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 Ulla from the Communication Department, and Piyapat from the Congress Department.
Name: Ulla Offenbeck
Role: Brain Health Mission Project Coordinator
Joined: March 2023
My name is Ulla and I started working for the EAN in March 2023. Initially I had applied for a job in the congress department but got hired as the project coordinator for an initiative called the Brain Health Mission and that’s what I am now – on a mission for better brain health.
I grew up in the southern province of Austria, Carinthia, but left to explore the world right after school. I studied in Graz, Barcelona and Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and learned to speak English, Spanish, Italian and French besides my mother tongue, German. I am a very auditive person, I love languages, but my absolute passion lies in music, in classical music. For almost ten years I followed this passion and taught classical music to children. Now that I no longer teach it, I get to solely enjoy classical music for myself and you can find me regularly at the State Opera or the Musikverein and Konzerthaus.
When I am not working, I love to play the piano, walk the dog while listening to podcasts or music, and work in the garden where I tend to my chicken and bees. Two of my three children have already left the nest and when they come back, I enjoy spending time with them. I guess I did a pretty good job at making them the same open spirited and worldly people as I am, as all of them speak at least three languages and have a great interest in the world and its people.
I am an absolute book lover and read as much as I can, preferably in English or Spanish. Starting a new book always feels like starting a new friendship, which then grows while immersing more and more into the story, and sometimes it is really hard to let go of a new friend when the book comes to an end.
I commute every week between Graz and Vienna and enjoy the best of both worlds. Small town and nature in Graz, and culture, art and big city feeling in Vienna. I always wanted to work in an international environment, and I guess now with EAN I have found my home.
Name: Piyapat Braunreiter
Role: Congress Department Assistant
Joined: January 2023
I am a part of the registration team in the Congress Department. I handle tasks related to congress registration which include, for example, setting up the online registration system, updating and revising information on the registration web page, dealing with inquiries and requests, and assisting onsite participants at the congress helpdesk. In addition to that, I assist my colleagues with congress programme matters.
Prior to moving to Austria, I was working as a teacher in Thailand. Fresh out of university, I taught English to hotel employees. There, I had opportunities to organise the company’s in-house workshops as well. A few years after that, I taught at a university. My highlight from my time at the university was getting to teach syntax, which is a branch of linguistics I’m passionate about.
I am originally from a touristic island in the south of Thailand. Seeing a lot of foreigners in my hometown, I realised at a young age that being able to speak English well is crucial for getting a good job in Thailand. Since then, I have always been interested in learning the language. At 16, I joined an exchange programme to the United States where I spent ten months living with an American family and attending an American high school. Being on my own, this is the time where I grew as a person. Not only did I get to develop my English skills, but I also became very independent. Before teaching at the university, I completed my MA in Linguistics in England. During this time, I discovered my nerdy love for syntax. Analysing different languages I do not know was and still is so much fun. Although I’m not teaching English anymore, I’m glad I can still apply what I’ve learned throughout the years to my tasks here at the EAN.
When I have some free time, I journal. I like to document special moments whether they are happy or sad. When I cannot think properly, journaling helps me process my thoughts. Also, I like all things stationery: fountain pens, inks, mechanical pencils, notebooks, washi tapes, and stickers. So, when I journal, I get to play with all of those. Apart from that, I enjoy film photography. Sometimes it takes me so long to get my rolls developed that I forget what’s on them and getting to see the actual photos after a long while is like reliving those moments.