Wednesday, 16 November 2011

“My guys are great - all four of them!” says Deborah Walker, the General Coordinator of the new Stage Committee, about her team

What does Deborah (26) - Scottish graduate of Edinburgh Napier University in Business Entrepreneurship, decent kick boxer and lover of dancing, motorbikes and scooters - think about her new fellows and why does she refuse to label trainees of this term stage miserable? She talked about the new Stage Committee and her plans for it.

The Stage Committee seems to be a nice place to meet many trainees and all of them will get to know you very soon. But why did you decide to run for a position there, did you have any specific intentions?
I love challenges, and I knew this would be one. I also like meeting a lot of different people, and this position definitely allows you to do that. I’m usually ridiculously organized and I knew this would be a skill I could use as general coordinator. More than any other stage position, the general coordinator requires efficient, timely and accurate problem solving skills and using these skills both excites me and allows me to do something I’m good at. Plus, who wouldn't want to be on call 20 hours a day, 7 days a week for 650 trainees!?!

The new Stage Committee has only been in place for a few days, but you have already discussed this. So what are the main plans of the Stage Committee? Have you prepared any surprises for other trainees?
Yes! We have been hard at work for 2 weeks now planning and deciding on some ways to make this traineeship great fun with interesting learning and perhaps some memories that will stick with the trainees for a long time. Our events coordinator has been searching day and night for the best party locations in town (and found them!). We are also working hard to obtain sponsorships for all the great events such as job fair and euroball, to ensure they are ones to remember!

What about the Stage Committee team? What were your first impressions of them?
Good question! Looking back three weeks to our first meeting together - I never imagined I would begin to like them so much. Michael, I thought he was loud, obnoxious and over-confident. In fact, he’s entertaining, (sometimes) adorable and great to work with - he brings the hilarity. He is also very generous with his time and always willing to help. He has been my biggest surprise! Chris is Northern Irish and I knew we would be okay. He’s very level headed, direct, extremely hard working and I’d say the biggest asset to our team. Lothar and I were battling for general coordinator, so there was tension for the first week - but he is in fact very funny when you least expect it, not to mention ambitious in his work. Petr - well who doesn't like Petr from the first moment? He loves to talk and we love to listen. He is charming, attentive and always likes to have everyone involved with his ideas - he is a real team player. My guys are great - all four of them!

What about your personal attachment to the European Commission, what were your main reasons to apply for a traineeship? And so far, how do you like the traineeship?
Applying for the traineeship has been my goal since first introduction of EU topics whilst studying in Germany in 2008/2009. My background is in business entrepreneurship and it has links to economic growth. I’m not the average EC candidate, but my passion for innovation, entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprise growth lead me to being interested in the legislation and regulation inhibiting the promotion of all of the above. Being involved at the core was for me, the place where I could really try to make a difference. And here I am!

I work within Eco-Innovation where we receive funding applications for sustainable and innovative products, services and processes with the central task being evaluation of business plans. I could not have hand picked a better position for myself! I would even go as far as saying I have struck gold being placed there! We, as a group of 7 trainees at the agency are so delightfully different from one and other yet bonded like superglue from day one.

I believe every member of Stage Committee has some expectations about their work. What are your expectations of the new Stage Committee? Why do you think this will be the best Stage Committee ever?
My first expectation is to be much more organized than the liaison committee. It is taking time for us to settle in and get to know everything, but we are almost there! There have been so many nice emails from trainees thanking us and we really appreciate that. We work hard and it makes our jobs bearable. This may be the perfect time to say that this traineeship can only be great when everyone is motivated to make it great. The Liason Committee has already labeled us as a slightly miserable bunch of trainees, (but I am sure they are wrong!). Participation and general interest is down from previous stages and as much as we want to reignite the passion and get everyone involved and excited to experience such things together, we cannot do it alone!
Why will our committee be better than any other? Because we are five fools dedicated to making it so.

By Lucia Mrazova