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Building bridges across Europe: An interview with EASPD Board Member Ákos Pordán

In the latest article in EASPD’s Elections series, we spoke with EASPD Board Member Ákos Pordán.

In the latest article in EASPD’s Elections series, we spoke with Ákos Pordán. Ákos is General Manager of the Hand-in-Hand Foundation in Hungary and has been a dedicated EASPD Board member for the past 20 years. In this interview, Ákos shares his experiences in EASPD, the accomplishments he’s most proud of, and advice for potential candidates interested in joining the EASPD Board.

To start, could you share what motivated you to pursue a Board Member position at EASPD?

Ákos: My journey with EASPD began with a desire to enhance international cooperation and build meaningful relationships within the sector. Being one of the first individuals from Central Europe to join EASPD, I saw a unique opportunity to network and build contacts in the region, helping to develop EASPD step by step. For me, joining the Board was a logical step, not just for my organisation, Hand-in-Hand Foundation, but also for EASPD, given the close synergy between our missions. Achieving EASPD’s objectives helps us achieve our own, creating a mutually beneficial relationship.

Can you share a specific accomplishment or initiative during your tenure that you are particularly proud of and that you believe has made a positive impact on EASPD and its mission?

Ákos: Choosing just one accomplishment is challenging because there have been many. However, due to my geographical position and EASPD’s history, I am particularly proud of building the capacity of the Association in Central and Eastern Europe. I developed and led the Standing Committee on EU Enlargement for ten years. The main aim was to build a unified Europe that wasn’t developing on two different timelines and to enhance the reputation of support services in Central and Eastern Europe. The committee fulfilled its role and no longer exists, but its impact is still felt.

Another significant achievement is my involvement with the Standing Committee on Independent Living, focusing on deinstitutionalisation, a crucial topic in our sector. Additionally, I am proud to have served as the President of the European Care Certificate, one of EASPD’s greatest initiatives that offers a Europe-wide qualification for health and social care staff that is recognised in 17 countries.

Reflecting on your term, are there any lessons or insights you gained that you would like to share with potential candidates to better prepare them for the responsibilities of being an EASPD Board member?

Ákos: One key lesson is the importance of having strong support from your organisation to commit the necessary time to EASPD and its Board.

In our sector, human relationships are incredibly important, and personal development is crucial. For the Board and EASPD’s governance bodies, maintaining good relationships and being as honest as possible is essential. The EASPD spirit, which involves working hard while enjoying the process and having fun, is very important. New Board members should aim to enrich this spirit.

What skills or expertise do you believe are desirable in potential candidates?

Ákos: Candidates need to be trustworthy, committed, proactive, and innovative. It’s not enough to be satisfied with EASPD’s history and reputation; we must always strive for better. Maintaining a good work-life balance is also crucial. Board members should remember that their families, as well as their organisations, provide support. I am very grateful to my family for their support throughout my journey.

The position of Board Member, along with 17 other governance roles, will be open for election on 19 October 2024. Eligible candidates have until August 31 to submit their applications for a Board position. For more information about the application process, please visit the EASPD website here.