- Who are you?
I’m Bernard Wilmink, External Relations Coordinator of the 51st board of MAEUR. I’m 24 years old, next to this board year I am writing my thesis for the master Marketing at the ESE. Last year I finished all my courses so now I can focus only on my thesis and the board year. During the week I live in Rotterdam, during the weekends I go back to my hometown Leiden to work and visit my friends.
- What made you choose to apply for the MAEUR board?
Choosing to invest your time in a board year has a great impact on everything that involves your life. Last year I was an active member of MAEUR, I was the chairman of the Marketing Conference. This was such a meaningful experience where I learned a lot about managing. It was not only an unbelievable learning experience but it was also a lot of fun. The thing is, at MAEUR we really laugh and work together. Going out together but also discuss what to do in certain situations. Eventually, I was really close to the 50th board of MAEUR and saw a lot of what they did. While I was finishing all my courses I began thinking about my next step. I still had to finish my thesis but also wanted to invest more time in expanding my network and getting work experience. I chose to do a board year because it would broaden my network so much and would gain me so much managing experience. These two main factors totally came true this year.
- What is your function and what does it entail?
The main responsibility of an External Relations Coordinator is to maintain and expand relations with companies, through company visits, call appointments, and email and LinkedIn contact. Within this position, I also guide the externals of our committees, together with them make sure that a wide variety of great companies attend our events. Monitoring the career portal and all company mailings and social media posts also belong to the task portfolio of an External Relations Coordinator. Besides, you will, of course, be busy with many other tasks and general board activities!
- Describe the day in the life of an External Relations Coordinator
Every day in the life of an External Relations Coordinator is different. A random Thursday could very well look like this:
9:00 – 9:30 Starting the day with a coffee, breakfast, opening my laptop and receiving a little update from my fellow board members’ Wednesday evening
9:30 – 10:30 Reading and responding to emails, creating a mailing and/or posting new vacancies to the career portal
10:30 – 11:00 Meeting with the external(s) from one of our committees, to help them with acquisition and to answer any questions
11:00 – 13:30 Visiting one of the MAEUR partners at their office, to discuss upcoming events
13:30 – 14:00 Lunchtime
14:00 – 14:30 Writing a few emails or making some calls
14:30 – 16:00 X-functional meeting with our Projects Coordinator, Marketing Coordinator, Treasurer and me, to discuss the progress of all committees and events
16:00 – 17:30 Board meeting, to discuss everyday business
17:30 Some beers at Smitse to celebrate a day of hard work
- What did you learn from your time as a board member?
Being a board member, in general, is such an extensive learning experience. You are responsible for everything that happens in the association. Every position is, there is no hierarchy. What I always enjoy most is the strategic meetings. How did events go, are they sustainable for the future, how can we improve? Those broader management questions you have the saying over are cases I learn most about and find most interesting. Together with a team, you have to make choices, listen to each other and act, together. Next to that, you are responsible for the whole acquisition process of the association, contact with companies and the name of the association at companies is in your hands. Negotiating and convincing companies is something I got even more skilled in. The nice things are, in a board year, you are open to learning and pick-up whatever you want.
- What is your most fun memory?
I have a lot of fun memories, to be honest! Because you work hard together, you also play hard together. Drinks in de Smitse after a long day at the office, and eventually end up being really drunk and totally forgot to eat dinner. But around those times together with your board members, the active members' weekends are amazing. You get to know everyone in a really nice way, it is one of the first moments you really get to know your members who will work really hard to make events happen.
- What are you going to do after your board year?
I expect to finish my thesis when we are finishing this board year. After that, in the summer, I want to move back to Leiden. After I moved and settled again I want to look for a job, I want to do this with good consideration. This way I can find the perfect opportunity and don’t rush things.
- What’s your favorite quote?
‘Ik ga vanavond niet CoBolam’. This is one of the quotes I said during the ICP members weekend. A week before we had our Consitution Drink where I got so drunk I couldn’t even stand right up anymore. Now we call that kind of drunk ‘CoBolam’ Which I didn’t want to be that night, or even never any again haha.
- What advice would you give to someone who is considering a board year?
Me personally, I found it a hard choice, I considered a board year for a very long time. I eventually, of course, chose to do it. And I am so happy!! I learned so much, so much I can’t even describe. Next to that, it is so much fun. It is like running your own business with a team you will get very close with. If you are even considering it a little bit, I guarantee you, it is 100 percent worth it!