The best time of my life

Approximately 3 years ago I was doing my Master’s exchange in Switzerland, wondering whether I should click the “Send” -button in my Gmail or not. My only experience from KY office was as a volunteer – I wasn’t a former member of the board or secretariat –  and therefore didn’t feel like I would necessary be qualified to be the Secretary General at KY. Come on, I wasn’t even graduated yet.

I wouldn’t say that the job of KY’s Secretary General is easy. KY on all “levels” is full of people with passion and strong opinions on what KY should do in order to be the best for its members. This, naturally, means clashes between people. Clashes that sometimes need help in order to be solved, and usually it is me who takes the worst hit and acts as the intermediator. Tough, but rewarding.

On the other hand, the aforementioned qualities of KY people are exactly the reason why the job IS easy. The ideas are there, the vision on how to achieve a better KY is there and most importantly, the motivation is already there – my job is to make sure that my people have the best possible circumstances to channel their passion and knowledge to something great, making KY a better place for everyone.

Every Secretary General has adjusted the job to look like themselves, especially through projects occurring during their term. In the future possible projects could include digitization of KY’s services, creating a method for KY’s societal influence or building – what is it that you want to do? However, we all have something in common: we are generalists. Secretary General is the CEO, CFO, COO, HR Manager and maybe even something more.

Regarding my day-to-day work, I could say the classic line “no day is the same”, but then I would be kind of lying. Sure, there is always something new going on at KY, new problems to be solved and questions asked, but there are certain routines that pace my weeks, months and years. Emails, invoicing and other financial operations, all kinds of meetings, budgeting, representative council minutes, recruitment, training, trips and events with the office, etc.

You’ll need negotiation skills. Diplomacy. Knowhow on how to affect people. Co-operation. Sometimes objection. Flexibility and calmness. And obviously, a passion for student activity. Anything on top of that is pretty much a bonus.

What do you get? A LOT. Looking back the past three years, I honestly can’t imagine a better place to have spent them. I’ve orchestrated the move of KY Office to Otaniemi. I’ve supported the representative council in creating a new strategy for KY. I’ve created new services for KY members and improved the existing ones. I’ve co-created a fundraising campaign for the Business School. I’ve met and worked with alumni and decision makers, creating a vast network of connections.

Last but not least, I’ve gained extremely valuable supervisor experience. Having the privilege of leading 21 individuals during three different secretariat, each and everyone of them teaching me something unique about myself was something I never thought I’d have achieved at this stage of my life. It is the last point in this listing but definitely on top of my memories. I can only hope I’ve managed to teach them something too.

3 years later, I couldn’t be happier that I decided to take a leap of faith and apply. I’d suggest you do the same.

Karri Tuominen

Secretary General, 0500 430 546

KY is now looking for new Secretary General. The application period for the position is open until the 7th of May. More info can be found here.