Above and beyond: TOA’s Volunteers can’t wait to make your visit to Berlin a memorable one
- TOA’s Head of Volunteers Mayuri Reddy is building a team of passionate, dedicated people who are eager to make you welcome
- “I couldn’t miss an opportunity to be part of TOA… I like to know I am part of making it great — and I get to meet interesting people!”
- TOA’s volunteers are from Japan, Ghana, Indonesia, Togo, Palestine, Philippines, California, Brazil, to name just a few countries
~ by Joe Sparrow
If you’re at TOA and need assistance, advice, a speaker recommendation or maybe just a chat with a friendly face in the crowd, you’ll probably find yourself chatting with one of TOA’s incredible volunteers.
And if you’re a stranger in this beautiful city, it won’t even matter what language you want to speak, because TOA’s volunteers are from all over the world: Georgia, Poland, Honduras, Yemen, Japan, Ghana, Indonesia, Togo, Palestine, Philippines, California, and Brazil — to name just a few.
They’re passionate about people, technology, innovation, discovery — and they’re here for you. We love our volunteers — and the person who has the mammoth task of finding and organising them all is our Head of Volunteers, Mayuri Reddy.
Her job is not just about finding a great bunch of people — for Mayuri, the enjoyment comes from dealing with tomorrow’s tech pioneers.
“Our volunteers are from all walks of life and they’re our future entrepreneurs, VCs, founders, and coding superstars. They’re coming to TOA because they love interdisciplinary technology and they want to connect with the people who make it happen. I want to make sure they enjoy all that TOA has to offer while they’re helping out!
Mayuri spoke to past speakers and volunteers and found out what could be done to make TOA better: “We’ve fine-tuned some important areas that we couldn’t quite get right in the past and yet we’re holding onto the free-spirited atmosphere that makes TOA unique.”
“Volunteers are trusted with some very exciting jobs at TOA, like the role of Speaker Manager, who makes every speaker’s experience seamless — so that they arrive on stage feeling relaxed and ready to impress.”
The radical spirit and defiant creativity of Berlin courses through TOA and everything we do — and our volunteers are as passionate about Berlin as we are.
Volunteers Wendy Funez, who lives in Germany, but is originally from Honduras, and Ahmed Jomaa, who’s originally from Tunisia but lives in Berlin, are both inspired by Berlin’s diversity. Ahmed says, “Berlin is great. It’s very international — here, I have access to every community. I’m here to witness diversity!” — and Wendy agrees: “Berlin is so multicultural — it creates trends that spread across the globe.”
This feeling of community is a golden thread that runs all the way through every part of TOA. Mayuri says that she’s working hard to make sure the volunteers can contribute and take full advantage of the huge, smart and connected TOA community:
“The biggest thing for me is to develop a community around our volunteers — to help them feel like a team and that they are really getting something special out of it. We’re not just bringing people on board to fill slots — we’re actually building a community that is interdisciplinary and helps each other to learn.
“So, for example, we’re trying to get the volunteers talking prior to the festival, and we want them to stay in touch afterwards too.”
This is something that excited Ivana Maksimović, from Serbia: “I couldn’t miss an opportunity to be part of TOA… I like to know I am part of making it great — and I get to meet many very interesting people, from volunteers, organisers, speakers and delegates.”
And when Anglea Bickmore, from California, identified what she’s looking forward to about TOA — and she mentioned almost everything we love about our festival: “I’m most excited about hearing people’s stories — both from speakers and from the other volunteers. Everyone has something unique that they’re bringing to the table and I’m ready to hear it all!”
I don’t think we could have said it better ourselves!
And Mayuri’s main impression of her volunteers? “I’m overwhelmed by their eagerness to help out — I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve had from people who really want to do more than I would ever ask them to do. The level of enthusiasm is incredible.”
Keep an eye out for Wendy, Ivana, Ahmed, Angela, and the hundreds of other volunteers at TOA this summer, and say “hi” — they’re keen to make your experience even more enjoyable!
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Originally published at blog.toa.berlin on June 20, 2017.