Culture Generation

Yesterday was my Executive Board teambuilding day. Everyone on the 2008 EB had committed to go, which was too good to be true. Sure enough, thirty minutes before we left Atlanta on Saturday morning I get the call that Bryan, my future VP Infrastructure, is mad sick, and completely incapable of even moving in his bed. But the other six VPes and I still made that trip out to Leesburg, Alabama, for a day of getting to know each other and planning for the year ahead.

It exceeded my expectations far beyond what I could have believed them to be. Even for what little time we did planning for our team, it was the most efficient meeting I have ever been to in AIESEC (except the German conference meetings which trump it all, but then again, they are German). The personalities that came together and the visions that clicked and the words of action, not deliberation, that were spoken gave my soul a big-ass jump-start on AIESEC in general, and especially for the Georgia Tech LC. I contrasted it with the ebb of motivation that has been going on, our low(er) conference registration numbers, the sometimes defeatist attitude in our leadership team meetings, and I see a bright and shining sun charging on the horizon, that is our Executive Board 2008 and a new era.

At tonight’s leadership team meeting, my heart just about exploded out of my chest when I was offended by the stark contrast between yesterday and today’s meeting. I value everyone in our leadership team. I found – and find – myself wishing I could sweep it all away though and begin with January 1. That is a hard confession to make, but that is how I feel, and that is what this outlet is about. Life with others is not about sweeping things away however, and we will all be better for working towards January 1 in the current situation because you learn more with challenges like this. I learned that a long time ago, and dammit, I just keep on learning it harder and newer.

It is three days before National Novel Writing Month 2007 begins and I have done no plot or character outlines.

Letter to Atlanta LC: An Entreaty to Apply for the Executive Board


This is Preston, your Local Committee President-elect of AIESEC at Georgia Tech for the year 2008.

Charlie has sent out the EB applications and appeals to sign-up already, but if you have not done so yet or are hesitating, then this email is for you.

Most of you have been in AIESEC for less than a year, but even for many of you who have been around longer than a month you have seen the overwhelming power of the AIESEC network. You have worked as a salesperson or external relations agent in a real business (that is AIESEC GT!), networked with some of Atlanta’s top political and business figures, begun a push to use the AIESEC network as a platform to develop a project or initiative that you have created, and even experienced the wonders of local, national, and international conferences – some of you have probably even gotten a meal and a place to stay from Europe to Japan just because of your AIESEC network.

Those stories are proof that AIESEC, unlike so many other student organizations, is not a place where only seasoned veterans can take ownership. AIESEC is designed for you to develop yourself, and you can ask anyone in AIESEC who knows me – I am a firm believer in providing as many opportunities as possible to as many members as possible, regardless of their life experience or their AIESEC experience.

The thing I want to get most out of my time in AIESEC is to be a part of the perfect team. The perfect team is one where everyone not only understands their role and their place in the team, but where they are so empowered and impassioned by the work their team can do that the constituent individuals and their interactions with each other and with the outside world are able to create a sum greater than the whole of its parts. The opportunity has now been laid in front of me to be a part of the perfect team: the Executive Board of AIESEC at Georgia Tech for the year 2008. I want you to be on that perfect team.

If you feel like you can create legendary projects, turn AIESEC into the most powerfully networked organization in Atlanta, and/or use your creative and interpersonal abilities to motivate individuals to utilize our platform to change their lives, you should apply for the EB. If you look back at your GT career thus far, even if it has only lasted two months, and think about your place in this school and in your major and in Atlanta and the greater world and can’t help but say “there’s something missing,” you should apply for EB. If you are hesitating because you think it would be a cool idea but aren’t sure that you could do it with classes and other obligations you have, you should apply for EB. And don’t even begin to think that just because you are new applying would be a futile effort – on the contrary, I specifically am looking for a mostly-fresh EB, because if I’ve learned anything in my time in the network, it’s that the results and enthusiasm are highest for those who have to work the hardest due to a potential difference (kind of engineering terms there, but it means that YOU have high potential and the job has high expectations, so putting you in that position generates high results!)