José Carlos Camposano

Position

Events Officer

Motivation

Since I joined one of the EIT Digital summer schools in 2015 (and later became full master's student in 2016), I have had the opportunity to meet many of members of our community: Current students, alumni, staff, friends of EIT Digital and people from other EIT KICs. I do not exaggerate when I say it was one of the best decisions I have ever taken, which has allowed me to develop as a professional and as a person. It would not be crazy either to say that most of this learning has occurred thanks to the people that I have met along the way: Three summer schools, four kick-off events, two annual alumni meetings, many local meet-ups and counting... What was the core platform that enabled such interactions? The EVENTS, of course!

Vision for the community

TL;DR my main proposals:
- Strengthen and empower the local groups, giving more room for motivated alumni to organize events
- Continue improving the event guidelines, making the application process easier. Flexible budget criteria according to the location, expected attendance and/or logistical complexity
- Encourage events based on "themes" or "causes", such as promoting inclusion and equality in worklife
- Actively pursue long-term partnerships with 3rd-party organizations that could become recurrent event sponsors. This responsibility can be shared within the board as well as with the local group volunteers

Other proposals based on your ideas and suggestions:
- Give opportunity to obtain EIT Digital Alumni clothing or accessories in different events throughout the year, especially for people who are not able to attend the Annual Meeting
- Provide support to bring back together the people who worked on a start-up/business idea during their education program
 
What's next for our board
I believe there is still vast unexplored potential in the EIT Digital Alumni network to increase the engagement and networking opportunities, even for those members who completed their formal study programs long time ago. The outgoing board has done an outstanding work scaling up the community and building a strong base to enable new courses of action. Now it is a priority for the next board to set up a more structured framework, which allows us to implement and replicate further kinds of activities that allow to leverage on each other's strengths, as well as to improve the recognition and strategic positioning of the EIT Digital Alumni at the European and international level. Based on my previous experiences volunteering for one of the largest non-profit student associations, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), I am familiar with the challenges and opportunities ahead. We share some elements with more established organizations such as ESN and can learn from their good practices, especially in terms of handling broad collaborations and providing a common identity and vision across all the locations where our members are present.
 
Empowering the community
At the same time, the EIT Digital Alumni possess unique attributes that give us additional strength to push our goals one step ahead, such as the support we receive from EIT Digital or the composition and diversity of our member community. Regarding the latter, as the number of registered alumni increases, I consider critical to strengthen the role of the local groups. We need to gradually move away from the top-down delegation of event responsibilities assigned to a single local representative per location. Instead, we should transition toward the development of more stable groups of frequent volunteers, who are sufficiently empowered to lead, propose and organize their own events and activities. These bottom-up intiatives from volunteer groups will help us address the specific concerns and interests of their local communities, such as facilitating cultural integration and providing support in matters of daily working life. I propose launching an early consultation process with the local groups to identify common and location-specific topics of interest, trying to bring more attention into places that have not been considered traditionally as hosts of EIT Digital events (for example, cities without a co-location center or CLC).
 
Increasing partnerships
The board should also provide the required support for local groups to encourage the collaboration with relevant companies and research centers, turning any occasional joint activities into more permanent/long-term partnerships or sponsorships for the benefit of our members. Our strategic industry partners will likewise benefit from having a direct reach and contact with our pool of highly-skilled members, complementing our job portal and making our recruitment support more efficient.
 
Learning from each other, with a purpose
We are not simply a community of former students, but rather a professional network of permanent learners. I believe that continuous, life-long learning is essential for IT professionals in our era. Luckily, our alumni possess advanced knowledge and perform important work positions inside industry and academia. Therefore, we should make a priority that we can keep learning from each other through non-formal training, workshops and networking events. If the EIT Digital education programs focus on "deep tech", the EIT Digital Alumni foundation shall provide a great opportunity to continue developing the "deep people" skills of our members permanently. In this aspect, we can reinforce current initatives by some of our alumni like the mentorship program or the mastermind groups, so besides running just as standalone projects, they could be promoted as "themes" or "causes" blended into the agenda in some of the local groups' events.
 
Reflecting our diversity
We are also a community of professionals working in different fields, regardless of country of origin and gender. Many of us are immigrants or expats trying to drive the development of technology in Europe forward. For this reason, the upcoming board should actively encourage and continue supporting initiatives that promote the inclusion and equality among our members, such as Women @ EIT, while giving the opportunity to raise awareness and promote other social causes whenever possible.
 
Achieving efficiency through openness and shared efforts
Because of their complexity and importance, big events such as the Annual Meeting may require improved ways of coordination to handle the larger number of alumni members. This could be a good opportunity to create a more transparent process, with open call for candidate location and organizing committees (OC), with funding provided by the board according to the OC’s budget proposal. In other words, it would be our alumni members themselves the ones to propose where and how the Annual Meeting would be organized. After all, it is the members residing in the host locations who know best about the local prices, required logistics and potential sponsors, so this idea can help us organize such demanding events in a more efficient way. Similar mechanisms of volunteer recruitment can be implemented to arrange our participation in the EIT Alumni Connect and bringing stronger presence of the EIT Digital Alumni into other KIC’s events.

Why people should vote for me

Right experience for this position
As mentioned before, I have had the opportunity to meet many of you from different entry/exit years, study programs and locations and therefore, I feel close to this entire community. I have already volunteered as board member for two non-profit associations in Ecuador and Finland, organizing events targeted both at students and graduates, so I am familiar with the tasks and responsibilities required for this position. In the last year, I have been collaborating with some friends to organize local alumni events in collaboration with companies, which has also given me great insights on how to improve the event organization guidelines and what new activities can be proposed in the different locations where our members are present. I have been not only an EIT Digital master’s student, but also worked as I&E coach in kick-off events and summer schools, which has allowed me to build trustful professional connections with the EIT Digital staff and leadership. Currently I am one of the local alumni volunteers in Finland, so I have deep knowledge and understanding about the inner working of EIT Digital from many different perspectives.
 
Right profile and skill set
After seven years of working experience in industry (including start-ups, 'cuz BMC rulez yeah) and two years in academia, I consider myself as a person that has a balanced view about all different sides in the equation that our community requires: Education, research and industry. I am also a bit obsessed with keeping things in order and trying to meet deadlines. Furthermore, as a scientist I communicate fluently in written and spoken English everyday (also because life is too short for a foreigner to learn Finnish!) and try to make sure that my communication remains clear, regardless of any possible cultural differences. Finally, my PhD studies are expected to be completed around the same time as the next board handover, so I do not foresee any critical risks or difficulties to carry out my responsibilities until the end of the mandate.
 
Team player
Last but not least, I have had the chance to personally meet some of the candidates applying to other positions, and even discuss our vision and plans for the board. I am confident we will be able to efficiently work together as a team and continue delivering great results for the benefit of our community. For all these reasons, you can rest assured that I am the ideal person to serve as your next Events Officer! Feel free to get back in contact if you want to know more about these proposals or suggest further ideas :)