Three cadences she is the one and only Communication Manager of ESN Lithuania. Sometimes it looks like she is online 24/7. Even at her Erasmus period when she was living in Croatia, she managed to keep in contact and update ESN Lithuania with freshly news. Always friendly, positive, creative and open-minded for new ideas - Sandra Baltkojytė is the perfect example how PR Officer should look like. But what does it take for her to keep ESN Lithuania always informed and connected?
Olė Sandra! How are you? It’s a pleasure to have an interview with you.
Olė Audre! I am really great, adding the last pieces of my final thesis and looking forward when the time will come for me to move forward with ESN again. And it feels so weird to fill in the opposite lines of the interview than I am used to, so it’s a great pleasure for me too!
So, you are third year in the Communication Manager position of ESN Lithuania. Is it still exiting?
So I am and actually I’m already afraid that with every day people are more and more willing for [Sandra Baltkojyte] changes in my position. Like 3 years already and for me it feels like one mostly, but when I start thinking about all I’ve gone through it could be measured even by 5 years or so. But I’m afraid to confess that things I’m doing probably are no more exciting. It’s even better! These days I’m finally enjoying confidence in my position. After all I finally understand what I am doing, what has to be done and how things are working in general. But new elections are coming, that’s what is exciting!
Let’s go back with time machine to the first months after you were elected in 2011. Was it hard? What was the biggest challenge for you?
Oh my…at the time I was only in my 2nd year of university and 2nd semester in ESN. And I think at that time, nearly after I’ve got elected I was delegated to go to my first ever international event without knowing pretty much anything. Representing well was the first challenge. But then many more came afterwards. We didn’t have any descriptions, guides how to work, so I had to find out everything myself. This was involving investigation and I had lots of fun, but what was really hard – try not to disappoint sections who believed in this newcomer and showed that during my first and the last voting. Even now I’m not sure if I have succeeded.
I think, everybody would agree that you put a lot of effort to the communication of ESN Lithuania that it would look like it does now. But what personal features it requires from you?
Oh, you’re so nice! Well I wouldn’t say it requires something exceptional. Being friendly, ready to listen and to hear are very useful. But I wouldn’t describe those as requirements, for me it comes naturally. Most probably it is patience I’m required to have. Sometimes even more than I would have ever imagined.
All this three years you work with different NB members. Do you enjoy the time working together?
Of course! I have found friends here, what can be more enjoyable? Three cadencies with nearly twenty different people gave me lots of professional experience too. All of them were strong personalities with different mind sets and year to year we all had to collaborate to give the best for ESN Lithuania. It’s the best team work example I could ever live through in my volunteering career. Tough days taught me a lot, best days made colleagues to become friends.
How do you manage always be so positive and pure in everything you do?
It’s because of the people like you, words like this I’m gifted after all those hours near my laptop writing, editing, creating. One conversation, chat or even few words can light me up for days.
What are the three things of your work as ESN LT PR, you are most proud of?
1. Finally established and actively working our national committee for communication (keep doing amazing job, PuRe people!); 2. That our publications in visual and written forms are read, noticed and positively evaluated in international ESN level; 3. And that we have moved so far further during those 3 years in general. Details like having national .doc template, photos in articles or ESN Lithuania’s Facebook page – things which didn’t exist at the time I’ve started.
What could you say to all current and future sections PRs? Maybe you can share some tips or short inspiring story?
Love ESN a lot. At least for that one year you’ve taken the responsibility to prove the world that it’s worth loving. Don’t hide behind your position, position has to stay behind you and the results of your work. Have fun, realize projects you’ve always wanted to. It’s the best time to learn, make contacts and develop some hard skills.
As for the story. On my exchange there were 11 Lithuanians, who knew nothing about ESN at that time. Due to the great work of ESN Zagreb now one is the leader of PR of one of the most active sections of Lithuania. I find it as an awesome example!
New NB elections coming very soon. What would you suggest to new National Board members? In what areas they should put most of the effort to make ESN Lithuania even stronger organization than it is now?
Tricky question! Anyway, always seek for cooperation and dialogue. Try not to mix personal attitudes with your professional work. Do not forget that now you represent an ESN, but still a country, so be wise, act wisely. And about improvement…just catch up with what was done and try to move it all at least a bit further. And always take care of your members, happy and determined to act people is what makes us strong.
How do you see yourself in five years? Do you think that this experiences you get being in the NB position for so long will be useful in life, maybe finding a job?
Well at least I hope so. Maybe not the entries in my CV, but skills developed will definitely be useful. In 5 years I will be somewhere, doing something, having ESN only in memories, but still keeping in touch with friends from that amazing period of my life.
Anything else you would like to share with the network?
If you read it to here – I’m really proud of you!
by Audrė Chudinskaitė, Proud member of the PuRe Committee, [email protected]