Every month EM interviews a different leader of a student association in The Chair column. This time it is Stéphanie Visser from RISK theatre association.
Name: Stéphanie Visser
Study: master’s degree Business Information Management (RSM)
Association: RISK (at one time an abbreviation of ‘Rotterdams Interfacultair Studenten Kabaret’) Student Theatre Association.
Chair since: 30 September 2015 (official)
Motto: ‘I want to be there for the members and offer them a fantastic acting experience’
Why did you want to be president of RISK?
“I was approached for this position by former board members.”
They must have had a reason for doing that?
“Ha, ha … of course. They thought I was very enthusiastic and worked hard for the association.”
Do you have other qualities that come in handy?
“I’m a strong communicator, I’m very structured and can plan well. I mainly learned the latter in my job at Hotel Okura in Amsterdam where I organise events in the restaurant; a job I now do part-time rather than full-time.”
Did you always want to be the boss?
“Well I have to admit that I was a bit like this at secondary school: always wanting to play a prominent role. I was always involved in all kinds of projects then too.”
Did you have any doubts about taking on the position?
What kinds of things do you do as Chair?
“Our board has four members: as well as Chair, there is a Treasurer, a Secretary and someone for PR. I mainly keep in touch with external parties, such as the directors, performance locations and foundations with which we cooperate, and I need to maintain an overview. At the moment we’re also focusing on formulating procedures and writing policy.”
Oh, did the association not have such things?
“Everything actually ran OK and of course there was policy, but not much was documented. That’s why we’re doing it.”
Does it take up a lot of time?
“It takes me about a day-and-a-half to two days per week.”
What’s the best thing about being Chair?
“That you have the feeling that you’re responsible for something; if I don’t do anything, nothing happens. I learn a lot from that and this will certainly be of value to me later. What I also really enjoy is solving ad hoc problems.”
What is your goal for this year?
“The most important thing is that our members enjoy a truly fantastic acting year. That they have really been able to develop as actors but also that, at the end of the season, they have really felt like students.”
Finally, do you have any bad traits that could undermine your Chairmanship?
“I’m maybe sometimes too much of a perfectionist; while it may be better to find the right compromise because, after all, the job should stay fun. Oh, and I’m quite assertive; and the same applies here – too assertive is not always good. But being too hesitant is a none-starter!”
RISK was formed in 1990 and has approximately 56 members who all perform in one of the five productions. Performances are usually at weekends in May in ‘t Kapelletje. For the first time this year a theatre group has been formed entirely from international students.