As Civic Tech gets bigger, better and bolder, more and more people become convinced of its power.
That counts for government officials and citizens, but also for professionals – and it shows. Today, we’re lucky to introduce you to five new team members!
These people will reinforce us in our daily mission to stimulate citizen participation and make the world a brighter, more democratic place. So let’s dive deeper into their stories. Who are they, what drives them, and what about Civic Tech makes their heart skip a beat? Introducing: Iris, Hugo, Tim, Evy, and Jenna.
Iris Bos, Operations Coordinator
What did you do before you arrived at CitizenLab? “I grew up in Fryslân. At 18, I decided to study Business and American History and Politics, which led me overseas to the U.S. But my European roots pulled me back home, and I’ve been involved in various initiatives to make my community stronger and more inclusive.
The cultural sector has a place in my heart, too. I worked as the financial manager of Welcome to The Village (a festival) and Podium Asteriks (a music venue), and as the editor of IepenUP Live, the live-streamed talk show of Leeuwarden (the European Capital of Culture in 2018). But the pull of politics was too strong. I wanted to contribute to a more social and green Europe, and support a party that is committed to tackling climate change, protecting democracy, and fighting for social justice. So I ended up working on the campaign of the European Green Party in Brussels. After the campaign was finished, CitizenLab was a natural next step.”
What appeals to you in Civic Tech? “We live in a world that is rapidly changing. Important matters are increasingly shifting to the digital realm. Cities are growing and evolving more and faster than before. I believe it’s extremely important to find ways to make democracy inclusive for everyone. And not just during election time. That’s what Civic Tech is focusing on: it allows citizens to voice their ideas and opinions. Cities and towns are shaped by their people. We should do everything in our power to empower them to contribute.”
What is a Citizen Initiative you have launched … or would like to launch one day? I’m the co-founder of Stem op
Hugo De Brouwer, Customer Success Manager
What did you do before you arrived at CitizenLab? “Before joining CitizenLab, I studied Business Engineering in Louvain-la-Neuve for 5 years. I spent one term in India and did a one-term internship at Unilever. After graduating, I joined the Explort programme of AWEX. This is Wallonia’s regional agency, responsible for fostering the region’s import and export.
During this program, I spent six months in a consulting firm that was specialized in supply chain management. This brought me back to India, where I organized the first edition of a conference that gathered the world’s most important players in the pharmaceutical sector. Then, I joined AXA Belgium as a project manager and business analyst.”
What appeals to you in Civic Tech? “I’ve always been interested in politics. I’m convinced that, if our democracy doesn’t embrace the digital era, it’s doomed to fail. By joining CitizenLab, I hope to do my part in changing the democratic system by bringing it closer to its citizens.”
What is a Citizen Initiative you have launched … or would like to launch one day? “Sometimes I take part in cycling protests. The initiative I’d launch would have to raise awareness about mobility and air quality, and advocate for fair sharing of the public space.”
Tim Jones, Business Developer UK
What did you do before you arrived at CitizenLab? “After spending nine years in the armed forces and serving in Northern Ireland, the Gulf and Bosnia, I wanted something different. So I pursued a sales career. In the last fifteen years, I’ve been working for large-scale organizations, such as Reed Elsevier and Reach Plc. I’ve built a lot of experience in launching new concepts to the market, and I’ve enjoyed working for successful start-ups in advertising and marketing tech.”
What appeals to you in Civic Tech? “Civic Tech appeals to my interest in politics. I want to do something that, I hope, will change the way governments deal with their people in the future.”
What is a Citizen Initiative you have launched … or would like to launch one day? “I’d like to make it easier for people to take action in serious local and national issues – the kind of issues that should not exist in a developed society. Homelessness, food poverty and racism are only a few of the main issues in the UK today.”
Evy Beekers, Content Manager
What did you do before you arrived at CitizenLab?
“I studied Communication and Media at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and topped off that Bachelor with a Master’s in International Relations at Leiden University. Besides that, I took up the role of Vice President and Secretary in the student-board of United Netherlands to manage their external communications. This organization provides training in diplomacy (and related skills) to young adults.
The mission of
What appeals to you in Civic Tech? “If you want to get people on board for change, building a sense of ownership is essential. To create legitimate social change, it’s key to create more accessible opportunities for citizens to contribute to the institutions that shape their daily lives. Civic Tech connects the ideas of citizens and their governments on a more frequent and effortless basis.”
What is a Citizen Initiative you have launched … or would like to launch one day? “I don’t have a fully thought-out initiative yet (otherwise I would’ve already launched it!), but it would definitely concern sustainability. It’s great to see how more and more people are becoming conscious in their day-to-day decisions, but we still need initiatives to accelerate this process even further.”
Jenna Schroedel, Marketing Intern
What did you do before you arrived at CitizenLab? “I am a recent graduate of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio (USA). I majored in International Relations and Diplomacy. At university, I worked as a Student Administrative Assistant in the office of the Vice President and Provost.
In the summer of 2018, I was selected to participate in the Washington Academic Internship Program. Through this program, I lived, interned, and studied in Washington, D.C. I interned as a Communication Intern at the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) largest flagship program called the Maternal Child Survival Program. This past summer (2019) I spent a month in Barcelona, Spain studying Spanish to finish up my degree.”
What appeals to you in Civic Tech? “My dad spent a great deal of my life working for the city, so I pretty much grew up around local government. I feel that, in order to have effective democracy, the voice of the people must be heard. Civic Tech is appealing due to the fact that it makes it easier for more citizens to have a voice, and also makes it easier for governments to hear them. Growing up in the age of technology, it only makes sense to me to digitalize governance and civic engagement.”
What is a Citizen Initiative you have launched … or would like to launch one day? “If I were to launch a citizen initiative, it would involve diversifying the face of politics. I feel that the current demographic of politics is rather homogeneous, and I believe that if we involve more women, young people, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. it could solve problems due to the various perspectives and approaches that would be brought to the table.”
Enjoyed meeting our new forces?