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 relatively 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 from the Education Department, and Mira from the Membership Department.
Name: Magda Dohnalová
Role: Spring & Autumn School and Clinical Fellowship Coordinator
Joined: January 1999
I started at the EFNS (European Federation of Neurological Societies, which later became one of the founding organisations of the EAN) as an assistant to the EFNS Secretary General. From the beginning I was involved in the organisation of educational events and programmes. The first and still ongoing very popular programme was the organisation of educational courses for neurological residents: the EAN Spring School (formerly EFNS workshops for young neurologists). I arranged everything from accommodation, catering, transport, correspondence with participants and lecturers, to the organisation of the cultural programme and much more. The courses were held in the Czech Republic up until 2019, when they moved to Austria. Later, I also contributed to the organisation of the EAN Autumn School.
Another main task of my work was the administrative support of the Clinical Fellowship programme. These grants support residents during educational stays in foreign neurology departments.
It was great to watch the career development of so many young doctors. To meet many interesting personalities, getting to know many countries and cultures. And I must not forget the opportunity to meet many interesting people from all over the world at the congress booth during the annual congresses.
I come from Prague and I work and live in the Czech Republic. My original plans and ideas about life were completely different. I wanted to work with animals and that is why I studied the exotic animal breeding and then breeding at the agricultural university. But as it happens, everything is different from what you were planning. A coincidence led me to this job, but I must say it has been a great experience. Also, thanks to the great support of my husband and sons, I managed everything and enjoyed it a lot.
My free time is devoted to family, sports, horse riding (in the distant past) and especially to figure skating. Of course, animals are still an integral part of our lives. We currently have three cats, parrots and two fish tanks.
Being part of this great and friendly team for 24 years (minus two weeks) was an amazing experience. And I would like to thank to all members of this team for that.
Name: Mira Niemi
Role: Project Coordinator
Joined: May 2019
My name is Mira Niemi and I come from Finland. I came to Austria at the end of 2017 and fell in love with the country immediately. I studied social work and have worked in customer service within several fields, which I still really enjoy today, and that is why working closely with our customers in the EAN Membership Department feels the most rewarding and interesting to me.
I joined the EAN in May 2019 by starting to help here and there; since 2020 I have been part of the membership department and I currently work as a project coordinator. It has been a great journey being a part of the organisation during these past years as we have grown so much and I have really learned a lot, even though there have been challenges on the way.
I feel very privileged to be working with people from around the world and it is amazing to see how we all get along so well even though we come from different countries and have different cultures. I also love the fact that each year is different as the congresses are around Europe, which keeps things fresh and the motivation high. Meeting our members at the congresses is truly the best part of the event!
In my personal life, I love to spend time with family and friends; you can also find me outside hiking, running, walking, and just being surrounded by nature. I am trying to fit as many sports into my daily life as possible by lifting weights, doing yoga, pilates, and meditation. This also balances the office work out as we do sit a lot in front of our computers and in meetings.
Looking forward to meeting you in Budapest!