February 2015. After a successful Excel training for students I got an idea for a new event concept. I’m encouraged by other student-organized lectures that relate to self improvement theme. The idea sticks.

October 2015. I gather the email addresses of most student organizations in Tampere. I send a message where I request to contact me in case that somebody wants to be involved in the event that has a theme of Skills and stories by students.

November 2015. In the first meeting only half of the 4 speakers and 10 project team members show up. The reasons for absence are very different to each other.

Decemeber 2015. Planning, marketing and speaker training starts. After I catch the fifth speaker from an independence day party all three universities of Tampere are represented.

January 2015. Preparations continue with bigger breeze and the event gets sponsors.

February 2015. The event called Insight 2016 takes place in Tampere university under the Tampere ES brand. The amount of audience is expected but we are still not satisfied. In the actual event I perform as a host. The event is held in English.

Next I will go through the challenges of the project considering leadership and management of the event.

Insight 2016: Yuliya Nesterenko. Picture: Mika Fadjukov.
Insight 2016: Yuliya Nesterenko. Picture: Mika Fadjukov.

The problem of the first time

The biggest challenge was the fact that the event was organized very first time. This meant that everything had to be started from scratch: finding the team and speakers, audience, money, facilities, creating the brand, doing plans and brainstorming the ideas. I believe it all would be 10 times easier next time.

Also, it was extremely difficult to estimate our resources. In the beginning the ideas varied from circus bear to fireworks but in the end the concept was very simple: 5 students speaking about interesting topics. It would have been much less stressful to see from a crystal ball what would be a realistic goal.

The team

Engaging the people was very challenging. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but everyone just had their own appointments which made it difficult to close the meeting times. Additionally almost nobody knew each other which raised the social threshold much higher. Some also had to work and I can tell, it’s no easy job to compete against money. In the end the whole remaining team worked great together. The team consisted of Finnish, Kazakh, Spanish and Chinese nationalities which wasn’t any major crash course.

The final acceleration

No matter what the project is the ending is always the most important. Bad finishing may destroy months of work. In this project we didn’t have enough resources to market the event which decreased the amount of audience significantly.

Picture: Mika Fadjukov
Picture: Mika Fadjukov

My management and leadership methods

In the beginning my idea was that everyone could pick those tasks that they want in order to make the event success. The problems came along when most of the project team members wanted to do social media marketing. When some of the people dropped out by themselves it was much easier to point out certain roles. In a hindsight it would have been smarter to request people to apply for a certain position. I noticed that clear roles increased working motivation.

My plan was that anyone could organize meeting whenever it was considered necessary. But this wasn’t very brilliant idea as we didn’t even have any responsibilities. Fixed meeting times proved to be mandatory. My suggestion is to give a team a skeleton for working habits but let the rest for them to decide.

One of my goals was to be able to offer a dinner for the team after the event and I’m glad that I fulfilled that one!