oikosNewsoikos Stories: Insights from one board to the next

oikos Stories: Insights from one board to the next

10 December 2019 | News

As one year closes, another opens. As our 2018/19 board says their goodbyes, our 2019/20 board says hello, both offering us some insight into oikos International – where it was, where it is going, what could be improved, and so much more. 

Read as we ask these members important questions, discovering more about oikos International.

What should/could oikos International do better?

Comments from our past board

One common theme presented by the past board was oikos International’s communications. For instance, outreach to chapters and new partners could be improved as well as being active in sharing our library of information and resources to the community served and beyond. Another topic mentioned was that oikos International should have better communication with the community about what oikos International is doing as well as involving the community more in the ideation processes of what programs could and should look like. 

It was also commented on how the international team could do better in connecting oikees with each other, and within programs in the long term. The hope here would be to keep energy and engagement levels high after international meetings.

Continuing with being ‘connected,’ improving the possibilities in different governing structures such as working groups was also mentioned. In turn, this would make oikos International more inclusive, creating a highly “member-driven” organization.

Engaging our Alumni is another area noted by the past board. Specifically, more could be done regarding projects. Communication about these initiatives would be done through the web-page platform built last year.

Comments from our current board

With a different, fresher perspective, the new international board shares their sentiments on what could be improved, some of which mirror the closing board’s.

On view was that oikos international, in general, can do better in internal and external communication. This would mean better collaboration, knowledge transfer, and support within the international team and also the community, creating synergies between each other where all groups would profit from all the knowledge and projects available in the #oikosworld.

Continuing on this point of knowledge sharing, the community’s strengths could be better used to support one another. How oikos international improve this? Communication! Especially in the domain of internal communication. 

Another point, not touched on by either past or present board members, is recognition. One board member points out that we have an amazing community, talented, passionate, with students who are regularly contributing to their communities, educating those around them, and encouraging them to do even more. They need more recognition!

What do you hope for oikos International this coming year?

Eager individuals ready to help oikos international”

  • Alexis Troup

“I hope that the hard work of the international team helps to further convince other initiatives to join this amazing network of sustainability-driven people and to secure further funding.”

  • Luisa Marie Putz 

“oikos international team will become more socially sustainable in the way people work with a better work-life balance.“

  • Sarah Martin

“I hope that with the hard work of last year’s international team we are able to strengthen the community, to form a better unit with a common mission and vision and to work together on our sustainability projects.”

  • Paula Heess 

“The world is changing. The time is ripe for a paradigm shift in the economic and economics sphere.”

  • Jakob Eberhagen

“With better IT infrastructure, I sincerely hope oikos will be stronger in communication, both internally and externally. We need more experts and tips to help us on this, feel free to join our working groups, dear reader!”   

  • Benoit Pitsaer

“I hope that oikos international continues to make great progress, internally and externally. I hope for a suitable candidate for presidency 2021-2022 is elected to lead the organization further and that the chapters become even stronger in their projects and impact.”

  • Eva Spate

“I hope that with the new structure we will strengthen the community and with a strong community, we can extend the impact.”

  • Zvezdana Vuletic

“More connection. Between chapters, teams, and individuals. And more courage to go out there and change the systems we live in.”

  • Sophie Charrois

“ I want our community to continue to grow and develop so well. That is why I would like to be involved in this organization and provide help wherever it is needed.”

  • Mike Brodersen

What are you the proudest of with regards to your work with oikos International or what is your favorite memory/story?

Our previous board dealt with many trials and tributes, overcoming some of the most intense issues no not-for-profit would wish to face, their funding sourced closing down. While this was an intense period, the team collectively and individually achieved so much, developing great bonds between one another. Some members of the former board took the time to share these insights with you.

Benoit Pitsaer. I’m proud to have initiated a ‘clear location’ for Alumni to be updated when they have queries, and to have set as a principle that ‘oikos supports any alumni initiative that strengthens our mission.’

Eva Spate. I am proud that we as a team have managed the transition of having two entities (oikos Foundation and oikos International) become one oikos, a truly student-led organization. We established a good organizational structure for future boards to work with. 

Jakob Eberhagen. “Meet my grandfather. He has experienced the worst of human nature during the second world war. And yet I cannot encounter a single meeting where he was not beaming with appreciation and understanding for the people surrounding him. Love you opa!”

Jakob Eberhagen. I am proud of having been an active part of this breathtakingly capable and unique team, which managed to improve oikos on innumerable fronts.

Sarah Martin. I’m proud of many things which I and we as a team achieved together. Before programs were part of the oikos Foundation. With its closure, the programs were incorporated into oikos international. Therefore, among other things, I created an overview of the different programs and started some structure for a one-pager for each program.

Alexis Troup. I am proudest of my perseverance and the work I did on the website and the website change-over, branding guidelines, and giving a basis to the Marketing domain as there was not much available or much of it was dated.

