• The Diversity lies in the SIA Volunteer itself – Meet Zsuzsanna!

    Zsuzsanna Hernadi joint the Social Impact Award as a Volunteer in January 2016. After half a year, she talks about her impressions and wide tasks of SIA experiences. 

    Dear Zsuzsanna, you’re a part of SIA’s volunteer team since the beginning 2016. Why did you decide to join the team?
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    “I heard about SIA on the day of the Kick-off event. It was in January, I think. My first thought was: “It sounds really interesting, I would like to be part of it and learn more about it.” So I checked the SIA homepage and I saw that they are looking for volunteers. ‘Yes, this is the place to be’, I thought. I don´t know exactly why. It was more a gut feeling. SIA is not just an award. It is much more: awareness, support, community and education. I find social innovation and social business really interesting topics and I wanted to know more. I was interested to get in touch with the students and see, how they develop a project with social impact from a small initial thought. My vision as a volunteer was to meet interesting people with innovative ideas, to improve my workshop facilitator skills and to network with courageous, open minded and young entrepreneurs from Austria.”


    And how do you feel about this decision to join the volunteer team now, after six months? Did the Volunteer2experience meet your expectations?

    Absolutely! I was always motivated to be part of the project, to be involved and to support Jakob, the Austrian coordinator, at very different tasks. I never thought ‘Oh no, I don´t want to be here.’ I found time for SIA with pleasure even if I didn´t always have much free time next to my fulltime job and daily life.

    So, what are your roles? What did you do in recent months?

    My main function was workshop facilitation. After the first meeting, where we brainstormed about the workshop design, we prepared the handouts and started our workshop tour to every state in Austria. I had really a tour feeling. Every day in another city, another workshop location, different group sizes, new participants. But our small team and the car were always the same. (Zsuzsanna laughs) I was a driver, I prepared and dismantled the workshop materials and the room – and my personal challenge was to do it always in a shorter time. I tried to think about everything in advance to be able to plan and optimize our tasks. I was the calm pole of the team. Our main team goal was to support Toni and Jakob to hold an interesting and motivating workshop, so that the students were able to improve a nice idea for the award. Our other – but really important – goal was to offer drinks to the participants in order to have more place in the car afterwards. (She laughs again) I really enjoyed to be on tour with the guys. We repeated this excellent experience during the second tour as well. It was nice to see and feel how a team develops and how we encourage each other – sometimes without words. In addition to the tours, I spent a lot of time in Impact Hub Vienna to support Jakob in very different topics. I promoted SIA in various Facebook groups to motivate students to taking part in SIA. I also did some office activities – like laminate, cut, and stick – for SIA events. We prepared the prize for the finalist announcement and we wrote feedbacks to teams that submitted project ideas. It was really nice to accompany the teams and see, which ideas were developed. I´m proud of all participants and of the SIA team.”

    How do you perceive the SIA community from this inside perspective? What could you learn from the people you worked with so far (team members, students, other volunteers, etc.)? 


    “I had the possibility to meet nice people and I learned a lot from them. For example, I used to preplan every in advance, but through SIA I learned to adjust spontaneously to different circumstances and still deliver high quality. This was previously impossible for me. Besides that, the students and the workshops also motivated me to start to improve my first own social impact idea. I realize every day that I´m thinking about innovation, social impact, social business. I like it. Through SIA I applied to FH Campus Wien to study social economy and social work from September. I would like to say “Thank You” for this experience for all participants and all the SIA team. Looking forward to support them also in the future!”


    Thank you so much Zsuzsanna for your time & support! 

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