During a year of change for Brussels with European Parliament elections and new leadership of NATO and the European institutions, YPFP Brussels is also experiencing a change in its own leadership.
Earlier this month the YPFP Brussels Board formally approved Katrina Murray and William Fox as the new executive leadership of the branch. William, previously Deputy Director of Communications and Marketing, becomes the Managing Director, and Katrina, previously Director of Membership, becomes the Executive Director.
In her day job, Katrina is a Policy Adviser in the Australian Mission to the EU, where she reports on EU foreign policy, security, development and the bilateral relationship with Luxembourg. William is the Digital Communications Manager at EuroCommerce, where he is responsible for the daily management of the association’s communications channels and the development of speaking materials for its President. Both are joint British-Australian citizens who speak French and have lived in Brussels for several years, and are visible volunteers in the Brussels branch.
Two Australians at the helm
Since studying together seven years ago at the Australian National University in Canberra, Katrina and William were lucky enough that their respective career paths took them to Brussels. Katrina and William joined YPFP as volunteers together in 2012 and their long friendship has translated into joint leadership of the Brussels branch.
“It’s great that Will and I go back seven years, and that I introduced him to Brussels” says Katrina. “But it’s been really great working alongside each other in YPFP as colleagues – we’re even finishing each other’s sentences now.”
“Being British-Australians, we both have our own stories and histories with Europe, and knowing each other for so long really helps as we lead the branch together. The Australian concept of ‘mateship’ and helping each other out is something that we both believe is core to a strong team, and I hope to develop this as we continue to build and manage this amazing group of volunteers” adds William.
After joining the team in 2012, both have achieved a tremendous amount in their respective teams, helping the branch go from strength to strength. Whilst both are eager to start working together on the next steps for YPFP Brussels, they pay respect to the departing leadership team of David Henry Doyle and Bryony Taylor, who have made YPFP Brussels what it is today.
“It is a real testament to the outgoing leadership team for where we are today – not just the success of the branch, but myself personally as I move into this role,” commented William, who will now be responsible for the internal staff management and day-to-day organization of the branch. “From the staff trainings and development opportunities to the team socials, I have really benefited from being a volunteer, and I can’t wait to take it forward in this leadership position and make it even better.”
Inspired for the future
Another staff member, Noora Lampinen, is also being welcomed on to the Brussels Board, who becomes Membership Director. All three new leaders, along with three other members of senior staff recently visited the US to visit their counterparts in Washington DC and New York. It was used as an opportunity to discuss not only transatlantic relations but also to exchange views of good leadership and ways to develop our teams of volunteers.
With changes in the team and the addition of new staff volunteers, the trip has inspired both William and Trina in thinking about the future of the branch. Going forward, the team has a weekend in France which is the perfect opportunity for team-building and discussing new ideas for the branch, as well as a number of staff trainings organized to assist in developing the team.
“I’m so proud of what the YPFP Brussels team has accomplished in 2014. From securing over 100 seats at President Obama’s address, to our inspiring US trip and the day-to-day of working alongside a team of 20 fellow young leaders, I’m really aware of the big shoes I’m stepping into” says Katrina.“But ensuring ongoing added value for our members and partners is our core mission – and I can’t wait to see what we can do for Brussels next!”
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of their employer or Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.