I remember perfectly when I thought: “Wow, this is really what I would love to do professionally”.
In a Public Relations class, the teacher asked us to create an event, name it, and create all the concept, structure, and steps needed from its conception to its closure.
It was 2003, and I decided to organise nothing smaller than a conference of the United Nations at Centro Cultural de Belen in Lisbon (yes, I never really organised something like this), related to combating terrorism.
This type of task and literature dissertations, were where I had more fun and felt more confident while doing my degree.
I made a lot of research into aspects needed from the conference’s rooms, to accommodation and travel of speakers and members of the U.N., health and safety, etc, etc…
A couple of weeks after, the teacher got back to me with an A on that work.
Around one year and a couple of awards for best student after, I was invited for an internship with the team of the Regional Development Association, that belonged to the Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre, where I studied. I have to say, I had no experience whatsoever, and I don’t think I was the best worker, despite the always important guidance, tips, and teaching of my friend Ana, who was my manager. My role was also not clearly defined, so it was a bit more difficult for me to know where to stand.
Some lecturers of the University of Extremadura (Spain) were teaching for a quarter at the Polytechnic Institute. They had the idea of organising an international conference on Energy and Environmental Engineering. As my role in my internship was not very clear, and they obviously couldn’t remove the permanent workers from their tasks, I was then designated to manage the conference.
‘This is scary, but I think I’ll love it.”
The 1st International Congress on Energy, and Environment Engineering and Management was born.
We worked for 7 months to get all this together (way less than I recommend for organising a conference) and managed to get around 120 delegates from 15 countries during the three exciting and interesting days that the event lasted.
I still remember the feeling of receiving the delegates on the first event I organised. Some of those people still attend conferences I organise these days, and I have the pleasure of working with some of them currently.
This event was crucial for my self-discovery as a professional, and although I don’t organise it anymore (I organised six editions), because I moved to Scotland and with that left the team I was organising it with, it will always have a very special place in my heart.