“Alex, would you like to go to the Strat-Tri Congress this weekend? There’s only one hour left to register,” said Michael, the Vice President of Outgoing Exchange at AIESEC UBC. The moment I heard this, I instantly dropped my sandwich and quickly ran to register. From what I was told, Strat-Tri Congress is an exciting, unforgettable, and intense learning experience where the Strategic Triangle portfolios (Outgoing Exchange, Marketing & Communications, and Talent Management) from different AIESEC chapters gather to share ideas and help each other strive to fulfill AIESEC’s vision. As someone passionate about personal and professional development, I could hardly wait for the weekend to come.

On the first day, I remember walking into the lecture hall feeling intimidated by the lack of familiar faces. To my astonishment, I was immediately greeted warmly by the other delegates from UBC, SFU, and KPU. To me, this was the first indication of the amazing experience that was to come. During the first day, I learned that the conference theme was “Super Synergy,” the organized cooperation and collaboration between the Strat-Tri portfolios. In accordance with the theme, we were taught several methods to aid our cross-portfolio collaboration, such as the scrum board, which allowed for the visualization of large projects.

AIESEC UBC delegates working on their Scrum board.

In the following days, I learned several important strategies to use during our upcoming September recruitment. Firstly, we were introduced to the idea of providing customers with specialized products which cater to their specific backgrounds and fields of interest.  We also learned a new approach to constructing a recruitment plan by using our final goals to create milestone goals in order to ensure the quality of the final product.  The most useful tool I learned was how to improve my sales and presentation skills in order to market AIESEC’s products.  In order to develop these skills, we participated in simulation activities where delegates practised selling the program to facilitators, who acted the role of potential exchange participants.  To me, the simulations were one of the most enjoyable parts of the conference as the role-playing and constructive criticism I received allowed me to gain more confidence in my own abilities while improving my knowledge of the AIESEC products.

Through this conference, I was able to finally understand that AIESEC’s core mandate is to produce life-changing exchange experiences. To supplement this, I learned not only about the local initiatives across the coastal region but also about the national strategy and initiatives in the context of exchange.  Many new training ideas and documents were introduced as a method of increasing the quality of member and exchange participant experiences across the country. As a member of the Outgoing Exchange portfolio, I found that the idea of challenging exchange participants to set personal goals throughout their exchange journey would be rewarding as they could track their professional and personal development. The uniqueness of these new ideas led me to the realization that AIESEC is a continually improving and evolving organization that is dedicated to the needs and aspirations of its members.

Overall, Strat-Tri Congress was an incredibly rewarding experience and an exciting start to my AIESEC career.  I was able to gain new insight and understanding about my role in an international organization while developing my personal potential.  After the conference, I feel more connected to AIESEC’s core values and I am even more motivated to go on to do greater things for this organization. Looking back, I finally understand why conference experiences are such a fundamental part of being an AIESECer.  Conferences represent the pinnacle of youth expression through the cooperation of communities in working together to solve a common problem.  To me, this is how AIESEC is making a difference in today’s fast-paced society: by giving youth the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Strat-Tri Congress was a significant highlight of my AIESEC experience which I believe I will fondly remember for years to come. I look forward to bringing new strategies back to my own Local Committee and living out the idea that “you get what you put into AIESEC!”

By Alex Woo, Outgoing Exchange