Anna Gumbau for Comité Directeur: “I’m ready to improve the communications in AEGEE, to support and to motivate our members and to keep rocking together!”

A passion for communication and a love for AEGEE have convinced Anna Gumbau, AEGEE-Barcelona, to apply for becoming a new member of the Comité Directeur. Public Relations and Communications or Projects is the way! Read on to find out more about the candidate! 

The AEGEEan: Describe Anna Gumbau. How old are you? Where are you from? What do you study? How about your future aspirations?

Anna: I am a 22-year-old girl from Premià de Mar (a town near Barcelona), who recently graduated in Journalism. This has been my biggest passion in life since I was a kid, and for the past six years I gained quite a lot of work experience contributing in several media platforms in local and regional level. My dream is to keep writing, travelling, reading, writing and still write a little more and pursue a career in news reporting somewhere in this world. In the meantime, I am now a CD Assistant at the AEGEE-Europe Headoffice in Brussels!

Now describe just Anna. Who are you? How is your personality? What is your way of thinking and of living?

Anna is one of those people who are constantly dreaming awake. In the AEGEE teams I have worked in, I have been usually described as the “fluffy puffy” teddy bear, others call me “cuqui” [a Spanish word pronounced like “cookie”, which means something like “sweetie”] so you might get yourself an idea. I would describe myself as someone caring, idealistic, a good listener, extremely clumsy, and enthusiastic. As for my way of thinking, a very good friend of mine from AEGEE-Barcelona told me once that “positive thinking makes things happen”, and since then I adopted it as my personal motto. I always try to show passion and enthusiasm at what I do, and try to have a smile on my face for everyone!

What is your experience in AEGEE?

I joined in the end of 2011, even if I didn’t get active until summer 2012, when I got back from my first Summer University and started to get involved with AEGEE-Barcelona, for which I have been board member for two years and been main organiser of two of our biggest events, a Summer University with AEGEE-Las Palmas and the Fundraising European School 2014.

It was at Agora Budapest 2012 when I got to know about AEGEE’s European projects and initiatives, so I started to get involved in The AEGEEan, first as a freelance writer, then as editor, and spent a challenging but awesome year as editor-in-chief of the magazine, probably the most challenging but amazing of the projects I have ever been involved.

Now, besides being still part of The AEGEEan’s team, my main task is being the responsible for the 30th Anniversary Conference that will be taking place in Brussels this May, as well as part of the Election Observation Project’s team (as Fundraising Manager and Mission Coordinator to Moldova, in November 2014).

What does a CD member do that you find interesting?

I find the idea of taking the leadership of an organisation such as AEGEE something really amazing. We have achieved and we are still able to achieve so much, we have so many fascinating projects and initiatives, and a role as key stakeholders on youth. I am really enthusiastic about the idea of working and devoting one year to AEGEE, to the development of the organisation, and to support our motivated and inspiring members!

Why are you applying for this position?

I am applying for member of the Comité Directeur, and more concretely, for Public Relations and Communications or Projects, because I have a vision for this organisation and ideas that I would like to implement. The current CD has made a big effort on improving the internal communication within the organisation, and I would like to keep rowing this way and to strengthen our communication and make AEGEE a platform for discussion. Moreover, I would like to strengthen AEGEE’s external communication, since it is key for our own image, relationship with partners and even funding opportunities. However, what has pushed me to run for the Comité Directeur is the idea of giving something back to AEGEE, and to support our members. AEGEEans themselves are my main source of motivation, and what has kept me energised in this organisation these past years. AEGEE is a place where I have felt home from the very beginning, and I feel the responsibility of giving something back!

How have you prepared your candidature?

