ᒪᐯᑎ can only exist because of the hard work of its volunteers and fulltime interns. This time the light is shed on one of the freshest and smartest assets of the team. Lincy Margodt, student at UCLL, is currently the new force in the community team and mainly takes on the role of project manager. As an intern, she is able to give an unbiased and unique perspective on her work experiences at ᒪᐯᑎ.
You are currently enrolled in your Banaba Advanced Business Management, how does Leuven Value Network fit into the study program?
“’At the moment, I’m studying design and innovation which is of course the core business of ᒪᐯᑎ. Even though I was initially applying for the HR operations, the team leaders convinced me to join the community team as it could benefit from my experience with strategy thinking. Basically, I take on the role to see how our organization can expand and improve the entire community.”
Was ᒪᐯᑎ your first choice to do an internship then?
“’Well yes, it was my first choice, even though I also applied for a few other companies in Brussels which focussed mainly on community building. However, my first call with Dieter, Jente and Sid gave me such a comfortable and encouraging feeling that I immediately decided to seize this opportunity.”
You are used to attend the (digital) classrooms of UCLL. How did you experience the transition towards a professional environment where you have clear defined responsibilities?
“’(laughs) As I was not always the best student, the first days at ᒪᐯᑎ overwhelmed me a bit. It felt like being dragged back into reality as you got tasks to do and it is also important you execute them in a qualitative way. However, after a few weeks I got used to the workflow and I started to like the idea that you have specific goals which you try to obtain. Especially as a project manager for the monthly Value Networks, I really have fun to optimise our events by applying my knowledge of design and strategy thinking.”
As an intern you will also conduct a project for your thesis, can you give a deeper insight into that?
“’As I am mostly engaged in the community team, I try to look at ways how we as an organization can expand our memberships. In order to do that, I will do research about who our existing community members are and what their main needs consist of. Afterwards, it is essential to look into new ways to address those demands so we can tighten the linkages between our attendees even more. However, I really want to emphasize that I am a big believer in taking it step by step. Even though my studies granted me with specific knowledge concerning strategy design, I have never had the practical opportunity to conduct such inquiries which in the end lead to effective solutions. That’s why it is essential to execute a research first in order to see where we, as ᒪᐯᑎ, stand today. Besides, it will not be a solely individual endeavor as I will collaborate closely with the other interns which will definitely lead to even more encompassing insights.”
As you already mentioned, you are part of the community team. Basically, it means that you have close contact with core partners like Leuven MindGate. What are your methods to sustain a fruitful collaboration with them?
“’That’s actually a good question, as I am just starting in that specific position. Even though I only had a few meetings with partners like Leuven MindGate and KU Leuven Kick, it surprises me how intense our connections are. Every time we are in need of certain services or experts they take the time and effort to help us out in the best way possible. Besides, I need to give huge credits to Jente as he definitely did a good job establishing those partnerships. You could almost say they are kind of in love with him (laughs). So to answer your question; I guess it is too early for me to explain in an extensive manner how I try to sustain those close connections. For the moment, everything seems to run very smoothly which will definitely also benefit me in the future.”
You are also responsible for the managing of the monthly Value Network. How does ᒪᐯᑎ distinguish itself in the facilitation of networking and self-improvement?
“’I think we definitely are innovative because of the online networking possibilities we offer. You could argue that it is also done by other organizations, but in our case we evolved at an amazing pace. Considering that we only transformed our endeavors fully digital since last year, we made big steps. Especially for youngsters nowadays, organizations like ᒪᐯᑎ are definitely an added value for their professional evolution. Before Covid-19, students had plenty of possibilities to get in touch with new faces, the Oude Markt is the perfect example for that. However, those contacts often did not contribute to your professional aspirations. It is exactly for that reason that our Value Networks have a unique character. The fact that we are run by and for youngsters creates a whole new platform where students can get in touch with peers which is essential for their professional evolution. Basically, we offer an easy going environment where students and young professionals can easily expand their network.”
To conclude this charming conversation; do you believe that the future of networking will keep pursuing digitalization or will a hybrid model be more likely to prevail?
“’Well actually, that’s a question that I have been asking myself a lot lately. In all honesty, I feel that when the measurements are abolished, people will have the untameable desire to attend physical events again. However, I need to admit that’s also just a personal wish of mine (laughs). Nevertheless, hybrid models seem to be the way to go as it combines the best aspects of digital and physical venues. An example I immediately think of is the fact that people have the freedom to decide how they want to structure their day. Instead of being almost obligated to transport themselves to a physical venue, they can now network from their lazy couch, so to speak. In other words, hybrid models have definitely the most inclusive connotation as it augments the possibilities to attend and contribute to networking events.”