Vice-Chairman of the Board: My Experiences
For the past ten months I have been the Vice-Chairman of Asset | IB&M. Originally from Bergen op Zoom, my name is Bram Teunissen, and I started my studies in Tilburg in 2018. When I started at IB&M, I joined the promotion committee as chairman, and later I became treasurer of the drinks & themes committee. After having been a member of the D&TC for 6 months, I applied for Vice-Chairman of the board, as I was convinced that would be the perfect position for me. Whether or not I did a good job, I’ll let you decide for yourself, but I’m proud of the things the board and I have done over the past year, and I am thankful for all the amazing experiences and the great people I have met.
During the first semester of my third year, things were not looking so great for the world. Lockdown after lockdown, cancelled event after cancelled event, and my exchange to Canada was cancelled too. After having done a minor, and not feeling like I had seen enough, I thought about doing a board year. IB&M was really the only place I wanted to do it, as I truly felt at home there, so it basically became “IB&M or bust”. I also had other reasons, I felt like processes within the association could be improved, marketing channels could be improved and modernized, and the international aspect of the association could really use a shot in the arm.
From what I have seen this year, I think being Vice-Chairman at IB&M means being social, creative and being able to juggle many tasks at once. Your main responsibilities will be the Active Member Policy, Year Planning and Marketing. The Active Member Policy means you’re responsible for the recruitment of active members for IB&M and passive members for Asset General, but also making sure you know what members want and need within the department. This means doing marketing, but also being able to communicate to different kinds of people and taking feedback into consideration. For IB&M, this also means your English needs to be up to speed, as we have a lot of members that do not speak Dutch. Conveying that we’re the international department is also important in your marketing. Another important part of the AMP is social cohesion. We’re one of the largest departments and have a lot of committees, so making sure they get to know each other and have a great time at the department is needed.
When members join the department, you will have introductory talks and find out where they would fit best. At IB&M people cannot apply for a specific committee, so an introduction talk is valuable for you to be able to give them a committee they would fit in. You will also want to take diversity of background, gender, and experience into account. Eventually, when you’ve completed the introduction talks and are finished with become active marketing, you’ll have to divide everyone. This can be quite the large challenge, so I recommend you keep track of who you talked to and what they said.
In the beginning of the year, you will have to create the year planning, which you will need to maintain and update throughout the year. IB&M usually has a lot of events every week, so it can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re not familiar with every event. Previous year planning schedules can be considered, but in my case, it was a lot harder due to the uncertainty caused by corona (more on that later). Especially the beginning of the year was hard, due to cancellations, or events having to be moved and all ending up in the same month. Luckily, this does not seem to be an issue for next year.
Finally, you’re also responsible for marketing. You are quite free to do what you want with this, as long as you make sure every event gets proper exposure. In my case, I continued the trend of focusing more on online promotion than offline. Not only because it’s more sustainable, but also because a powerful online presence is more important than ever (especially during corona). For me this meant increasing follower counts, changing our house style to what I thought looked attractive, focusing on readability, and increasing reach. We also phased out Facebook and went all in on Instagram.
Other than those three things, you have got other smaller tasks as well, like coordinating committees, organizational tasks with the board, and promotional/organizational tasks for Asset General in the Public Relations Meeting (PM for short). Coordinating committees is fun, helping them achieve their goals and getting to know members better. I’d like to express my gratitude for all the committees that worked with me, you were all great and I’ll miss you all next year! Organizational tasks with the board can be anything from organizing info sessions to parties to formal events.
As for PM, this faculty wide organ is responsible for marketing and events of Asset Tilburg. Depending on your portfolio, you’ll be working on Asset largest events, making designs for the Asset Cafe, or many, many other things. I have held the designer portfolio and the Asset Cafe portfolio. The results of my year can be seen at a lot of places. I designed the new food for thought logo, the Asset Cafe logo and house style. The wall within the Asset Cafe was also designed by me, for which I needed to clean up the logos and straighten them. PM is quite varied, so I won’t list everything I did here, these are but a few examples.
So, what does a board year teach you then? And should you go for it? This board year for me has taught me more than I thought it would. Leading teams is challenging, my planning has gotten better, and I have learned how to speak in public better. I discovered that I have a creative side to me and that I enjoy fixing things that don’t work as well as they could. You will also learn to communicate with companies, working together efficiently, and you will also learn to deal with setbacks and stress. While this year was different than others, the first half being severely impacted by a lockdown and my personal health leading me to have some sub-optimal summer months, I would do it all over again, everything included. If you have the ambition and are willing to give it a shot, I see no reason why you would not apply for a board year.
It has been an absolute pleasure being Vice-Chairman of IB&M and I am grateful for everyone that made this such a wonderful year. I’ll never forget it.