Blog Nordic Business Forum 2017

BONUS Volunteer Operations Spotlight: Sabrina Singh

We have something special for you this weekend. To round off #WeMakeNBF Appreciation Week, there is one person who has been working tirelessly behind the scenes as part of our Volunteer Operations team for Nordic Business Forum 2017, and we think she deserves a special mention. Meet Sabrina Singh, our all-round superstar!

Sabrina joined our staff this year after three years as an NBForum volunteer to help organize and manage the Volunteer Operations. Her passion and motivation for the role was obvious from day one, and she’s been an absolute pleasure to work with every day since! Joining our Head of Customer Experience, Salla Seppä, Sabrina supported each of the 16 Volunteer Team Leaders, the 2017 Leadership Program, and many other facets of the event production. We sat down with Sabrina to speak to her about her experiences with us!

Nordic Business Forum: Hi Sabrina! You’ve got a unique perspective on the Volunteer Operations, having previously been a volunteer and now as a staff member! And you have been a student all the while too. How has NBForum influenced your learning career?

Sabrina Singh: That’s hard to say… NBF means so much to me. From my first year as a volunteer to now, I have gained so much confidence! It’s been three years, and I have definitely learned a lot about myself in the process. My whole NBF experience boosted my confidence in my ability to handle more responsibility and has made me believe that I can do what I want to do. I don’t spend time wondering or worrying about things anymore because I know that it is possible to overcome obstacles, work with fast deadlines, and work with others to achieve goals in an inspiring away. If I’m being honest, I feel like I’m in an NBF bubble! I can’t even imagine working anywhere else or with anyone else. Just knowing what I get to do for NBF, it’s the best possible feeling ever.

NBF: That enthusiasm is exactly what got you to where you are, I’m sure! What has been the highlight of your experience working with us on staff (as opposed to as a volunteer)?

SS: One thing I remember clearly was the moment that this all clicked in my mind — when I knew that this is what I wanted to do. When the recruitment process started for the volunteers, I started getting really involved in the “busy” part of my job. Obviously, that’s when everything started to pick up the pace, and it got crazy quite quickly. But it was then that I first really realized how hectic the event industry can be because it was the first time that I was on the inside of it rather than just part of it. I was in a position with responsibility, where people relied on me, and I was running around everywhere… and I had never been more excited! So, at that moment of realization, I thought for the first time that the event industry is possibly for me and that I can actually work pretty well under pressure. I think that I had grown a lot during my previous volunteering experiences, but my experience and learning with NBF this fall has been massive!

NBF: I can believe that! It seemed like you always had your hands full with something. Tell me, in the lead-up to Nordic Business Forum 2017, what did a typical day look like for you?

SS: The easy answer is: there wasn’t one! I guess you could say that a typical day involved lots of running around. Before the event, we were basically working a lot with Salla, preparing for the recruitment process, working with the Team Leaders, preparing their training sessions… Lots of planning and lots of work, but every day was different. I got to be a part of the Leadership Program group even though I wasn’t a Team Leader, which was really nice. We didn’t have a typical day, but it was hectic and we did not spend a lot of time at the office. We were at Haaga-Helia most of the time, using their classrooms… it was so easy for us to just be there handle things from there. When we weren’t running around those buildings, we had a lot of meetings with customers and partners nearby.

NBF: Wow! I’ll bet you’re an expert on comfortable shoes…! Did you have a defined role during the NBForum 2017 event or were you doing lots of different things?

SS: Different things! I was working with Salla and Anni (who was a Team Leader the year before), and we were the three people that you would go to if there was a crisis situation or a problem or even if a customer just needed something. For example, I helped to bring a customer her shoes when her colleague left them at the cloakroom. It was actually quite chaotic. I had to find the customer but there was so much going on that even that was not an easy job. I had her phone number, so I tried to call her. She didn’t answer so I sent her a text message to tell her that I had her shoes. We tried to coordinate where I could find her to pass on her shoes, and when I eventually did find her, I gave her some chocolate as well to round off the customer service part of it. She was really happy, and I felt good not only because I helped her but also because I added to her seminar experience — but that’s just one of the things that I had to do. I’m pretty sure I walked all around the Messukeskus, everywhere possible. It was definitely fun, and so different from my previous experiences with NBF because I had more responsibility and I got to experience different things. It was inspiring, exhausting, and really exciting!

NBF: Wow! I’m sure you got some serious mileage out of those few days! In fact, I heard that you have a story that also involves shoes… could you tell us about it?

SS: Well, yes! My favorite story was one from last year: I don’t really know how it happened but a customer broke the sole of her shoe and brought it to the customer service desk to see if we could do anything about it. Right away, I saw a message in our WhatsApp group to ask if anyone has spare pair of women’s shoes, size 39. As it happened, I did have an extra pair that size, so I responded to the message. I brought them over to the Team Leader to give to the customer in the seminar hall to wear while we collected her broken shoes. This was a great example, I think, of extraordinary customer service because we took her broken shoes to the shoemaker, returned them to her when they were fixed, and she got to enjoy her experience at NBF with more than just your average customer service. And it was a team effort with volunteers, Team Leaders, and NBF staff and we coordinated everything behind the scenes.


Visit our blog for more interviews with some stand-out students from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, our partner for our main event in Helsinki and our volunteer recruitment. Have a question about the NBF Leadership Program? Get in touch with Sabrina to ask her questions about her experience. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest news and announcements from our HQ!

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