Vice-Chairman of the board: My experiences
My name is Ron Lether and for the past 10 months, I have been the Vice-Chairman of Asset | IB&M. I started studying IBA in 2016 and also started doing committee work at the beginning of that year. In my first year, I was the secretary of the Blog Committee. Taking notes of the committee meetings and helping with the layout and articles of our blog were my main tasks. In my second year at IB&M, I joined the Second Year Committee and we organized some fun events such as a hitchhike competition. Before I started my third and last year as an active member, I went on exchange to Stockholm, Sweden. I had an amazing time, and after I came back from Sweden, I became the chairman of the Yearbook Committee. I realized that my time at IB&M was not done yet at, so after an internship of 6 months at Tesla, I applied to become the new Vice-Chairman of Asset | IB&M.
Why did I choose to do a board year?
I have always regretted not being a very ‘active’ active member in my first year of IB&M. I mostly still had to find my way in a new environment, living with people my age and not with my parents anymore, and being completely free to do what you want, when you want. When I became a lot more active in my second year and eventually also in my third year, I got the urge more and more to prevent other people to make the same mistake as I did. I have met amazing people at this association and wouldn’t replace the memories and friendships with anything else! So initially, my first reason to do a board year was to help new students meet like-minded people and establish great friendships there, and what better position to make sure of that, than the one of Vice-Chairman.
My second reason for doing a board year was the continuing struggle of choosing a master. After I finished my bachelor, I already narrowed my possibilities down to Supply Chain Management, Marketing Management, and Marketing Analytics. Because I still found all three equally interesting, I first wanted to do an internship in either Supply Chain or Marketing (also because the position of Vice-Chairman would open at the start of the second semester). I got the opportunity to do an internship in Logistics & Supply Chain at Tesla which was very different from what student life and university life was. I had to get used to the work culture and the way you have to interact with people from different countries and educational backgrounds. I developed myself immensely during that half year but I still was not fully satisfied with the work I did and the future prospect I had in this sector. Because I also wasn’t quite sure if Marketing would then be the right decision it was even more confirmation that I still needed some time to gain experience and orient myself.
What does a board year as Vice-Chairman look like?
As a Vice-Chairman at IB&M, you will have a lot of different tasks ranging from small to very big. Firstly, you are the contact person of the board that is responsible for the members and their functioning within the association and the committee. Besides that, there are some big and important tasks or projects you are responsible of such as the Active Member Policy, Year Planning, and Social Media.
The Active Member Policy is seen as the most important task of the Vice-Chairman. As the Vice-Chairman, you are responsible for the recruitment of our active members as well as the recruitment of passive members of Asset General. Since we are a big department with a lot of committees, social cohesion between the different committees is one of the most important aspects the Vice-Chairman has, especially now. As a board, we try to enhance that is through committees such as the Date Dinner Committee and Activities Committee, but as a Vice-Chairman, you also want to provide committees to have diversity and learn from others when they work closely together in a committee. You will try to optimize this by having both introductory talks with new members as well as having evaluation talks with current members to see where they can develop themselves best. Making a division of the different people you have talks with and know on a personal level is a very interesting challenge which is also a very nice learning opportunity. Moreover, it gives an extra boost after you made the division, when you see that committees get along and start to loosen up a bit and start to develop friendships.
Next to the active member policy (which you will make during the summer break), your first challenge is to make the entire year planning of the association. IB&M hosts 100+ events every year, so it is quite a challenge to make them perfectly fit throughout the year. You will have to keep the Carnaval, exams, Christmas, Summer vacation, University planning, and Asset General year planning in mind when making the year planning. Nowadays with COVID-19, you will have to review the year planning week by week to see if everything is still possible.
My personal favorite task to do was the promotion of the association. Normally this is done mostly on campus through flyers and banners and lecture talks, but currently we have focused almost solely on online promotion. As the Vice-Chairman, I am responsible for the social media plan and the planning of online promotion. At the start of the new academic year I worked together with Janne (Secretary) to make a social media plan. Also, this year we focused more on making after movies of events to give students a good impressions of what we do on a yearly basis. This is a good example of new small projects you can pick up or make during your board year.
Next to that you are also a representative of IB&M in the Faculty Wide Organ ‘Public Relations’. In the Public Relations Meeting, you and the other Vice-Chairmen of the departments discuss topics related to the Asset General events such as ticket division and locations, the TOP-week and TOP winter week, and the Promotion of Asset General. It is very interesting to have this separate responsibility in your weekly tasks since you will have discussions with people that have very different opinions and motivations for dilemmas. It will help you in communicating and motivating your opinions and that of the board out of your department’s perspective.
What did you learn during your board year?
First and foremost, I have learned how to deal with setbacks and how to quickly solve problems by thinking out of the box and quickly shift focus. From the start of my year, we had to regularly postpone events or quickly resolve issues with physical events that were not really possible in an online setting. This makes you even more capable of working together and gain trust in one another. Even more so, when somebody is feeling a bit down because of a setback it becomes more important to resolve the issue together and be happy with the decisions you make as a board.
Next to this, you will learn a lot of things along the way such as coordinating of small teams, prioritizing tasks in busy periods, working in a team both on a daily basis and on a weekly basis, networking with companies and other associations, and communicating in a professional way.
Would you recommend doing a board year, even in these times?
Absolutely! Although the first ‘Lockdown’ was quite a disappointing moment, mostly because it had never happened before, nowadays everyone can rely more on past experiences of associations and the board and can act more proactive on new guidelines. We also experienced that now in comparison to the first lockdown, you can handle with a bit more confidence since you know what the worst-case scenario is, and you know how online events can be organized. As with every board year, there are plenty of challenges to take on, experiences to have, and skills to learn, only slightly different than normal years.