Behind the Doors of Rue du Noyer 55 – Anna’s view

By | February 24, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Comité Directeur | Tags: , , ,

Or the ‘“life as Communications Director of AEGEE-Europe”. Dealing with communications means dealing with a considerable amount of accounts, social media channels and even managing a few devices at once. However, that is not all! As the rest of the members of the Comité Directeur, I have other tasks, ranging from the European Planning Meeting (EPM), to European Union funding and some external representation.

At many of the events that AEGEE-Europe is hosting, there is always a girl silently walking around the venue with a camera in one hand and her mobile in the other, taking one picture after the other and, at the same time, tweeting everything that is being said at full speed. That person usually happens to be me, and sometimes I wish I had a few more arms to be more productive. Sometimes, our guests at the conference roll their eyes when they see me photographing them and I even heard them once say: “oh, that must be the random communications intern” (true story).

Anna MaryanaLeaving this anecdote aside, the role of a Communications Director is two-folded. On the one hand, we communicate the initiatives that take place around the Network to our members, as well as let them know about several external opportunities and processes that take place in European institutions. On the other hand, our duty is to ensure that our external partners, supporters and institutions are well aware of what the AEGEE Network is and what our daily work is. In (very) short, we make sure that what happens in AEGEE does not stay in our AEGEE ‘bubble’. This often poses a dilemma: which is the most effective tool to reach our members, and which ones we can use externally? These are questions where the border line is often rather blurry.

Managing the communications of AEGEE means being able to learn everyday something new about the several platforms that I am using – ranging from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Mailchimp, WordPress etc. It means planning and producing content on a daily basis, so I always try to take my 30 minutes of the day to plan the daily online communications. These are usually my creative minutes of the day, which I always enjoy. I also have my fun designing on a regular basis banners and promotional materials for AEGEE, creating the biweekly newsletter for members, and working closely with the Public Relations Committee.

I am also often in contact with external partners and try to find the best solution to promote each other in our different communication channels. Moreover, some online publications are also in contact with us: so far, content and news about AEGEE-Europe has been published in several international online media such as EurActiv, Euranet Plus, Europe & Me or the Study International magazine, and we partnered up with POLITICO Europe for the EU Studies Fair 2016. Ensuring that our activities gain external visibility in several media platforms was, in fact, one of the goals of our annual Activity Plan. And we seem to be on the right track!

Last but not least, when it comes strictly to communications, I got an unexpected gift during the task division: the AEGEE-Europe’s website, which is the biggest and messiest labyrinth I have ever gotten lost in. Broken links and restructuring information are some of the things that often take quite a lot of time… and nerves too. “Any time that I hear Anna swearing in Catalan, I can immediately know that she is dealing with the website”, Pablo [Hernández, External Relations Director] usually says, “and sometimes she gets quite scary”.

Coordinating the communications… and not only

With the Content Managers of the EPM Leiden 2016.

With the Content Managers of the EPM Leiden 2016.

Communications were traditionally tasks that a few members of the Comité Directeur worked on, or a portfolio that was often shared. In fact, the last person you will find in AEGEE-Europe with the title of “Communications Director” was Michael Makowiecki back in 2010. Although this might seem like a threat (as the composition and skills of CD members are often rather a lottery, which means that sometimes there is no continuation of the tasks), we took it as an opportunity to take communications in AEGEE at a next level.

However, this does not mean that my day is focused entirely on communications. CD members usually do a little bit of everything, which requires a lot of time management and often you feel as if you were juggling with many things at once. Or, more strikingly, that sometimes you do not even have time at all to take care of communications.

What has probably taken most of my time this past couple of weeks is the European Planning Meeting. Our Statutory event in Leiden is getting closer and I am in daily contact with the Content Managers to make sure that we provide high-quality content and meet the expectations of our members – as well as to support the work of our Policy Officer on Migration, Luca Bisighini. Working closer on the topic of migration has been probably one of the most enriching experiences, as it “forced” me to get myself familiar with the topic in a very short time.

12698444_727701963998765_9180140399909647542_oBut that is not all! I am slowly discovering the world of European Union funding – bringing Erasmus+ closer to our members by delivering sessions, providing feedback and organising Q&A sessions. Moreover, you will probably hear soon about a Horizon 2020 Project that AEGEE-Europe will be partnering in and which aligns very well with AEGEE’s core values of inclusion and youth participation, training members is something that makes me particularly happy and that I have been doing in some events, such as Network Meetings and Regional Training Courses. Lastly, I also enjoy from time to time representing AEGEE externally in some events in Brussels and beyond, such as in some of the activities of the European Movement International.

All in all, how is it like to work in the team? Whereas my tasks seem to be rather specialised, I am never really working alone – by trying to support projects on promoting their activities, I am always in contact with AEGEE members. Inside the Head Office, I am always cooperating with the rest of the Comité Directeur members, by providing feedback, being involved in the content of the activities that we organise, and working on PR and dissemination together with them. In the end, there is not a single boring moment, and not a day without having many things to tick on my to-do list!

Written by Anna Gumbau, Communications Director of AEGEE-Europe

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