What are your words of advice to the new board members?

As a new board member of oikos international, the position can be not only scary but also difficult to navigate. To help, some members of our experienced board offers a few words of advice. Take ahead board of 2019/2020!

Eva Spate. Enjoy your time and learn a lot. Take your role seriously – you have been elected and trusted by the oikos community. Communicate well, within your team and to the community. Listen to each other and respect each others personal space and well being.

Jakob Eberhagen. Don’t hesitate to take some time off if you feel the need to do so. Everything comes second to your personal well-being. And enjoy this unique experience. Every second of it.

Alexis Troup. The things that bring me the greatest joy in life are my closest friends (who are like family) and our outdoor adventures, spending time outside, and teaching people about sustainability.

Alexis Troup. The people you are surrounded with in oikos are your greatest allies, they will get you through so much, so don’t be afraid to learn from them and lean on them in the good and bad times. 

Sarah Martin. Be open, be honest, be respectful, be creative, be communicative, be realistic, be a sustainable leader 😉 and have fun! Tasks, decisions, etc. become easier and half as frightening but manageable instead if you work together.

New Board

You’ve now seen and heard so much from the old board, but what about our new leaders? Who are they, what are they planning to do during their term, and what makes them EXCITED to work with oikos International? Some of our new Vice-Presidents share their thoughts.

Paula Heess

Paula Heess. “A nice souvenir from one of the best weekends when my family and I just took off the weekend and went to the Blackforest to hike and to take a break. It showed me that you really don’t need to travel the world to have holidays but that some miles away from your everyday life with the right people you can have just the holiday you might need.”

I think my intrinsic motivation, my strong sense of responsibility and reliability are very helpful to the board. Moreover, I am happy to support others when help is needed and I am honest to the group and myself when I need this support from others.

Since I am VP of Program Development, I want oikos to focus on impactful and far-reaching projects. We should not spend too many resources on programs that in the end do not support our vision of a sustainable world and sustainable economics and management education.

I am really excited to work with the whole international team and to be the interface between the international work and the oikos community. As the VP of Program Development, I am eager to get to know many different partners and to gain insights into various projects, offering a diverse approach to fulfill our oikos mission.

Luisa Marie Putz

I am a really motivated person, always eager to help and never stop until the work is done. I am also a really structured person. Moreover, I think the team climate is always important. I contribute to this matter by always being up for a joke or a chit-chat.

As a VP for Strategy and IT exciting times are going to come for oikos international. I would like to improve the IT structure so that internal and external communication can be simplified. Further, setting up a strategy for the upcoming years will be key to ensure the competitiveness of oikos international and secure its existence so that it can flourish further. 

I am really keen on diving into the world of strategy and IT. Learning how IT processes can be simplified and automatized so that the board can focus on the important tasks and not having to do everything manually is a really important topic. Setting the strategy for the upcoming years is also a new challenge, which I am really excited about. Working with so many diverse people of different nationalities and backgrounds brings me lots of joy.

Zvezdana Vuletic

My openness to ask, share and be there for others making communication easier. I am always ready to make constructive observations and contribute to the team. My dedication comes from my passion.

Given that I am VP for the alumni domain, the goal is to engage the Alumni network in the community so we can work together and make oikos stronger. I would like to adapt communication and implement a clear direction for the alumni network, so there is mutual benefit.

Undoubtedly I am most excited to work with the remarkable people who make up the community. And, I especially can’t wait to exchange ideas, work with people who have so much expertise, and embed them in the community. As oikos supports all Alumni initiatives that are in accordance with oikos mission there is the opportunity for a greater impact on the whole community. And what is more exciting than making oikos stronger!

Sophie Charrios

Creativity, courage, passion. I think my systematic way of thinking is a helpful trait.

Mike Brodersen

Being a bit older, this wealth of experience is precisely what I believe makes me so valuable. I have already gone through some ups and downs in my life and believe that it has made me more relaxed and experienced. And this serenity is undoubtedly very helpful to drive oikos forward into a better future.

I am responsible for fundraising of oikos International and therefore I want oikos to be able to cover its costs as early as possible. I would also like to improve the low rate of conversion and to think more about alternative fundraising possibilities in the future. Furthermore, I would like to establish a system that will enable my successor to continue my work as seamlessly as possible. 

A big thank you to the Former Board: Wyatt Ball, Sophie Charrois, Jakob Eberhagen, Sarah Martin, Benoit Pitsaer, Eva Spate, Alexis Troup. 

Curious to know who they are? Find more about them here.

All the best to the Current Board: Mike Brodersen, Sophie Charrois, Paula Heess, Asif Gurbanov, Arthur Maria, Luisa Marie Pütz, Zvezdana Vuletic. 

Curious to know who they are? Find more about them here