EIA robot dog
EIA robot dog dressed in green clothes. Can’t wait to meet you all!

The countdown towards the European Innovation Academy’s summer programs has started! It’s a bit more than two weeks until we start our innovation marathon in Turin, followed by Cascais and Shenzhen. Great events require a great team and it’s about time to shine some limelight to the busy bees of EIA and answer the question – so what do you actually do with all your “free” time when you’re not at the event?

It’s definitely a busy time – it’s the time to confirm the last participants, mentors and visiting faculty members. It’s the time to read through the playbook once more and prepare ourselves for all the unknown unknowns as best as we can while knowing there will certainly be situations we could not predict even in our wildest dreams. While we already know Italy and Portugal well, entering China will be quite another box of chocolates. Therefore, Sandra, our Head of APIA focuses on getting the team highly motivated to make APIA 2018 something to remember together with Lingling, our Manager of Asian Markets. To make sure APIA is remembered for all the right reasons (and not for malfunctioning wireless and airco), Andrea, our Head of Infrastructure flies into all our locations to set up the venues. Another team member who has the chance to visit all three events is Helen, our CMO. While reading through tips on how to beat the jetlag, one of her focus points is also making sure all our robot families are dressed in the clothes of the right color. Karoliine, our Head of Executive Programs, is also dealing with our non-human friends and making sure Growby the chat-bot is smarter every day.

While Karin, our Head of Program Development, is making sure all mentors are still on board and all keynote speakers know what their topics are, she also oversees all three programs. Johnny, our Program Manager for Italy, suggests us all to take time to appreciate that we’re about to create 1,000 new entrepreneurs while Herol, our Program Manager for China is finding the devil in the details.. and then getting rid of the devil. Elle-Mari, our Head of the Events has the task of calming the event managers in each country in case they are panicking too much (but little panic is ok!) high in her list. With an extensive EIA experience under their belts, nothing can faze our CEO Anni and President Alar, who have even fought the floods during our previous summers. They will be supporting the teams in all three locations and making sure all our partners, mentors, faculty and participants are well taken care of. Marleen, our Head of University Relations and Kadri, our University Relations Coordinator, are making sure the visiting faculty members are having fun, enjoying the program and meeting all the cool people.

Next to our own people, we also have 60+ volunteers joining us in all three cities. Magda, our Italian Coordinator of University Relations, will make sure all the volunteers in Turin know how to slay their imaginary dragons and have the know-how to deal with the pressure, while Susana, our Accommodation Manager in Portugal, does the same for the Cascais event. Zeca, our Events Manager in Portugal and Enrico, Events Coordinator in Italy will also support with a million little details from catering to social programs.

Even though our main focus is on the events this summer, we are at the same time making plans for 2019. Agu, our Director of Corporate Innovations, is already working on recruiting partners and planning the activities for 2019. It’s also very much the case for Marten, our University Relations Coordinator, who juggles between student communication for this year and planning ahead for the next summer’s events. Berit, our Office Manager, is helping out with all the logistics while preparing for her student communication role for Cascais.

While everyone is very busy preparing for three awesome events, we also need to find some time to relax and restore our batteries, is it then meditating, booking massages or shopping for new outfits as living out of a suitcase for up to 6 weeks is nothing that should be taken lightly! In everyone’s schedules is also celebrating the Estonian Midsummer, which gives another good possibility to spend time with friends and family. Adina, our Head of Data Management has a completely new role for the Italian event where she is in charge of a smooth experience for all our participants. She seems to have it all figured out as her pre-event plan is to breathe more and run around less. There will be enough running during the program!

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