‘Who has been here before?’ asks Marnix. Only the Boost-volunteers at every table raise their hands. Time to get to know this great initiative! Ramon Schleijpen, co-founder and director of Boost, tells us about the organisation and shows a series of heartwarming pictures. ‘Many residents of East Amsterdam want to contribute to the integration of new arrivals. That is how Boost came into existence: work together and discover what is needed!’
One of the necessities is learning Dutch. Today, about 200 new arrivals and 100 volunteers visit Boost to follow and teach Dutch courses at every level. But there are also other activities and courses such as a women’s café, a course in entrepreneurship and conferences about diversity.
But that sounds a whole lot more organized than Boost in fact is. The ‘paid’ team of 7 people (‘paid’, because it is not even close to the average wage) didn’t study to run such a large organisation. The big question is therefore: how can we ensure that the team members, without a budget but whilst maintaining the warm atmosphere of Boost, can become better managers and leaders?
The groups are organised by category; there is a PR-table, a table with organisational advisors, a student table and a table with creatives. Each group first has a load of questions for Ramon, about their decisionmaking processes, finances, structure… A few people take a moment to stress how inspirational Boost’ structure is: a lot of entrepreneurs could learn from them rather than the other way round!
Then it is time for the teams to get to work: there is a bit of rumour, debate, and sometimes just the scratching of pens on paper. The first wine bottles, first left untouched, are opened for a little extra inspiration.
After half an hour, each team is ready for their pitch. Team red suggests a company movie. Team brown leans towards a personal development plan and a buddy, supported by a network of coaches, trainers and rotary clubs. The green table suggests to link the dreams of the team members to the organisation and introduce a new way of giving feedback. Team yellow introduces a ‘do good footprint’, and ‘boost cabin’ for full concentration, that you are not allowed to leave before accomplishing your goal.
The buddy system from team red is also part of team blue’s pitch: matching every team member with someone from the community. Also part of the suggestions are taking more time for self-care, visualizing goals and a focusmarathon.
Ramon is very happy with the creative and concrete solutions. Team brown is the winner of today: a lunch at Boost and a Boost-totebag! The personal aspect of their pitch was what convinced Ramon: ‘Investing in the people that make Boost happen and supporting them one-on-one: a real boost for the team!’
Mission accomplished, time for a drink and some Boost-bites. And the living room in Oost stays full for the next hour too…
Ramon is heel blij met de creativiteit en de concrete ideeën. Team bruin gaat ervandoor met de buit: meelunchen bij Boost én een heuse Boost-tas. Het persoonlijke aan hun idee raakte Ramon: 'Investeren in de mensen die het doen en één op één steun bieden: een opsteker voor het team!'
Missie volbracht, tijd voor een drankje en nog wat flatbread met heerlijke Boost-dipjes. En het blijft nog zeker een uur gezellig onrustig in Oost...
Eyas Hafez (photo)
Christopher Bergonje (film)
Jessica Numann (text)
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