Every great story has a funny start, so this was mine. I met ENYSSP president, Peter, couple of years ago. Just out of the blue came his email saying that he wanted to connect and we arranged a Skype meeting. Couple of months passed and we started collaborating on a project totally different than ENYSSP. Now that I look back, he was trying to push the organization of a conference a couple of times, but it seems to me that the time wasn’t right:)
Couple of years passed and I successfully managed to miss the Leipzig, Girona, and even Bratislava conference (what a fool I was…). But then in 2017. came Michaela Bednarikova to Zagreb, to another conference. This is where it all started. Michaela and Christiana were the fuel to my engine. They told me everything about ENYSSP, even invited me to come to Bratislava, cause maybe it’s a good idea to visit an ENYSSP conference before organizing one (khm, yes!), but I managed to skip that one too.
I still remember the day when I came to my office and during a team meeting said to my employees casually: “And yes, we should organize a conference next year in Croatia, maybe somewhere on the seaside, somewhere in April or May. It’s gonna be fine. We still have plenty of time.” Have we ever done this? No. Have we ever been to one ENYSSP conference? No. OK, then we are set and good to go. We just need a good organization, great team and that’s about it. Oh, the blessed ignorance.
Nevertheless, we started in late September I think, after the summer break.
We knew the basic agenda: 1. find the location, 2. stick to the budget (thank you Michaela), 3. find sponsors, 4. stick to the budget:)
Months passed and we knew we should be on the right track, the seaside location was out of the question so we found the Croatian Studies faculty in Zagreb. Best thing was that they agreed to be partners of ENYSSP conference in a matter of weeks, but then we waited for the written confirmation for months (that was a bit stressful but the force was strong in us and we believed that the force will keep us safe).
Months passed, and the sign-up process started. We did not know what to expect, since for the first time we changed the term of the conference (before it was in late fall every time….I guess…haven’t been:)
But, people started to react, slowly but steadily. In the end we had more than 120 applications, which was the maximum number of applicants for the conference, 3 great keynote speakers and dozens of posters and oral presenters.
We (the whole OC team) knew we were ready, but….you never know how it will all go until it starts. But, in a fact, and I can speak in Sanja’s voice and mine, we were pretty calm. We knew we prepared it all very good. We knew where there should be more people involved and so we assigned tasks and delegated assignments.
First day is always the hardest, right? Well, for me it was all great from the first day. When I saw all that energy from all of you, I knew that we had something special here. I knew that all is gonna be as planned.
People were coming to me one by one with similar questions: “How do you feel? Are you nervous? You think everything will go good?” My answer was always the same: “I feel great. Is everything good for you too?”
Pre-performance routines, we heard something about it on this conference but we also teach/preach this to our athletes. My opinion is that this is the key to a conference success. Yes, you gotta think about a lot of details, not sleep much, be able to delegate and trust the people you work with. But all in all, in the end it all comes down just to good preparation and teamwork. Sounds similar to sport, doesn’t it? Well, hopefully I have a privilege to see this in practice every day.
What can you expect to get from ENYSSP conference? Familiar with the term memory positivity – we tend to remember the good days better. Well, this applies to me definitely. I got a lot. Maybe, even more than you:) I got dozens of new acquaintances and friends. I met so many people for which I know I will keep in touch for years to come. I got the energy of ENYSSP – young specialist working in this great field of psychology. I also got a bunch of new ideas for my practice. And last but not least I got a tremendous amount of confidence. Cause, if my team and I can organize such great conference, then what day to day stress is big enough to conquer us?
Your acknowledgments of our good and hard work, every thank you that we got, fueled our energy every time. And thank you all for that! I’m telling you, we got more from you, than you got from us:)
And in the end, how ungrateful would I be, if not to thank all the people/companies/institutions that helped me/us in organizing this: all the people from MC and OC, all the volunteers, Croatian studies faculty, Atlantic/Barcaffe – coffee break sponsors, ZET for providing a free transportation through the city, Zagreb tourist office, Routledge, Human Kinetics, Croatian Psychology society, Jakovac winery that kept a good mood going during official dinner, Restoran Muzej – great place where we had the official dinner (give the guys a 5 star on FB, they earned it:). So many great people that saw the opportunity to give a warm Zagreb welcome.
I’m sure that the Zagreb tourist office moto is something you all had the opportunity to experience: “City of a million hearts.”
See you all next year in Trieste, Italy! This time we are coming for sure!
Luka Škrinjarić, mag. psych.
Head of Organizing committee, ENYSSP conference Zagreb 2018.