United in strategy: The Strategy Committee

With 13000 AEGEEans and 13000 opinions, it can sometimes be difficult and chaotic to follow one strategy. A committee that likes to create order in the chaos is the newly established Strategy Committee. The supporting committee of both the Committee Director and the entire network is happy to introduce themselves to you in this interview.  

Thank you, Evita, Freideriki and Michalina for participating in this interview! Can you tell us what the Strategy Committee is all about and who the current members are?

Hey everyone! We are the Strategy Committee (or as we like to abbreviate everything in AEGEE, the StC). To understand the Strategy Committee in AEGEE, let’s imagine AEGEE as a car. The driver’s seat belongs to all locals and European Bodies in AEGEE Network, the Comité Directeur is sitting next to the driver’s seat holding a map. The map symbolises the Strategic Plan and the Action Agenda and the Strategy Committee is sitting in the backseat supporting the passenger. It is crucial to remember that the map is designed by locals and European Bodies at the driver’s seat. The task of the CD (supported by StC) is simply to hold the map and ensure that we as an organisation reach our common destination. 

Currently, we have 9 members: Zurita, Freideriki Tziora, Maya Tielemann, Michalina Górka, Tania Guardiola San Román, Yannic Lades, Evita Ločmele and Ruben Verboon. Our appointed member of the Comité Directeur is Hanna Alajõe.

Why do you think the Strategy Committee could be important within AEGEE?

With 155 locals in 38 countries, AEGEE has the potential to have an impact and have its voice heard on both a local and a European level. However, without a clear strategy, we, as an organisation, are likely to lose focus and be unable to maximise the impact of the effort put in. 

Strategy equals long-term vision and plans that are by no means an easy achievement, as one has to take many factors into account. It is a human tendency to prefer putting the focus on short-term goals that give immediate satisfaction and require short-term commitment, even if a long-term investment like strategy may create greater satisfaction and impact. The members of the Strategy Committee keep in mind that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and that it takes time to support the Comité Directeur and the Network in this long-term investment. 

What are some of the tasks your committee takes upon?

Our main task is to support the CD with the strategic processes of the organisation. As the main strategic documents in AEGEE are the Strategic Plan and the Action Agenda, most of our time is spent on:

• Monitoring the drafting and implementation

• Coordinating the internal dissemination 

• Measuring and reporting the fulfilment of these documents. 

So far our biggest responsibility was the facilitation of the drafting part of the EPM Barcelona. Now we are focusing on taking all that amazing input and transforming it in the final draft of the Action Agenda 2020-2021 for it to be voted on by the network.

What are the big (strategic) issues within AEGEE that you would like to see become different? How would you like to solve these issues?

One main area of strategy that AEGEE has a lot of room for improvement is the coordination of the organisational matters. A cohesive framework to support the implementation of the Organisational Improvements could potentially lead to the more sustainable development of AEGEE’s future.

From another viewpoint comes the observation that, across the Network, individuals may not feel the Strategic Plan as theirs and thus not being able to fully self-motivate to become involved in its fulfilment. The Strategic Plan, though, should make every single AEGEEan feel like it belongs to them, therefore we aspire to transform this into a reality.

How can members take strategic action on a local level?

Currently, we are working on guidelines to be implemented on the local level when it comes to identity and strategy. So stay tuned for all the assistance we can provide to take the activities of your antenna to the next level and squeeze out all potential.

A point that can’t be forgotten, though, is that the strategy building and the implementation part needs to be a common effort. You – members of local and European Bodies – are your own experts, all we can do as StC is help to facilitate the process. You are sitting in a driver’s seat and are in control of the steering wheel.

Trying to provide a clear strategy for the entire network seems ambitious, how do you try to reach this goal?

Just as anyone does anything to be impactful – doing the work, putting in the effort and “walking the walk”. The members of the Strategy Committee joined with having a strong vision of the future of strategy and an even stronger willingness to be a changemaker. An effective goal is both realistic and ambitious – a combination of maximising the resources available and being willing to walk that extra mile, putting 101% effort every day 365 days a year.

How do you want AEGEE members to get involved?

We want every antenna, regardless of how big or small it is, to contribute to the Strategic Plan. Some groups might be able to do huge activities and other small actions, but every single one of them counts. We would like every individual to look at themselves and their group and just think “what can I or my antenna do?” and just go for it. 

If you have any questions to the Strategy Committee or just want to say “Hi”, drop us an email at strategy@aegee.eu. We commit ourselves to answer every single email we get, we dare you to prove us wrong.

Talking about strategy, how would you try to win a game of Monopoly?

Unfortunately, we are not experts in monopoly, but you can find pretty amazing strategies on Google! Google told us that you can even win a game of Monopoly in 21 seconds as long as you implement the right strategy. The charm about strategy is that it’s strongly connected to implementation. Taking the example of Monopoly, even if you know the best strategy to win the game if you do not follow it, the strategy itself has no use. It’s the same with the AEGEE strategy, there is one but it will not be useful for our association if it is not implemented.