After the Open Call for Interim Secretary General, Julia de Lange was chosen as the new person to take care of the tasks. Now, the former AEGEE-Utrecht President will present herself to the Agora as candidate for the same position, taking care of the portfolio until the end of this Comité Directeur’s term. Let us get to know Julia better!   

Svenja van der Tol: For those who do not know you – can you shortly introduce yourself?
Julia de Lange: Hi! My name is Julia, I’m 24 years old and I’m from AEGEE-Utrecht. I have been an AEGEE-member for quite a lot of years already. I have been very active in my local in different committees and projects, and have been the representative of AEGEE towards the Dutch National Youth Council. Last year I was External Relations Responsible, and later also President of AEGEE-Utrecht. Currently, I’m in the advisory board of AEGEE-Utrecht and before applying as Secretary General for the interim Open Call, I was also involved in the organisation of the YVote Conference in Utrecht and working as a Liaison Officer towards the OSCE for AEGEE-Europe.

What made you decide to apply as Secretary General for the interim Open Call, and now again?
Since becoming a member, AEGEE has added a lot to my life! Being involved in organizing meaningful activities and projects, events across Europe, advocacy on both the local and the European level, and of course discovering new places and cultures, has given me new skills, new knowledge, and a completely new understanding of feeling European. Being a full-time board member in my local was a very valuable experience and I learned a lot last year. As I now had the time and opportunity to do so, I decided to challenge myself further and apply for the interim Open Call to help AEGEE out as I believed I had the right capabilities to fulfill the role, and could learn many new things in return.

What do you like most and least about your tasks in the CD?
My tasks are very diverse, which is great! Firstly, as I am taking care of the headoffice, distributing all information coming in, I’m always in the know of all things happening. I’m enjoying how I can divide my time working in a structured way on tasks such as distributing all incoming information, answering emails and taking calls, and keeping overview for the team in between our board meetings, while also working on more externally related tasks. I also really enjoy live meetings or attending conferences where I can work more directly and in person with my appointed European bodies. For me this diversity in my tasks is really something that makes my work extra interesting. Something that I do not like so much is going through the large amounts of spam that the headoffice e-mail address receives (Julia laughs), although the e-mails can be funny sometimes.

What has surprised you the most about your current role?
What has surprised me the most is the crazy amount of things I have experienced the past month-and-a-half. It feels like at least three months have passed already! I have learned many new things, gained knowledge, got to know Brussels life, yet also experienced different new places in Europe, and I met and worked with so many wonderful people. There is really never a boring moment in CD life.

What would you like to improve or learn more about in the rest of your term?
The past month-and-a-half I have worked mostly on taking care of the headoffice, working with different European Bodies, the preparation of the Agora and the booklet coordination, and taking care of our partnerships, while also going to the European Planning Meeting and the conference by the European Citizenship Working Group and AEGEE-Warszawa, as well as two live meetings. This way, I unfortunately did not find the time to fully focus on my more external representation tasks. After Agora, this is something that I would really like to spend more time on, as this is also an important and very interesting part of my portfolio.

What are your plans for the Secretariat? What do you want to have achieved related to this by the end of your term?
When I arrived, the rest of the team was in the process of hiring two new employees. I helped Loes and María and took care of the arrival of the new employee to the office with them. For the future, I will develop a set of guidelines on requirements that employees need. I will also check the Maribel grant again, a Belgium grant used for NGOs from which we could also benefit in the future. Furthermore, I will contact the employment office in Brussels, to research the additional future possibilities, for which speaking Dutch will come in handy. Currently we are working to open another Projects Officer position after the Agora and working on having an Erasmus+ intern from the next CD term on. After hiring another Projects Officer, we may be eligible for Eurodisee. During the Agora I will be in the Progress Meeting on the Secretariat Strategy, so come by if you are interested!

How do you want to improve or implement the knowledge transfer and management in the next months?
In the upcoming months I will be working with Fabrizio on the topics of knowledge transfer and knowledge management. I will map out which information is where, and make this more structured and efficient. We will work together on creating a strategy for the knowledge transfer period.

Do you have any personal projects or priorities for the next few months?
I already mentioned my personal projects and priorities a bit, but I would like to focus a bit more externally, as it is also really important to keep good relations with other Brussels-based organizations. Above all, I will give full priority to the plans regarding the Secretariat, as this is a very important long-term improvement for our organization, and work on the improvement of the knowledge transfer and management.

Which three of your personal qualities are the most relevant for the position you are applying for?
I am a hardworking person, and I work in a structured way, yet I am also flexible when unexpected situations or tasks come up, which are qualities that are very useful for working as a SecGen.

Question by Philipp Blum, YVote: Why didn’t you apply also for the upcoming term?
I didn’t also apply for the upcoming term because I already made plans and arrangements to study a Master’s programme from September onward, prior to applying to the interim Open Call. I will stay active in AEGEE next year, but unfortunately cannot do this on a full-time basis, so I will contribute in another way!

Written by Svenja van der Tol, AEGEE-Nijmegen

You can read her full candidature here