The idea of running for the Comité Directeur was in my head for a while already, especially after talking with a few former CD members who are close friends of mine and who have inspired me a lot. The last “drop” that made me decide to run for it was this January, when I arrived to the Headoffice to become an assistant. It made me feel 100% sure that I was ready for it! I have been trying to follow very closely what the current CD was working on, and the initiatives and topics they were dealing with, and this was a sort of preparation to me. I must admit that, with so many projects I was working on and the Anniversary preparations going on, I couldn’t think as much as I would have wanted before actually writing my program down. I simply started brainstorming all the things that thought that needed some improvement, and the ones I think I have the skills to actually improve and pursue. In any case, I had a clear vision of what I wanted from the start, which made things much easier.

What makes you most proud of you programme?

Bringing communication back as a priority in the association. In terms of internal communication, I want to strive for transparency and to ensure that our members are well-informed what these seven people in the CD are doing in Brussels, as well as to strengthen the dialogue with our members and locals. As I said, I also feel ready to strengthen and to improve our external communication – I believe we do have a strong potential in this and we can make AEGEE more visible. We have a strong and renewed identity, now let’s show that we do things that matter! Lastly, public relations is something that several locals struggle with, so I would like to offer as much support as possible in this sense.

Do you think you have enough passion, knowledge, attitude and time to cover this role?

I definitely think so, and after being at the Headoffice in Brussels for over two months, I am now sure that I am ready, as I have been witnessing the everyday work of the current Comité Directeur and assisting them with some tasks! I have always tried to give the best and I am a curious learner, which I think is a really necessary attitude. Concerning my knowledge about AEGEE, I have been involved for over two and a half years as part of The AEGEEan’s team, so I have been following the news in the AEGEE world for long, and got to know the processes that the organisation is involved in quite well. And, about the passion… I feel grateful every single day for the opportunities I got since I am in AEGEE. It has become such an important thing in my life that I truly feel like devoting one year of my life to it!

Would you vote for yourself if you could? Why?

This is a very tricky question, because even if I am well aware of my strengths, I also know my weaknesses very well. Moreover, I am running against other six really qualified and well-prepared candidates, so before voting I would have to take that into consideration anyway. I believe in my own ideas and in my programme, so I probably would – however, I still have to check with AEGEE-Barcelona who we are voting for, as I happen to be a delegate at the Agora!

What happens if you are elected?

I think it would take me a while to actually realise it – as I said, there are so many strong and well-prepared candidates running for the Comité Directeur that it is totally unpredictable! Luckily, many of my closest AEGEE friends and active members from AEGEE-Barcelona will be there, so I would share such a special moment with them. Then I would immediately get my feet back on the ground and spend a few more months in Barcelona, while also preparing the 30th Anniversary conference in Brussels. Then, in July I would be moving again to the European capital (and moving to Belgium for the third time in two years…), with the total motivation to start a new and exciting challenge!

And what if you are not elected?

I prefer not making myself too many expectations concerning my candidature… if I don’t get elected, I would obviously feel a bit disappointed at first (human nature, I guess). However, I would immediately focus again in the preparations for the 30 years of AEGEE, as I want to make sure that the conference in Brussels is nearly perfect. I would stay as a member of the Election Observation Project, too, and I would do my best to keep rocking it!

Moreover, even if I have been active in AEGEE for quite some time, I think there is still LOTS for me to learn and I would surely find some new goals and challenges. As I said in another recent interview, you never know which opportunities will be knocking at your door. In case I won’t get elected, I am not sure where I will be – maybe I will do my Master’s in Barcelona, maybe I will move elsewhere and start a European Voluntary Service. Regardless the outcome of the elections, I will still be around for some time!

Why is this election important to you?

I wouldn’t lie if I said that these elections are really important and I think about it more than I should [she smiles]. Being in the Comité Directeur has been seen as many as a life-changing experience, so it is not something that you can just decide overnight. It is something I have wanted for long and, as I said before, I would feel really excited about the possibility of giving back to AEGEE what it has given to me. And I have always loved Brussels, and the chocolate and the fries and the beer. The idea of just moving back to Belgium is a big step forward, and would be amazing!

Written by Karina A. Silivas, AEGEE-Udine