Aspire Organising Team #1: What it takes to be a wizard

Aspire has been changing the lives of its participants for the past 10 years and is ready to embark on the 11th year of its journey. With every edition, Aspire has grown from a dream into a beautiful global community of exceptional, driven individuals who are able to set the wheels of change in motion and leave their mark worldwide – and we owe that to the people working unconditionally to spread the Aspire magic. So what does it take to be a wizard?

The main pillars of Aspire’s activity are the members of the Organising Team, their cumulative effort and continuous work leading the implementation of groundbreaking ideas.  Have you ever wondered what it is like to be in the backstage and get to know Aspire’s inner mechanisms? Below you can take a glimpse into each role through our members’ different perspectives so you can further decide for yourself: Are you a wizard or a muggle? 

What it takes to be a wizard
Christmas Lunch with the Aspire Organising Team

Fundraising Wizards – helping further our mission 

Integral to the health, longevity and sustainability of Aspire, fundraising managers are the driving force behind fundraising efforts. They manage companies, institutions & the people responsible for bringing in donations as well as develop goals and blueprints for raising money. Moreover, fundraisers refine plans to adopt strategies and campaigns that reflect the ideals of Aspire, identify and explore donor pools, write grant proposals in addition to managing endowments, plan and administer marketing efforts like direct mail campaigns and thus, work collaboratively to enhance fundraising endeavours. 

Without the expertise and efforts coming from the Aspire fundraisers, we wouldn’t be able to see the Aspire enchantment transpire in front of our eyes each and every year. 

Silvana Gagu has been one of the most involved team members in the Aspire fundraising department this year and we asked her to tell us more about her input, but also about her motivation in spending amazing hours together with her Fundraising colleagues.  

My tasks included: contacting the alumni, researching potential collaborators, brainstorming in order to find innovative and extra ways of fundraising, meetings with companies with whom we have partnerships. 

What I liked best was the exposure I had and the challenge of always thinking of win-win ways to establish collaborations with new companies. During the Aspire year, I learnt that you always have to ponder on what would be of interest to the other person, what would be the aspects that would turn them into our partners. I exercised my communication skills as well as my pitching abilities. Sales are about establishing qualitative relationships with other people and about how you can help one another so that both parties ultimately reach their desired goal.” 

Her thoughts after this full year of pitching and networking? 

Everything is about sales in life: from the way you present yourself at an interview to drawing investments or finance for a project, that’s why I believe everyone should have knowledge in this area. In Aspire’s fundraising department I had the possibility to learn both through the experiences each one of us had and through the webinars that were organized. I deeply recommend this experience!”  

Aspire Dinner
Aspire Dinner

Recruitment Wizards – the stepping stone to growing our diverse community 

Being able to see extraordinary potential in people before they have actually had the chance to define their journey is the key trait of the recruitment team. By asking the right questions, they aim to meet the person behind the words and create a vivid profile of another soon-to-be community member.

Who can fit in the team? Well, someone who is eager to listen to stories, who has a strong intuition when it comes to deciding which are the people suitable for the entire Aspire experience. Recruitment is more about finding the right pieces of the puzzle and pushing them to find their place within the Aspire network, about discovering genuinely passionate people and giving them the chance to meet a new reality.  

Alex Mocanu, Head of Recruitment for Aspire High School & Aspire Ambassador dearly recounts his record in the Aspire Core Team and focuses on his most valuable takeaway – the people:  

It was a great opportunity to recruit the next Aspire High School generation, to get to know them and connect with their characters. However, what made the Orga Team experience truly unforgettable were the great people I worked with, some of whom I can now call part of my close circle.” 

Sabina Gradinariu talks about the behavioural insights she has accumulated in her unprecedented experience as a recruiter: 

This year I adopted a new recruiting way, insisting on very specific individual particularities. I enjoy analysing and studying potential candidates and found myself feeling amazed countless times during the interviews I held. If you are fascinated about human behaviour, can easily analyse beyond appearance and wish to learn how to find people who are truly special, I encourage you to apply in our circle.” 

Aspire Ambassadors pitching about Aspire

Community Managers – connecting people 

Community managers are the glue that holds the Aspire alumni network together. They can put any idea into practice, in order to deliver an opportunity for the community to come together. Be it in any form, the managers are there to provide people with a pleasant context in which to reunite and create new connections. 

Iulia Gheorghe has been highly involved in the numerous initiatives the community managers have sown the seeds into this year and delightfully depicts the activities she has taken part into:   

“What I loved most about the Christmas Ball was that it allowed me to become more familiar with how Aspire works behind closed doors to keep the community engaged. I had the chance to offer my input in the creative process of the event while also making new friends along the way. We had to improvise in some aspects, but it made the whole experience even more memorable. My specific tasks included communicating with the alumni about the details of participation, setting up certain services, checking the payment lists, solving organizational issues with the help of the PM, helping with the table placing and other on ground tasks on the day of the event. 

For the Mentorship Program we focused on finding suitable mentor-mentee matches. What I enjoyed was how challenging pairing people turned out to be since we had to create an entire profile based on the limited information provided in the form – it certainly involved using our imagination and intuition a lot.” 

Teo Pariza describes her experience as a community manager as having had a significant impact on her way of facilitating conversations, coming up with creative methods of engaging people worldwide as well as on her outlook on creating bonds: 

“As part of the Community Management Team, my role was to facilitate opportunities for our members to make new connections or rejoin in the fun. We had a lot of freedom to put our ideas into practice and this is how some projects were actually born! For instance, Luca Onică and I coordinated a series of events called Aspire Dinners, where a group of alumni would meet at an exquisite location and get the chance to interact with a special guest. The participants’ excitement and contentment were our reward!” 

Why does Teo think the role of a community manager has helped her evolve in so many ways? 

“While being a community manager, you get the chance to take responsibility into your own hands and socialise with lots of people, which can sometimes take you out of your comfort zone, but ultimately makes you more confident. You can be as flexible and imaginative as you want when you are part of this team and there is always something new to learn or do, that is why I would encourage anyone to give this experience a try!” 

Aspire Organising Team having fun

If you now find yourself intrigued by this kind of experience, we highly encourage you to apply for a position within the organising team and dare to connect with resourceful people who will take you by surprise in the best way and make it impossible for you not to spread the Aspire energy further! 

However, if you need the full picture before taking a leap of faith and giving organising a shot, stay tuned for the following articles to find out what is going on behind the curtains and hopefully feel inspired to develop your own narrative within the team.

Contributors: Alexandra Nanu, Iulia Gheorghe, Ulemj Munkhtur, Teo Pariza under the guidance of Miruna Iliescu

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