Interview: External Relations Coordinator Rona

Interview: External Relations Coordinator Rona

Who are you? 
My name is Rona Krietemeijer and by being only 21 years old, I am the youngest of the 48th MAEUR Board. During my board year, I started on my Master's degree in Management & Organisations, as well as my Master's degree in Behavioral Economics. Last year I finished my Bachelor degree in Business Economics. I also worked as a Team Leader at the Albert Heijn, where I developed leadership skills and communication skills, and it taught me how to work best in a team. These are skills I used but also further developed during this year. Before starting my board year, I had no previous experience with acquisition, but luckily I got acquainted with it pretty quickly.

What is your function and what does it entail?
As External Relations Coordinator, I am responsible for the complete acquisition of the association. Next to that, I am in close contact with our partners and other companies. In addition, I am the supervisor of the Externals within each committee to make sure the acquisition process for each event runs smoothly. Other tasks include hosting a sales training, organizing in-house days, writing up contracts and administering the CRM system.
 
What made you choose to apply for the MAEUR Board?
At the start of the 3rd year of my Bachelor, I participated in the Bachelor Consultancy Project. Through this project, I got to know the MAEUR as an association. Because I really liked the vibe within the association, I decided to apply for one of the other committees within the MAEUR as well. I became Chairwoman of the Activity Committee and enjoyed all benefits: an active members weekend, active members nights and a lot of new friends! At the end of the year, I did not feel like studying for another full-time year and could not think about starting to work right after either. I wanted to do a gap year, to gain some practical experience and give myself some time. Joining the MAEUR Board then became an obvious choice for me!
 
Describe a day in the life of an External Relations Coordinator.
At 9 a.m. I start the day at the office with some tea, breakfast and some morning talk with my fellow board members. When finished, I start working on my inbox. The first e-mail I open is from one of the committee members, asking me to make a contract for an event partner. When the contract is finished, I read an e-mail from a new company asking about the opportunities to raise awareness for one of their vacancies. I look up the overview of the possibilities and costs and send it to the company. After some more e-mails from either committee members, board members or companies, my inbox is empty again. Now I have some time to start calling some companies because I want to organize an in-house day. When it is 12 a.m., I have a meeting with the Externals of the Speed Dating Committee. We discuss the progress of the acquisition process and any difficulties they are running into. Then it is time to get ready for another meeting. At 3:00 p.m. I have an appointment with a possible partner. Together with Sander, our Treasurer, I travel to Amsterdam to visit the company in question. It all goes well and to conclude the meeting we get a tour through the building to get a feeling of what the company is about. I get home at half past five and jump into bed for one episode of Dexter, one of my favorite series. After that I get ready to go to a group of friends, to have dinner together and drink a beer. The evening ends in 'De Vrienden Live'. 
 
What did you learn from this experience?
Since I started with no experience in acquisition, I did learn a lot about sales and the acquisition process. Also, the CRM-system was completely new. Luckily these things were not that hard to get a hang of. Furthermore, I strengthened and developed my leadership and communication skills by supervising the Externals of the committees. Working together with the other six board members enabled me to really master working in a team. It taught me when to listen, when to speak up, how to approach different kinds of people and how to work efficiently while still having a lot of fun. Visiting all kinds of companies and getting a good overview of what a company stands for and what they represent, really gave me the opportunity to look around for all the possibilities and check what kind of employer would fit my needs. My board year has provided me with experience and knowledge that will help me for both my future career and personal life.
 
What did you enjoy most about this board year?
In general, this would be the contact you have with all the companies. During the summer you will travel with your predecessor and meet the partner companies for the first time. This was a great experience for me. I got to set the baseline for the contact I was going to have with them throughout the year. Getting to know my contact persons better by each call or meeting, and really getting to know what they want and where the added value was for them, was a great challenge which I enjoyed doing every day.
 
What is your next destination?
My next destination is still a bit blurry. I want to finish both my Masters, do an internship and gain some international experience. I do think I might need to scratch something off the list, but I did not decide which one(s) yet. After this, I want to do a management traineeship, and I do already have quite a list of companies I do (and do not) see myself working at in the future.

Interested in becoming the next External Relations Coordinator of the Marketing Association EUR? Feel free to contact Rona (external@maeur.nl) if you have any questions. For general information about the board and the available positions, you can read the brochure. Click here to apply for the 49th board! The deadline is the 14th of May