With the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, AEGEE will be organising an Online Agora for the very first time in its history. Like every year, different members have applied to different positions. In this series, we interviewed the candidates of the new Secretary-General. One of these candidates is Veronika Chmelárová from AEGEE-London.
Hello Veronika and thank you for having this quick interview with us. You are running for Secretary General which is one of the roles in the Comite Directeur of AEGEE-Europe. So most people might already know you as the previous Chair of the Agora and the Current Vice Chair, but can you just give us a quick introduction for those that don’t?
Hi everyone! First of all, thank you for taking time to write this interview and to all of you for reading this. Being the Chairperson was a great part of my AEGEE time, so knowing me from there already does give you some idea. I will not repeat my AEGEE CV here, as you can just as well read it in the booklets. From a more personal side, I am a law student, currently almost finishing my studies (at least the first part of it) and very much looking forward to that. I grew up in a partially German and Slovak environment and went to schools in both countries before settling in Germany for the time being. However, most of my time is still spent travelling as it is one of my biggest passions, likely for most of you as well.
I am also a person who enjoys art, loves to go to any art exhibition, opera and theatre plays. I myself took piano lessons as a child and still spend a lot of my free time either reading books or drawing. I don’t want to bore you with more text to read, but if you want to get to know me better, feel free to ask.
What was your motivation for running for SecGen and what are the main things you want to achieve?
It is always harder than it seems it should be to answer the question of motivation. It really is very straight forward in my case. AEGEE has been a huge part of my life in the last years, I had my ups and downs just like everyone else in this association and it came to the point where I do feel like I am capable of taking on this responsibility, while also being able to enjoy it. It is a way for me to learn new things, push my limits and at the same time do something for the association that has shaped me. As for what I’d like to achieve, I tend to be quite ambitious. I do intend to follow my programme closely and achieve as much on those points as possible. The ultimate dream would be paving the way to a completely professional secretariat, led by a professional Secretary General.
As SecGen, you would be responsible for Statutory Events, what would you like to do here that you didn’t do as Chairperson?
What I feel like should be said here is that the tasks of a Statutory event responsible member of the Comité Directeur are very different from the tasks of the Chairperson. As Chairperson, you are responsible for one team, your own and you and your Vice-Chairperson lead it together to organise the smoothest Agora preparations and consequently also a smooth Agora from the content side. As the Statutory event responsible, you are responsible for multiple teams and are a link between them and the rest of the Comité Directeur as well as a representative of it. Additionally, it is not only the Agora you are in charge of, but also EPM and every 3 years also SPM. Both roles are complex, but both different. The latter is what I haven’t done as Chairperson since it was not in my task description and wasn’t a part of the powers vested in me by the Agora. I am looking forward to doing it now if elected, do my best and be open to learning about yet a new side of organising our statutory events.
You mentioned speedy communication in your program, outside of what you wrote, what ideas do you have for improving internal communication?
Speedy communication and quality internal communication can be two very different things. The Secretary General being fast with her communication about the meetings of the Comité Directeur and the work done as well as fast replies to emails and needs, might not equal the latter. Ensuring quality internal communication would not depend solely on me, but also require a close collaboration with the future Communications and Network director. I believe by combining the skills, strengths and reach of these positions, we can work on improvements when it comes to the content and the way of messages being distributed to the whole Network. I have to say that as of now, I do not have any specific ideas I could present here, as I am aware that currently, there are already projects running with the aim of establishing new and more efficient communication channels. That is why before making any strong statements I would first like to see in detail what has been done, what is currently in progress and what is planned, so that I can give you an educated opinion on it.
What is your biggest fear about working in the CD?
Probably the complete union of personal and professional life under one roof. I did previously live in dorms with more people living in the same room, however, we were just friends, not also colleagues. I believe this will be the most challenging, but possibly also most rewarding learning point for me.
If not elected, what would be your plans after the Agora?
This is a very good question, but I have to admit I have not given it a thought yet. In my personal life I will probably be finishing my studies, searching for a job and a masters degree studies that I’d like. There are still a couple of months between now and then and the times are still uncertain, so I prefer to not make too specific plans.