Since a few weeks ago, Ander Guerrero Ruiz, AEGEE-Zaragoza, is living in the house of the Comité Directeur (CD) in Brussels as an assistant. Apparently, he likes it so much that he now will run for the position of Financial Director (FD) for the next term. The AEGEEan talked to Ander about his candidature, his qualifications and his future plans.
Ander: That is something normal, when you are part of such a big organisation like AEGEE, where every year a lot of members join. I will try to do it: I am a positive, idealistic, down-to-earth, smiling guy from Zaragoza (Spain) who really believes in the potential of AEGEE and who expects to improve the association next year in Brussels.
You are running for Financial Director. Please present your programme in one sentence!
I want to continue ensuring the financial stability of AEGEE in the short and long-term in order to keep on carrying out our activities, looking for more funds and using them wisely, and also dedicating my time and ideas to increase our activities.
When and why did you come up with the idea to run for a position within the Comité Directeur? Why did you pick the position of Financial Director specifically?
Being part of the CD has always appealed to me, saying anything else would be lying. However, I’m quite realistic and I knew that I couldn’t candidate for it until I finished my studies in Spain, because I am undertaking an intensive and restrictive studying programme and I cannot stop them like in other countries or for other bachelors. I have always said that if one day I would finally apply, I would do it either for External Relations or for Financial Director since I feel prepared and motivated for both. However, during the meeting for possible candidates we had with the CD during the European Planning Meeting (EPM) Burgos, nobody else from the members wanted to run for FD. I know how important and what a risk not having any candidate for FD is, so the next day I talked with Ioana (current FD) and I saw it (even more) clearly. Also, being FD is not just managing money or accounting. When you are the Financial Director, you are also a member of the CD, so you are in charge of more responsibilities, projects, activities, etc., which is, I think, the most important part of the position and where you really can contribute to improve AEGEE internally and externally.
Since the 25th of February you are assisting the CD in terms of finances and you are even living in Brussels right now. What did you learn in the past weeks and how do you think this will help you if you are elected as the next Financial Director?
Yes, I am currently Fundraising Assistant of the CD. However, I am also helping Ioana with finances, which enables me to already start learning about some tasks of the position of Financial Director. But, as I said before, being a CD member involves much more, especially office work, which is the part that regular members do not see when they think of CD work. So yes, this may give me a chance, but I really want to believe that if I am elected, it is because members trust on me, they realise how motivated I am and they think I can be a good CD member.
First, for sure my studies in Business Management. During six years, I have had several subjects related with the position of FD (accounting, budgeting, finances, etc.). Now is time to go from the theoretical part to the practical part. With a good Knowledge Transfer for sure I will make it. Second, also related to my studies and my internship, is that these extra activities have given me a lot of patient working with some tasks that I have to do and I didn’t like at all. The same can be applied to some people. Third, I have undertaken several trainings and courses that have boosted my presentation and training skills. When you are a member of the CD you have to attend meetings or facilitate workshops.
In your programme, you state that you plan to “remove the prejudice that finances are complicated and boring [which] will encourage our members to be more interested in the topic“. How exactly are you intending to do that?
Is it clear that for a lot of people everything related with finances, accounting or budgeting sounds ‘like Chinese’ and does not catch their interest. But this is not true: accounting is sexy! Jokes aside, it is important for members to realise, for the internal purposes of the organisation and for their personal lives, that a correct management of finances is essential. But in terms of the internal performance of the organisation it is even more important for everybody to understand where the money comes from and for what it is used; otherwise, false prejudices and myths are created and members get confused about what their money is used for. To achieve my goal and avoid people sleeping during the plenary while the FD is explaining the financial report, we should be slower and explain in a way everybody can understand it. The current FD explained in Agora Cagliari in a closer way to the members, which I really liked and appreciated. That is the way. Trying to facilitate a few workshops in budgeting during Network Meetings (NWMs) or Agorae could be positive as well. But in this case, the only setback is time I’m afraid.
You state that right now is the perfect time for you to move to Brussels as a member of the CD since you are about to finish your studies. Do you have a plan B in case you are not elected? What is it?
Being in AEGEE has taught me that there is always an opportunity or an option, you just need to look for it. However, in this case, I am really looking forward to move to Brussels to be in the CD. It is the perfect timing, I feel prepared and motivated and my ideas can have some impact in the organisation. In the unlucky scenario I won’t be elected, I think I would go to an European Voluntary Service (EVS) or similar. It is time for a break from Spain (unless due to personal or family reasons something would attach me to my beloved Zaragoza). We are at the moment for doing what we love – to experiment and discover new things. My parents never had the opportunity to go to university or traveling while they were young, and they have sacrificed many things to support my brother and I in all ways, and they really encourage us to go and follow our dreams and to do something positive for society with our time and life as long as they can support us if needed. I really have a lot to thank them for, and I wouldn’t be here without their help and encouragement, so thanks! I really want to be part of the CD and achieve one of my dreams.
In your candidature you write a lot about your qualifications and ideas concerning becoming FD. But what about the work within a team, especially one in which the team members live so close with one another? Do you see any chances or challenges for yourself when it comes to working together with others?
For sure starting in a new team is a challenge, and living and working in the same house with different personalities and cultures can be a mess or a blessing. I was an Erasmus student, so I know the feeling. I know some candidates and I know I can do quite perfect with both. But, it is true that a few of the candidates I don’t know at all. However, I consider myself quite patient, tolerant and open-minded. You have to give something in order to win, and this case is the perfect example, respecting always some limits. Of course, there will be some challenges, this is not the perfect dream, but I would like to believe that I am quite transparent and honest towards the rest of the people, which is good in order to increase the trust between the team and achieve a better performance while working and living together. For sure the experience can be extreme in both ways, but the one who doesn’t take risks in this life doesn’t win at all. As always time will tell.
Written by Katja Sontag, AEGEE-Aachen