At the Agora in Enschede five candidates compete for four places as general CD members: Beáta Matuszka, Kathrin Renner, Miguel Gallardo, Olga Iatsyna, and Pavel Zbornik. The Golden Times asked all of them for an interview. Read today what motivates Network Commissioner Olga Iatsyna from AEGEE-Dnipropetrovsk to candidate as CD member. Her preferred tasks: Network Development and PR. “In the Netcom my locals felt like members of one family. I want to achieve this for the whole network”, Olga stresses. Read also, how the Summer University booklet made her fall in love – with AEGEE.

Golden Times: Olga, five candidates for four CD positions. How do you feel about that?
Olga Iatsyna: Very good! All candidates are very strong, well-known in AEGEE, working a lot and effectively on European level – this will make elections extremely interesting and unpredictable.

Golden Times: You are focusing on Network Development and PR. What do you like about Network Development?
Olga: Network Development as direction of work in AEGEE is already integral part of my life as Speaker of the Network Commission. In my 24 locals where I was responsible as Netcom my aim was always to have not random people existing near each other, but family members who know that they always can get support of other locals and – what is most important – they trust their Netcom. My plan is to achieve this in the whole AEGEE network – locals cooperating, having strong relations between each other, attending events and making events with each other. And what is the most important: the network needs to trust in their Network Director, knowing that this is not punishing person, but person always ready to help and support at any moment.

Golden Times: And what do you like about PR?
Olga: PR was always my passion. I just started to do my first serious steps in it, when I officially became a member of Public Relations Committee and was included in the team of new AEGEE web site development. Also I’m in the AEGEEan team from the very beginning of this magazine. And I see that in internal PR, for example, we can and we should promote more European Level of AEGEE to our members, activities of CD, results of our projects and also locals to each other – so they can see achievements of all sides and want to integrate more and more in the AEGEE way of life. In external PR we should work more with social networks like Facebook, Twitter and external publications to promote AEGEE more to the rest of the world getting more visibility. In both fields there is lots of space for approval and thus challenges, which I really like to tackle.

Golden Times: Both tasks are very important and time-consuming. How will you balance them out?
Olga (smiling): Of course it will be hard, but I’m used to balance things in my life first with school and professional gymnastics and dancing, then university and two-three part-time jobs, later on full-time job and tons of AEGEE work. And between all these tasks it is needed to find time for personal life! But with proper time management it is all real. I know some magic tricks…

Golden Times: You are currently NetCom speaker. What are your greatest successes in that field as a team?
Olga: During last six months we already achieved significant results – with our NetCom team we managed to launch the new NetCom website and an internal website for our team which will make our knowledge transfer much faster and easier. Also, after a long break the NetCom took part in the EBM Fair, and of course we had 18 extremely successful Network Meetings in just 6 months.

Golden Times: And your greatest success as Network Commissioner?
Olga: The area I’m taking care of became one big family. I managed to revive Belarusian locals, the first NWM in Caucasus was also organised and was extremely successful and there were also three more NWMs organised. There were also four new Contacts founded and several locals in my area applied for hosting important events –  AEGEE-Yerevan applied to host a European School, AEGEE-Tbilisi a Planning Meeting, AEGEE-Kyiv applied to host the EBM and currently they host the HRES. And one local is planning to apply as host for the next Spring Agora! There were of course countless great events organised in the area. There are still lots of things to do and I hope that my successor will continue keeping this great spirit of a big family.

Golden Times: The number of AEGEE members is stagnating or falling. How do you want to make the turnaround?
Olga: We cannot deny that in the last years the number of members has been falling. In order to attract members our organisation has to be interesting. I see here the importance of work for the whole association. The cooperation between ACT, NetCom, CD, all working Groups and projects has to be sufficient on every stage of this process. Our human resources strategy has to be strengthened – our locals need more human resources background in order to understand how to work properly with members. The number of events aimed on attracting more active members has to be growing as well – starting from basic LTCs and RTCs to NWMs, European Schools and thematic events.

