For the past five years, I have attended an ENIEC Annual Meeting. Every Spring I look forward to the yearly meeting and its many inspiring conversations, the new ideas I can go home with, the new colleagues I make. This year, I had the chance to look behind the scenes and see what actually goes into the building of the three-day meet-up. The organizing, without a doubt, was a lot of work. But it also gave me the opportunity to become more acquainted with what ENIEC stands for. The big bonus: getting to know a couple of Dutch ENIEC colleagues, Roy and Yvonne, and Lola of course.
Our vision for Madrid was to deliver a program that showcases our expertise, enables us to learn, but also leaves something behind. How to make it happen when you do not really know the speakers was our big challenge. Therefore, organizing plenty of opportunities for discussion and dialogue, while a given, was also a necessity.
In practical terms, this year’s organizing committee was also a story of a long distance relationship. We had to trust each other, meet during crazy hours and could have only one hurried, intense meeting. Through our Skype meetings, we actually shared some intimate bits of our lives: I learned that Sari Scheinberg likes to speak and work in front of her bookcases, Yvonne in her kitchen, Lola in her living room, and that Roy is willing to take the time to organize meetings even in his car. Now, I am glad I have my free weekends back. But I am so happy I have new memories to cherish with these truly amazing people.
This year, I had a few of those inspiring annual meeting conversations, even though, as the chair of the annual meeting you are bound to miss a lot of the networking. Seeing and hearing it happen, however, you cannot but feel fortunate that you could be part of making it happen.
My most sincere thanks to you my organizing friends. You are wonderful.