The EAN Head Office in Vienna, Austria, is the nerve centre of the European Academy of Neurology, serving as the main base of EAN activity, with various personnel also operating from elsewhere around Europe. With so many of our staff interacting with EAN Members from a distance, but so few chances to meet in person, we decided to use this platform to introduce the team behind the scenes. Each month, we aim to present two of our faithful crew. This time it’s Elisabeth, Head of the Industry Department, and Magdalena from the Congress Department.
Name: Elisabeth Starkl
Department: Industry Department
Role: Head of Industry Department & Industry Liaison Manager
Joined: July 2016
I have been with EAN for more than five years now and have been responsible for our industry partners since the very beginning. When I took over this position, I didn’t exactly know what to expect, because until I started at EAN, the industry relations management was in external hands. Consequently, the position of ‘Industry Liaison Manager’ at EAN did not yet exist. It was my chance to design this area from the beginning and to contribute my ideas and experiences – I was able to put my ‘stamp’ on it. What I can tell you now is, that I am not finished yet and it is still great fun to shape this department.
The last two pandemic years and the design of a virtual congress, the current merging of an onsite and a virtual congress into a hybrid congress, and the fact that we have great industry partners make my work exciting and varied every day.
I have been working in the event and congress industry all my career. I started at a catering company in Vienna and was project manager at Reed Messe Wien for 3rd party events; at that time I also completed my studies in marketing and sales in parallel. Later I took over the management of the sponsorship and marketing department of the Life Ball (a charity event in Vienna supporting people with HIV or AIDS) for two years and was then marketing manager at the Vienna Red Cross. I have been part of great teams many times, but to be honest, I have rarely been part of a team that is so dedicated and enthusiastic – I love my job and I am grateful that I made a lot of friends here and got to meet extraordinary people.
Outside of work, I am a family person. I am married to a Persian raised in Austria – my soulmate and partner in crime – with whom I have four wonderful sons (aged 10, 9, 6, and 1). Our private lives are turbulent, loud and testosterone controlled 😊. I like to bake, and I do this often, as my husband runs a coffee house and I like to spoil his guests with sweet delicacies.
I grew up in Austria in the Mostviertel with four siblings in an extended family – our family celebrations easily reach 80 people. My parents are gardeners – which is probably the reason for my green thumb and my love for nature and the garden. If I have time, I love to read – currently I am mostly reading books to my children – and I love travelling. I still have a lot of places on my bucket list that I want to see.
Name: Magdalena Dietl
Department: Congress Department
Role: Congress Registration Assistant
Joined: April 2021
As support is always needed close to the annual congress, I joined the EAN´s Congress Department in April 2021 to assist with administrative work related to registration.
So only two months in I experienced my first virtual congress – basically my first congress of any kind – which was exciting. I enjoyed it a lot, working closely together with my team at the venue, seeing what each department contributes to make such an event happen and getting some sort of understanding of how a medical congress is held. Seeing a full-on TV studio in action for the first time was also quite a highlight 😊.
Because I just handed in my master’s thesis when I started working at EAN, I originally planned to stay only temporarily until I finished my studies. But as lives sometimes go, I changed planes and decided to stay for a longer period. Since I started at EAN I have been learning a lot about the backend processes that are required to guarantee a smooth registration process for congress attendees. I have not only learnt important skills in managing day-to-day operations, but I have also learnt a lot just from witnessing my competent and hard-working colleagues.
As many Germans do, I moved to Austria to study Psychology. First to Klagenfurt, where the faculty´s orientation towards clinical psychology and psychotherapy shaped my interests strongly. For my masters I moved to Vienna where I worked for a psychotherapist, assisting her in writing expert opinions mainly on whether people who committed drug related crimes get granted therapy instead of being sentenced to prison. Because I am very passionate and convinced of the importance of psychological and therapeutical work for a society´s wellbeing, my occupational long-term goal is to become a psychotherapist too.
In my spare time I love to be outdoors, running with my boyfriend through the Wienerwald or hiking up the mountains close to Vienna. Before the pandemic hit, I was also part of the University of Vienna’s philharmonic choir, which I hope to get back into at some point. But for now, there is a very different adventure awaiting me soon: motherhood 😊.