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Category: Community of One

For the community that acts as “one”. Ambassadors and Consuls support one another and work together to reach common community goals.


2017 Winners: Vanessa Kuhlmann and Sandeep Sardesai in Dortmund, Farzaneh Shams, Hans Bruzja, and Priyanka Vieira in Essen, Antje Schulke and Ricardo Pérez de Tudela in Bochum

2017 Honorable Mention: Reina Wanling, Chulanga Perera, Nils Valentin, and Lilo Yu in Tokyo


Why They Won

When determining our top nominees for 2017’s Community of One Award, the Global Awards Jury sourced communities where both Consuls and Ambassadors worked together for the common goal of enriching and developing the community. While Ambassadors host the monthly events for the entire community, Consuls host more specific activities for our Albatross Members. Ambassadors and Consuls are not required to work together as their interests are slightly different, and that is what makes this particular category so exceptional!

For our nominees, we chose Consuls and Ambassador who coordinate dates in the calendar, establish contact through informal gatherings, and who make a conscious effort to support one another by attending community-wide activities and events. We also nominated those who host special joint-community events and activities and make an effort to stay connected across their region.

This year’s collective winner was the Dortmund, Bochum, and Essen communities (also known as the Ruhrgebiet communities), located in close proximity to one another in Germany.

One of our Jury Members describes their win by stating that “the Community of One Award is presented to a team that acts as “one”, where Ambassadors and Consuls support one another and coordinate their event and activity dates. The Dortmund. Essen, and Bochum Communities were nominated because they even go beyond that and have a unique way of collaborating! It’s simply amazing how they have built relationships with each other, how perfectly the communication works, and how well they work together with each other and the communities’ Consuls,  and how they visit one another’s events so regularly. Not only do the three Ruhrgebiet communities organize great events each month, but they also invest lots of energy into joint events for special occasions (like a Christmas concert or the InterNations 10th Anniversary Event). Their team work is really impressive! On top of that, they're maintaining a clear agenda of events each month (Essen first, Bochum second, Dortmund third). If there are any swaps needed, they all speak to each other first, and their contact at HQ doesn’t even have to worry that there could be overlaps. Last but not least, some of these Ambassadors are Consuls at the same time and try to integrate Consuls as much as possible. Vanessa, for instance, knows all their names and keeps informing me about who's leaving and who's active.”

Another member of the Jury added further insights:

“Antje (Bochum Consul) and Vanessa (Dortmund Consul) were nominated for their efforts to invigorate the Bochum and Dortmund communities. InterNations HQ wanted to recognize their role as both Ambassadors and Consuls, in leading their own Groups, alongside organizing events, and fostering a sense of community. The result of taking on extra responsibilities has been a flourishing of the Groups, in conjunction with the official events. Both Antje and Vanessa help HQ to understand the needs of their communities, and how we can work together to ensure that InterNations is the first port of call for newcomers to the Ruhrgebiet.”

Ambassadors, how do you integrate the Consuls into your events?

In the Ruhrgebiet Communities, Consuls are integrated in the events in a very natural way. Without having to ask, they help to find interesting venues and support in setting them up. During the events, Consuls will help by signing members in, distributing name tags and answering questions attendees may have. Especially with bigger crowds, the Consuls stay alert to ensure no one stands alone. They will either tell the Ambassadors or simply strike up a conversation with a member and introduce them to others. Former Ambassadors have the same spirit and continue to enjoy being part of organizing events and supporting the team.

What we find unique about Essen, Dortmund, and Bochum is that Consuls and Ambassadors are always willing to help each other, even if they aren't hosting the event. There is definitely a sense of one single big Ruhrgebiet community rather than three separate ones.


How do you communicate to members the differences between activities and official events?

In our official events we briefly explain to new members that our regular events take place on a monthly basis and usually attract a larger attendance, giving them the opportunity to meet different people and receive information and tips on different aspects of life and work in the city. We also indicate that it is a good first introduction to what InterNations is all about. In addition, we let them know that there are activities run by different sub-groups, focusing on aspects such as urban hikes, dancing, sampling different cuisines, sports, city tour, art, etc. Via these groups they can follow their interests and spend time in smaller circles with people who have common interests. In case members want to know more about these activities, we introduce them to Consuls if they are at our events or simply refer them to the groups on the InterNations homepage.


Do you have any advice for other Ambassadors and Consuls hoping to improve overall communication and collaboration within their community?

The biggest advice the Ruhrgebiet communities can give is communication — honest, respectful, and lots of it. People should know what the goal of the community is: creating memorable face-to-face experience at our official monthly events and offering exciting activities in smaller groups throughout the weeks in between. Also, brainstorming together with Co-Ambassadors and Consuls on what it takes to get there. It's all about teamwork and collaboration without having to double-check on every step of the way.

Independence and expressing one's own values while hosting events and activities you absolutely enjoy sharing with other members is also important.

Additionally, enforcing online interaction by asking for advice for improving overall collaboration within the community should include communication with members, whether it is actively asking group members which activities they would like to see in the future, which is their favorite venue for future events, requesting honest feedback for past venues and activities, offering help to new members or encouraging to co-host activities to learn more about the spirit of teamwork.

In the past few years we have managed to host our “Ruhrgebiet Events” once a year with Bochum, Dortmund, and Essen uniting and coming together as a unit. Without communication and collaboration we would not succeed!


Congratulations to the Bochum, Dortmund, and Essen InterNations Communities, as well as 2017’s honorable mention, Reina Wanling, Chulanga Perera, Nils Valentin, and Lilo Yu in Tokyo, for exuding an unprecedented collaborative and supportive spirit with the fellow Ambassadors and Consuls in your communities!


About the Ruhrgebiet community winners:

Dortmund: Vanessa Kuhlmann, from the UK and Germany, and Sandeep Sardesai, from India, host the monthly official event in Dortmund. They have been a team since 2015, and, so far, they have organized over 25 events together. They are very dedicated to their community. Vanessa is also a Consul of the Cinema Group, the Daytime Activities Group and the Coaching and Networking Group in Dortmund.

Bochum: Antje Schulkem from Germany, and Ricardo Pérez de Tudela, from Spain, host the monthly official event in Bochum. They have been a team since July 2017 and have organized 10 events together in total. Both are committed to seeing the Bochum Community grow. Antje is also a Consul for the Bochum Bermuda Nights Group and the Bochum Movies & Games Group.

Essen: Farzaneh Shams from Iran,  Hans Bruzja from Albania, and Priyanka Vieira from India host the monthly official event in Essen. Priyanka joined the team in November 2017, while Farzaneh and Hans have been working together since November 2016. They are focused on building up the InterNations Essen Community.

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