Hello Franziska, for two years you have now been the president of the KLU Alumni Association. How did it go?
When the board (Jannes, Pablo, Anne, and Fabian) and I started off, we were faced with a lot of bureaucratic challenges to keep the Association running. It was rather difficult in the beginning to find all the information we needed, check out the most relevant tasks, and really to get started. It almost took the entire first year. Now, in the second year, things run a little bit smoother, and we are now starting to really think about the future of the association and how the work could look like.

Why did you decide to run for the Association’s presidency?
I believe that a well-running Alumni Association is not only good for the university and its reputation, but also for the alumni who can really benefit from their memberships. The chance to stay in close contact with KLU, meet other alumni, and expand one’s own network – these are just a few examples of the positives a membership brings. I wanted to contribute to the development of the Association, which is why I volunteered, even though I did not expect to get voted in as the president.

Were you previously involved in an association, or were you totally new to this world?
Before I became president of the KLU Alumni Association, I was on the board of the German Surfing Association for six years, two of which I served as treasurer. So I had a good idea of what being a part of an association would be like.

So how does the KLU Alumni Association life look like?
Working in an association first of all means a lot of work. The other board members and I have challenging jobs and long working hours, so sometimes it’s very difficult to combine both and find enough time. The recent board meets a least once a month for a 2 to 3 hours to discuss past and upcoming activities and to-dos. We found that these regular meetings are a good way to keep everybody committed to the work. Thanks to digital tools such as Slack and Skype, we also communicate quite often when we are not at the same place. But of course, the new board can find other solutions and methods for their cooperation.

The new board?
Yes! In November, when Homecoming 2018 takes place, the General Assembly of the association will also be held. The General Assembly is the annual membership meeting of all association members. Since the board and I were elected for just two years, one topic of the General Assembly will also be the election of a new board. We are already looking for candidates who would be interested in applying.

Who can be elected as a member of the KLU Alumni Association’s board?
The board consists of five positions: a president, a vice president, a treasurer, and two assessors. Everybody who is a regular member of the KLU Alumni Association (so basically everybody who has an active account on our KLU Alumni Portal) and has paid the membership fee can be elected for one of the positions in the new board. How the work is distributed among the board members and who is doing what can then be decided by the board itself. Apart from the treasurer, the job description for each position is rather flexible.

What skills make a good board member?
I don’t think there is such a thing as an ideal board member. One should be interested in the work of the Alumni Association and keen on keeping good contact with the university and its student body. That is essentially the main purpose of the Association – to support the current students of the KLU. Therefore, dedication to those areas and some good ideas on how to achieve that would be a good indicator for a good board member. Of course, some spare time and the willingness to invest it into the Association is a plus!

One last question: you mentioned the Homecoming 2018. What is it all about?
The Homecoming is an opportunity for all KLU alumni to get together, meet other alumni, faculty, and staff, and also learn about the latest developments at the KLU. Besides this, we also offer executive education workshops, so that alumni can also expand their knowledge on different topics.

This year, we will have a workshop on how to build an own start-up with Professor Barrot, a Workshop on “Behavioral Operations: Human Decision Making in the Era of Artificial Intelligence" by Professor Fransoo, and a seminar on "Success-turbo Agile: mind-set and methods" by the alumni Anna Chirkova. Besides this, there will be time for networking, we will have a nice dinner in the evening, and of course the General Assembly is also a very important point in the agenda. So there are many different reasons to join.

Last year we already organized a big Homecoming event for all KLU alumni. It has been a great success and we had many participants. So, we hope to get even more people this year!

Homecoming 2018 will take place from November 9th until November 11th, and registration is already open. You can find all details here: https://alumni.the-klu.org/events/archiv/klu-alumni-homecoming-2018-1/

I hope to see many of the alumni there!

Thank you very much for your time and good luck with Homecoming.

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