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March 13, 2024

Executive Director's blog


Some things money cannot buy

The application period for Executive Director is 20.3.2024–2.4.2024.

Roughly three years ago, I had completed my master's courses and was embarking on my thesis when I stumbled upon a job opening in KY Today. Initially, I believed I had done everything I wanted at KY – despite having applied to the executive board a few months prior – but a spark of curiosity ignited within me when I saw the post. Yet, doubts lingered. My involvement with the KY office had been solely as a volunteer, and I had never held a position there, either as a board member or an employee. How could I possibly qualify when my understanding of the roles was rudimentary at best? Furthermore, I had yet to graduate.

Regardless of one's background, I wouldn't characterize the role of KY's Executive Director as easy. At every level, KY is filled with motivated, young individuals who have strong opinions about what KY should do to best serve its members. Naturally, this enthusiasm often leads to disagreements that need mediation – a responsibility I often take on. It's tough, but incredibly rewarding.

On the flip side, the distinctive qualities exhibited by the people of KY are precisely what makes the job seemingly easy. They are innovative-minded individuals, brimming with ideas and visions that surpass my own imagination. When trust is bestowed upon them and they are provided with a solid foundation for success, they often exceed expectations. Herein lies the role of the Executive Director – my duty is to ensure that everyone within KY has the optimal conditions to channel their passion, whether within the office or organization-wide. The Executive Director also shapes the role according to their own personality, particularly through initiatives undertaken during their term.

The day-to-day responsibilities encompass managing office operations, communication, invoicing, financial management, personnel matters, various meetings, and overseeing significant events throughout the year, such as the budgeting process, training sessions, and financial reporting, to name a few. Consequently, the role of the Executive Director is that of a generalist: encompassing the roles of CEO, CFO, COO, HR Manager, and perhaps even more.

Negotiation skills, diplomacy, the ability to influence others, cooperation, occasional dissent, adaptability, composure, and, of course, a deep-seated passion for KY are essential. Anything beyond these qualities is essentially a bonus. My experience as a volunteer at KY has proven invaluable, as it has allowed me to leverage interpersonal skills and gain a comprehensive understanding of KY as a whole.

What do you get in return for this? A great deal. Reflecting on the past three years, I can honestly say I can't think of a more instructive setting to have spent the last three years. I've collaborated with the representative council to develop a new strategy for KY, overseen the relocation of event venues in Otaniemi, introduced new services for KY members while enhancing existing ones, influenced the student experience through the implementation of a Code of Conduct, and
established a broad network of connections by engaging with alumni and decision-makers. Additionally, the role of the executive director intertwines with virtually every aspect of KY's operations. In today's professional landscape, possessing a broad skillset and the ability to rapidly grasp diverse subjects is priceless.

Most significantly, I've gained invaluable leadership experience. Leading a team of 21 individuals across three office terms, each one imparting unique lessons about myself, is an accomplishment I never imagined achieving at this stage of my life. While this may be the final point on this list, it's often said that the best is saved for last. I can only hope that I've managed to impart some wisdom to them as well.

On my very first day at the KY office, a wise individual told me that being KY’s Executive Director is the best job ever. Nearly three years later, I can wholeheartedly confirm that sentiment. It's challenging and demanding, but undeniably the best. Take a leap of faith and apply.

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