to take another region if both of you are elected?

In my opinion, this is a difficult decision that has to be thought carefully. I think it’s not that much about what a candidate wants, but more about what each area needs (remember that regions don’t exist as such). I have worked with La Nave locals, and working with other antennae would mean lack of possibility of meeting the locals so easily and difficulty for going to LTCs or NWMs… I absolutely know that a lot of people have worked with an area which is not theirs and it has been great, but I’m not sure if that’s the best option when it comes to quality and efficiency of the work.

What about the time you will be able to dedicate? Your antenna will be organising the Spring AgorAsturias. How much time will it take that from your NetCom tasks, if elected?

Right now I’m lending a hand in a laboratory with no fixed schedule and this will go on at least until February and March, when I may have a little bit more work. So, for the first months I will be totally focused on this and won’t do anything more until I’m used to the NetCom work rhythm. Since I’m living in Madrid right now, I’m not very involved in the AgorAsturias preparation and just giving a hand in the things I can while living outside my region, so that is not something that will be time consuming for me.

There’s always the saying about the “gap between the local and European level”, what is your opinion on that?

Well, I think that in the end the European level is formed by people from the Local level which are organizing some project or developing some new ideas for all the network and not just their Antennae.  The only thing that has to be improved is the way some people that have worked a lot in the local level see the step that they have to take to start getting involved in the European Level. That step doesn’t exist at all if there’s motivation, ideas, and commitment. European level just takes a little bit more of responsibility and experience (and, of course, good Internet connection!), that’s all!

And if so, how do you plan to bring locals closer?

By encouraging them to organise common events (SUs, RTCs…) and by developing a Mentorship System for new, developing or weak locals (and give to these locals special help so they can fulfill the Antennae Criteria), asking some experienced member from a close antenna or even from that antenna to help the local through administrative issues, conflict resolution and other things that they might need, and also for seasoned locals that might have any kind of problem at a specific moment, as an exchange of Good Practises between Antennae.

Written by Anna Gumbau, AEGEE-Barcelona