YPFP Brussels: Building an Awesome Team

Posted on June 29, 2013

On a rainy Friday in June, 14 of YPFP Brussels’ volunteer staff set off on a 5 hour road trip to Normandy to take part in the first ever YPFP Brussels weekend away.  The self-funded retreat focused on team building and the achievements of the team during the past year.

“It’s incredible to see how this team has evolved over the last two years. The fact that YPFP Brussels’ staff has doubled every year since 2010 speaks volumes about the dedication of old and new volunteers,” said David Doyle, Executive Director.

“This weekend of team building and strategic planning was not just about making the Brussels branch stronger and more innovative. It was also about forging personal relationships and bonds that will hopefully last a lifetime,” he added.

Making the Journey

Two intrepid staff members took to the wheels on an eventful journey, including passing through what the team now terms “the tunnel of death” near Rouen.

A 16th century farmhouse in Normandy offered a beautiful setting for both new and long standing staff members to get together and focus on the branch’s goals for the coming year.

“I joined the YPFP Communications and Marketing team nine months ago,” said Jenny Lee, Webmaster & External Relations Officer. “Prior to the retreat, I only knew the Communications and Marketing team members well, as we don’t really meet with the Programming or Membership team on a frequent basis. Now, after what we’ve been through, and the experience sharing that took place, I feel we are definitely closer and one-team.”

Learning from Experience

The morning of Saturday was spent brainstorming on possible future YPFP event themes and formats and eating a delicious breakfast prepared by the team’s resident Italian chef, Programming Director, Leonardo Colucci.

Staff members then talked about their day jobs, detailing the skillsets and experiences each one brings to the team, particularly those that may not be directly linked to their YPFP portfolio.

“First as a member of YPFP, I saw it grow into a first-tier organisation and have been impressed by the resourcefulness of staff in achieving this, which is why I wanted to volunteer for YPFP,” said Olivia ten Horn, who joined YPFP Brussels as the Membership Outreach Officer at the beginning of June.

“The weekend retreat not only confirmed that I had joined a talented and dedicated team, but I returned home even more enthused by the organisation's mission and goals,” Olivia added.

Fostering a Community of Young Professionals

Volunteer staff at YPFP Brussels come from a range of countries and diverse backgrounds, ranging from policy advisors to communication specialists and consultants. All have a professional or personal interest in foreign policy and all devote their time and energy to fostering a community of leaders in the heart of Europe.

“YPFP has taught me skills, especially leadership, which I would have otherwise been unable to get out of other jobs I have done,” said Alex Godson, Director of Communication and Marketing.

“What is great about YPFP is that it is set up and staffed by young professionals who are able to bring elements of their day job and other experiences to create a vibrant and professional atmosphere in which we can truly achieve our organisational goals,” he added.