Golden Times: Which are the biggest challenges in AEGEE geographically? And what can be done about them?
Olga: To name exact challenges I will say something about conditional geographic areas, which need special attention. Currently Caucasian locals are working pretty well; Scandinavian locals are getting better and better with effective work of the Netcom there. Greek and Romanian, Turkish and German locals need special attention now. I believe that active Network Commissioners in those areas are our key to success. More focus has to be put there on local management, human resources issues as well as international events. It can be done, starting by showing people that the network is ready to help in all aspects and finishing with huge and noisy revival campaigns, which we know by previous experience, can save a whole area from stagnation.

Golden Times: In the past, many PR Directors focused on internal PR. You mentioned that you also want to improve AEGEE’s external image. How exactly?
Olga: First of all, we should all understand why we need external PR. Mostly, to make us more visible for sponsors and partners. Currently, as tools for external PR we can use our beloved Key to Europe, social networks, twitter and our website, which urgently needs restructuring by having sections not only for members but also for externals. This will help them from the first pages understand what AEGEE is and why it is worth paying attention to us. In the future our so far internal magazine the AEGEEan will be linked to our web site and thus we can use the AEGEEan as tool for some part of external PR.

Golden Times: Will you try to improve AEGEE’s visual identity? In what way?
Olga: I was one of those people who were supporting Michael Makowiecki with his visual identity reform. Our members have no idea how to use the AEGEE logo properly. In general we can say that currently our visual identity is not developed, so a visual identity manual has to be developed for sure and PRC is working on it now.

Golden Times: How and when did you actually join AEGEE? Is there a nice story?
Olga: I joined AEGEE in April 2008. As most of our members I saw the SU presentation in the University. It attracted me so much that later at home I opened the SU booklet, spent a night in the world of wonderful SU descriptions. In the morning I was deeply in love with AEGEE, preparing my application for my first SU in Sofia.

Golden Times: You did a lot of things in AEGEE already. Which three of them are most important to you?
Olga: First, the NWM Tbilisi – our first Network Meeting in Caucasus in AEGEE history. Second, the revival of Belarusian locals, which were in hard stagnation. Third, making my locals not only a family, but much more active – six candidates on European level in AEGEE from our area is an awesome result!

Golden Times: And which were your best and worst moments so far in AEGEE? And your favourite event?
Olga (smiling): My best moments were when my locals were calling me Netmommy and saying that I am the best Netcommie they ever had – here I usually start to cry. The worst: moments of demotivation and seeing some of my locals deleted.

Golden Times: Please complete this sentence: “AEGEE is for me…
Olga: …a place of endless work and limitless happiness”

Golden Times: How did you get the idea to candidate for the CD? What motivates you for this?
Olga: I was motivated a lot by the previous CD of Manos. It was my first experience of working so close with the CD when I became NetCom Assistant. Their work, their team relations and their AEGEE idealism inspired me a lot to apply as CD member. People around me motivate me a lot – Alla Resheten, Alfredo Sellitti, Anna Gots. And of course my dearest Netcom team motivates me a lot as they are simply the best Netcom team I could ever dream about.

Golden Times: What hobbies do you have?
Olga: Lots of dancing. Studying ten thousand languages at the same time, which I never complete. And recently painting.

Golden Times: What’s your dream job after finishing AEGEE?
Olga: Once I promised my parents that I will be the first official representative from Ukraine in the European Parliament. With talks about possible acceptation of Ukraine to the EU in some years, I am on the right way!

Golden Times: Can you imagine living abroad for more years? Maybe start working in Brussels? Or will you go back immediately after your CD term ends?
Olga: I see quite often very interesting positions in the EU, which unfortunately I cannot find yet in my country. So if I find something interesting in Brussels or any corner of Europe – I don’t mind to stay there for some more time. I’m open for any changes in my life.

Golden Times: What’s never missing in your fridge?
Olga: Cheese, yoghurt, chocolate.

Golden Times: How would you describe yourself in five keywords?
Olga: Demanding, fast-typing, moving, dancing, inspiring.

Golden Times: Anything you’d like to add? What should people know about you?
Olga (smiling): As everybody in the Netcom I’m a masochistic idealist and crazy demanding workaholic. But if you give me a chocolate bar, I become like a cat – sweet, lovely and nice. And I just want to tell all AEGEE members: always use the possibilities AEGEE gives to you and don’t be afraid to try something new!