For our 50th Anniversary, EFMD has created a “Behind the Scenes” series so you can get to know us better. This conversation is with Virginie Heredia-Rosa, one of our Managers for Business School Services and Professional Development Services in Brussels.
Thank you very much for talking to me today, Virginie. I appreciate it. Could you start by telling us what you do for EFMD, how long you’ve worked here and where you’re located?
Sure. So, I’m Virginie Heredia-Rosa. I work for the business school department but also for the professional department. Business School Services is more about conferences. Professional Development is more about training – small learning, small groups, so it’s very different. And I joined EFMD in 2004, so I don’t do the math. It’s quite a while. But yes, 2004, and I’m based in Brussels.
What would you like for people to know about your departments? I guess either Business School Services or Professional Development?
I think that for both, I don’t know if members know how much we look at their input and how valuable it is – the evaluation and their comments because we do really use it. For example, we organise an activity, and we ask for their evaluation at the end, you know, when we say, “take a few minutes to complete this, we’ll be using this.” And actually, we do use it a lot.
We really look at how we should do things better and how we could use other topics they suggest. For example, in Business School Services, we use the evaluations in the steering committee for the next conference. We use the input of the attendees a lot. We look at all the information that they took the time to write, we really have a look at that, and we use it to build the next programme. And the same goes for the smaller activities of programmes and the workshop that we organise. We very much value the input from our members. That is how we can offer them the best service possible and learning.
So, just out of curiosity, I know we have a couple new programmes each year. Have any of those specifically come from feedback that we’ve received?
The Faculty Management Programme, for example, that I organised was from a member coming to EFMD and saying we should organise this. So, our programmes really come from the members who come with ideas. We receive an idea, analyse it, and talk to a few members. We see if we already had some comments from previous events or comments from meeting our members at conferences. From there, it takes shape slowly, and then it’s delivered. The Faculty programme was a great success. It was really fun to organise, I must admit, with Wilfred Mijnhardt and Griet Houbrechts.
So, we definitely listen to feedback which is great for everyone to know. And what do you appreciate most about the EFMD network?
Our members. I mean, our members are really nice and really kind. And this is something energising too. Because you do your work, but when you deliver the programme and the workshop, and then you see the network answering positively to what you’ve been preparing and thinking and organising, etc and you meet extremely nice people, that’s very rewarding at the same time, at least that’s my feeling. It adds a plus, a bonus to your daily working life.
And also, I truly like that when the activity is happening, you see the members sharing, explaining what they’ve been doing and coaching each other. And this is incredible to me, actually, their openness. And maybe it’s also because they know that we have that safe environment for them. The attendees are happy with the outcome because they come out of our activities with new ideas, with innovative ideas to implement in their institution, or at least knowing which way they should go based on the experiences and ideas of others. This is really nice to witness because then you know there is meaning in what you do. You know you’re doing something that is needed by the members.
Related to that, what do you like the most about your job?
What I like is the variety of what I need to do. It’s not only about delivering. It’s all the organisation, all the thinking behind that is also taking place. That is, to me, really rewarding. I like that you get to give your thoughts and your opinion and share this with the steering committee members or the programme chair. You get to the final product that is being delivered, and most of the time, it is very much appreciated. So, this is something that I really like in my job.
Also, the contact with other departments. Being in contact with my team, which I truly like and love, and with other departments. You, for example, Comms, Eline, other departments, Membership, for example, Finance. We do work a lot with you, with everyone. And to me, this is really nice because then you get to put your head out to the water, meet colleagues, and have another energy, another point of view, and different ideas. So, this is something that I appreciate. It’s not just into your job, doing your thing and being siloed in just my work. There are a lot of people outside of my department that I’m in contact with, if not daily, at least more than once a week. And this is something that I definitely enjoy.
Yes, I like that too. And what do you think is the best way to start your day?
I like some little cuddles and smiles for my little kids, so I think this is a nice way for me to start the day. And then a shower to wake me up, and then I’m good for the day.
Nice. That sounds easy.
Indeed. I’m an easy person.
What would you do if you were given a surprise three-day paid break to rest and recuperate?
It would definitely be at the beach, close to a swimming pool and with a book. And with this, I’m energised for the rest of the year! I’m scared with the three days, though, I might be a bit bored after two hours. But I might also like it and could tolerate friends, the kids and the family for a little while! But I think this is the way to be perfectly energised and the perfect way to recharge the batteries.
Sounds very nice. And what is your favourite piece of music?
So actually, I don’t really have one piece of music, but music is extremely important to me. I always listen to music, whatever music. There are moments in which I would prefer one kind of music. So, for example, when I study or when I need to concentrate, I put on classical music, when I’m in the car, for example, I listen to every kind of music, but it has to have a bit of energy in the car, or when I do something at home, and put on music that’s a bit more energetic. But I love listening to music. I don’t know the lyrics, though, so this is terrible because I would remember only a sentence or a few words from a song. And I would sing that only sentence or words for hours…, and it would be terrible. But music to me is important. I mean, I listen to music all day.
Yes, me too. And what is something you’ve been meaning to try but haven’t gotten around to?
I think skydiving is something that I would really want to try. I’m not dying to try, so that’s why I’ve never asked where I could do that, and when, and the price, etc. I’ve never gone that far, but it’s something that I always thought would be interesting to do. And that feeling, although I think I’ll lose my voice midway to the ground. But I think that would be really fun and interesting. So, there’s something that I would definitely want to try, and hopefully, I can still do it.
Of course. You still have time! So, I think that’s all of our questions. Thank you very much for talking with me today, Virginie.
Learn more about Virginie in the video with Eline Loux below.
See more of our staff interview series.