Jeroen van Lent
You, the EIT Digital Alumni have always inspired me! From the moment I joined the EIT Digital Masterschool back in 2014, I have met so many incredible people in our community that it is difficult not to stay involved. Every individual has something great to contribute, and I believe it is this greatness that moves our community forward. It is also this community that never seems to disappoint me in its optimism and family spirit. It is therefore that I’m extremely excited to present you my candidacy to be your President!
I’m one of those people who had some sort of voluntary position for the biggest part of my life. I have been a scout for almost 10 years, but also never hesitated to take up some extra work during the studies. So much, that I spent many of my years living abroad, volunteering for the Erasmus Student Network, Europe’s largest student organisation aiming to enrich society through international students. During my last two years as full-time Board member of ESN, I have learned a lot about community building, volunteer engagement, defining strategy but also how to manage big EU funded projects and write new grant applications.
Now my involvement in ESN is coming to an end, I would love to put my experience from the last couple of years to practice and try to have a positive impact on the EIT Digital Alumni community. I would like to discover how we can have more impact as an organisation and create more engagement among our members. The great individuals, combined with the true potential our community has, is something unique and something I look forward to contribute to!
Vision for the community
Even though I believe our community is on a great path towards success, I would like to contribute to an increased value for our members and impact on the world around us. I see the EIT Digital Alumni community as a group of experts that have a lot to give to each other and society in general. Concretely, I think we should focus on three fields:
Increase our internal engagement
Firstly, I believe it is important that we continue to increase our internal engagement among members. The community is only as strong as its members, so I believe it is important that we create value and opportunities for all types of EIT Digital alumni. Aside from our local representatives and volunteers on the ground, I think it is the right time to expand our activity and introduce Working Groups or Committees to support the work of the Board. This will allow us to work on more projects, but also create more opportunities to contribute to the community. This would also allow to further expand projects, such as the Annual Meeting and the Mentorship Programme and overall increase or impact, engagement and value for our members.
Create training opportunities for our members
Secondly, I think we can create more value for our community by providing training opportunities to our members. The community consists of many bright individuals that can share knowledge based on their professional experience and at the same time many of us are eager to learn more. However, at the same time I believe it is very important to bring such knowledge with proper facilitation skills and understanding of non formal education. I think it would therefore be great to introduce a Training Programme and a Training for Trainers event, providing our members with basic workshop facilitation skills and learning theories. This would not only help us to boost knowledge among members, but also further expand our engagement and impact within and outside our community.
Increase our interaction with external stakeholders
Finally, I believe it would be good to further increase our interaction with external stakeholders. The EIT Digital Alumni association is not only existing in a bubble and there are a lot of interesting initiatives happening around us. I believe we should further expand our reach by attending more conferences, showing our expertise and further expanding our network. Furthermore, I believe we can add more external experts to our community and increase the involvement of companies and start-ups. These external stakeholders could contribute more to our events or share knowledge with the community. This would also allow us to further expand our mentorship programme and job platform. Finally, increasing our external interaction would probably also lead to more sponsorships, adding value for our members.
Why people should vote for me
I believe I bring a good mix of experience and passion to the team. I would really like to see the community grow and continue increasing the value for its members. At the same time I have always enjoyed contributing to a greater goal and look forward to make a greater contribution to the EIT Digital Alumni community.
At the same time, my previous positions in different organisations have given me a broad perspective on what it takes to lead a European organisation. Especially my two full-time years in the International Board of the Erasmus Student Network have shown me how to engage volunteers and build an impactful community. It has also given me the opportunity to build a network of contacts in Brussels and get more understanding on how Europe and EU funding works. Finally, I have gained experience in how to build a strategy and implement an efficient governance structure in the organisation. I have many ideas and would love to implement all of this in the EIT Digital Alumni community to move our association forward.
Moreover, I believe there is an advantage that I have completed the EIT Digital Masterschool around 2 years ago now. The working experience and distance from the programme have made me realise how important it is to build an engaged and lasting community. It has also shown me how valuable our community can be and how many alumni like to stay involved. Over time we will become more and more, and by uniting in one association we can create a big value for ourselves and society around us.
I look forward to work with all of you on moving our community forward! In case of any questions about me, my ideas or my candidacy, feel free to drop me an email!