Name: Ying Wai Cheung
Country: The Netherlands
Studies & University: BSc Industrial & Organisational Psychology (Utrecht University), MSc Business Administration (University of Amsterdam)
Why did you join the Board of Management?
I initially joined the Board of Management of EFPSA because I was looking for an opportunity to develop myself in a leading role. It was the chance to challenge myself to improve my leadership and managerial skills. Within the Netherlands, there are plenty of opportunities to do this. However, I wanted to challenge myself on an international level as I have worked in different local and national NGOs before. After I had studied abroad and have always in-between cultures, I wanted to work in an international environment. The Board of Management of EFPSA offered me exactly this: a leadership opportunity in an international environment in my field! I enjoyed it working on the goals of EFPSA so much that I applied for a second year within the Board of EFPSA. Joining the Board of Management of EFPSA and taking the position of President of EFPSA was one of the best decisions of my life.
What is the best thing about your position?
As the President of EFPSA I am aware of everything that is going on within EFPSA. The fact that I am aware of everything makes me able to guide the other Board of Management members together with the Vice President. Because of this, I have insight on which goals are not met and which activities or practices are not working effectively and/or efficiently. It has been very fulfilling to develop new projects, improve our activities and introduce better practices within EFPSA. Besides that, I really enjoy to represent EFPSA internally but also externally. I have been to the European Parliament, work with the professionals of EFPA, had meetings with students from other student organisations, visited the most interesting events and cities, and met an incredible amount of enthusiastic students. Witnessing the growth of EFPSA and the growth of the students within EFPSA is incredible.
What is the biggest challenge you had to face with this mandate?
My personal challenge was to move from the Finance Officer position to being President. As I told someone during the Congress in Denmark, it was a change of mindset for me. In my first year in the Board of Management, I was responsible for all finances of the Federation and had to make sure that everything went smoothly in that department. While finances are a big and important part of any organisation, being President made me realise that all other components of EFPSA needed to run smoothly as well. I had to get used to this, but I learned a lot in a short amount of time and because of that it felt quite natural quickly. Besides that, working mostly online is also challenging, as you sometimes miss the efficiency and dynamics of working in-person, but the weekly BM Meetings help a lot, together with the in-person meetings that we have. You naturally become a group of friends while working together. Next to that, I had the opportunity to visit EFPSA Events as a BM Representative or external events to represent EFPSA. These events were always a huge boost of motivation for me.
How did you maintain your EFPSA responsibilities with your other responsibilities?
Being a full-time student and leading the biggest European psychology Federation is definitely not easy, but it made me more versatile and improve my time-management skills. Exam periods are not easy, but they never are. Luckily there are always seven other Board of Management members supporting you and your work. As EFPSA work is flexible, you can allocate your own time during the day for EFPSA, so if you have other responsibilities, there is always a way to work around it. Besides that, I loved working for EFPSA! I have worked for EFPSA on many airports, in different coffee shops, and in the most comfortable libraries. It is somehow very exciting to be able to work from anywhere at anytime and still be able to deliver and finish tasks.
What skills have you acquired during this mandate?
This mandate taught me a lot of new skills. First and foremost, public speaking, networking and presenting became way easier, as I had to do that often. I grew into a leading role and managing the Board of Management and External Relations Office. This is definitely something that has become more easy in the past two mandates. Planning and organising were tasks that I had to do often together with the Vice President: scheduling Board of Management Meetings, Joint Executive Board & Member Representatives Meeting, Congress, online meetings and other plenty meetings. One of the major benefits within EFPSA is that you get the opportunity to work with so many people from so many different countries with different backgrounds and working styles. Working with people from more than 25 different countries make you more aware of cultural differences. Furthermore, I have gotten a better understanding of organisational politics, improved my problem-solving skills and analytical skills to solve issues along the way. All in all, it is a great opportunity to learn on-the-go and gain many skills in a challenging and supportive environment. I hope to discover that I gained even more skills that I am not aware of now. EFPSA is preparing me for an international working environment in the future.