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 Magda, our Quality Manager, and Lindley from the Education Department.
Name: Magdalena Matczak
Role: Quality Manager
Joined: July 2016
My EAN journey started back in July 2016, so I am now one of the long-standing staff members. Having now spent almost six years at the EAN, it is quite surprising even to me to say it out loud, as my teenage plans did not foresee living in Vienna and working at a non-profit organisation.
I originally come from Masuria, a north-eastern part of Poland rich in lakes and mosquitos. After graduating in law at the university of Gdansk, I planned to continue with law and pursue a career as counsel. Upon spending a vacation in Greece, my motivation shifted, and I spontaneously decided to take a break and learn German – and what better way than to move to a German-speaking country and immerse oneself in the culture and everyday speech. Initially, I planned to spend only a few months in Vienna and then move back to Poland, but my plans went out the window and I got tangled in Viennese life completely.
When I started at the EAN, I had a few different roles – on one hand, I was taking care of the front desk and a few other administrative tasks. On the other hand, I was working with the Quality Assurance sub-Committee, predecessor of the current Ethics and Quality Task Force, on the quality assurance of the EAN congress and other educational events. After passing on the front desk to my colleagues, I became a part-time member of the Education Department, having a chance to work with the Joint Educational Board. I also collaborated with the Task Force on Gender and Diversity issues in Neurology. Upon handing over both of those roles, I am now the Quality Manager at the EAN, focusing both on the quality assurance of our events and quality management on the administrative level.
After work hours, I try to take a break from screens and relax while painting or reading. To stay on track of learning new things, I am currently taking a Spanish course, which is fun and reinvigorating. Nevertheless, for me, the best way to decompress is sports, specifically weight training at the moment. Apart from that, I am a life-long volleyball fan – I used to play in a school volleyball team but gave up the idea of trying to go on with this path and stuck to watching matches and being the primary volleyball commentator of my family 😉. Also, over the last year I became a podcast enthusiast, especially on psychology – I try to listen in whenever I am commuting or pottering about in my flat.
Becoming a part of the EAN gave me the opportunity to meet many interesting people from diverse countries, which would possibly not have happened, if I had stayed in Poland. I can only confirm what my colleagues have already said concerning the teamwork and friendly atmosphere – this is what keeps us together and motivates us to give our best every day. Interacting with people and sharing with them the experience of a successful congress is very satisfying and makes the outcomes of our work tangible. Having said that, I am glad that the upcoming EAN congress is organised in a hybrid format, which will give us a chance to meet in person and exchange with the neurologists we know and have been collaborating with. I hope to meet you all very soon at the EAN congress 2022 in Vienna!
Name: Lindley Mayrhofer
Department: Education / eLearning
Role: eLearning Manager
Joined: August 2021
I’ve been working in eLearning for a few years now and am so grateful to have the opportunity to help build the eanCampus from the ground up! I started at EAN in August of 2021, right between the conception and beginning of actual development of the project. During this time, I have helped develop new content, assisted with the curation of existing content, and managed the actual development of the platform itself.
Outside of the office, I can often be found spending my time on one of many hobbies. Currently, my husband and I play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons, as well as other table-top RPGs. Otherwise, I am an avid reader and writer, and could easily spend every evening visiting the theatre. In fact, I participated in school and community theatre pretty extensively from middle school until I graduated from university in 2013.
Most people are relatively curious about how someone from the suburbs of Kansas City, Kansas ended up in Austria – and its honestly all based a bit on coincidence. In addition to doing theatre through school, I also studied German from my freshman year of high school throughout university. In 2011, I had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester, and of course was interested in using this experience to further my knowledge of the German language. Unfortunately, I attended a very small university, so the options for studying abroad in a German-speaking location were rather limited. There was one location in Germany, where I could spend an entire year, or Vienna, where I could spend one semester – and of course I didn’t want to miss more than one semester with my friends in Kansas!
As it turns out, my desire to spend less time away from home quickly turned into a desire to move to Vienna permanently. I returned to the US and almost immediately felt drawn back to Austria. So, I finished my studies, and applied to master’s degree programmes at various universities in Vienna. Thankfully, I was successful, and returned to my favourite city in the world in 2014!
And so here I am! Eight years later, I am loving my life in this amazing city, with wonderful friends, an amazing husband, and an absolutely fantastic job at EAN. I am so thrilled to be a part of this team and am beyond excited to finally be able to show you what we have been working so hard on for the past year! Be sure to keep an eye out for the launch of the eanCampus – as well as new eLearning content on a frequent basis!