I was the Treasurer and Webmaster of LEO Leiden in 2015, 2016 and 2017. What I enjoyed about being on the LEO board the most was that LEO gives you the opportunity to interact with PhDs from around the university. Historically there has been an abundance of international PhDs that make up the board and attend the events, which made them extra interesting and enriching for me. The biggest challenge as a board member was organizing the annual LEO dance parties. With about 150 people attending, those are pretty big events, so it carries a lot of responsibility. Seeing these events being well-visited and well-appreciated made them extra rewarding at the same time. I should recommend board members to put emphasis on communication. LEO is a low-investment kind of organization, with small events every month or so. So in principle it requires a minimal amount of work; but this work is crucial nonetheless; so there is extra emphasis on proper and structured communication to make sure that everyone stands their post at the right time; more so because these times are sparse. Being a board member of LEO was a great way to acquire non-academic skills and a non-academic component to my CV – which normally is quite difficult during busy PhD life. Also, as the people at LEO are from all walks of life, it is a good opportunity to extend your academic network a bit beyond your standard academic friends/colleagues.
Candido da Silva
As the secretary of LEO Leiden in 2016 and 2017 I particularly enjoyed the coherence of the board aimed to provide the best experiences for its members. I personally always enjoy doing more than the bare minimum in life and this is also the reason why I joined LEO in the first place. Looking back at my time in LEO’s board, and specifically at my last year in the board, I regret not always being able to devote my full attention to LEO when needed because of lack of time due to be working hard in my last year of my PhD. A lesson, a mental note, that has become part of me, that now says ‘do not take too much work at once’. Thankfully the board (specially the chair) was always understanding and supportive. This also underlines the type of character of the people that become LEO board members: compassionate, intelligent, motivated and non-quitters! With other words, excellent scientists with an extra nudge they would like to acquire, like management, social and organization and social skills and generally network orientated follows. In one sentence: the future leaders!