July 24, 2017 Print

Twenty participants from 17 think tanks in 10 countries from around Europe gathered in Bratislava, Slovakia, July 20-23, 2017, to participate in Atlas Network’s annual Think Tank Essentials Workshop in Europe. This course is part of Atlas Network’s robust coaching and training programs under Atlas Leadership Academy.

“Two big things stood out about this training,” said Terrie McCann, head of business development at Legatum Institute (U.K.). “The presentations have been great, and in particular the one on branding and messaging. The presentations have given me some very practical and applicable tools to take back with me. And the networking has been fantastic. Learning about the perspectives of peer organizations from around Europe, many of whom have been under extreme forms of governments, highlights just how important the regional freedom movement is. And in light of U.K.’s Brexit, it is more important than ever that Legatum Institute maintain good, strong partners with likeminded organizations throughout Europe.”

Veronika Fajbíková (left) and Terrie McCann (right).

The training included intensive sessions on organizational and project goal setting, marketing and messaging, and fundraising.

“This training was very important for me and for INESS in general,” said Veronika Fajbíková, chief strategy officer of INESS (Slovakia). “In the first two hours of the training, for example, I was able to develop two partnerships. The networking has been invaluable. Overall, INESS has a great team, but often I still need some help sorting out our project planning, and some of our specific goals and objectives. And this training has helped me work out the details of our work with some talented peers from around Europe.”

As a culmination of the entire training, participants formed teams in the project planning “hack-a-thon” where they developed plans that they can implement either in their home think tanks or as cross-continent collaborations with other think tanks in Europe. The winner of the “hack-a-thon” contest was the team that built a plan to conduct a three-day conference marking the one year anniversary of the triggering of Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon (which gives any EU member the right to quit unilaterally, and outlines the procedure for doing so). The winning team expertly integrated into its project plan the key learnings from the training. Its project was actionable and had compelling messaging about how Brexit could be a “good breakup” and about how “Britain and Europe can be good partners in the future of free trade in the region.”

Members of the winning “hack-a-thon” group from left to right: Veronika Fajbíková, Terrie McCann, Victoria Schmid, and Tamara Wozniak.

Two of the workshop participants are new project managers from the Austrian Economics Center, which runs the annual Free Market Road Show and had more than 40 stops across Europe in 2017.

“The main benefit for me has been getting to know the rest of the participants,” said Victoria Schmid, project manager of Austrian Economics Center [AEC] (Austria). “I’ve been a marketer for eight years outside of the industry, so many of the presentations and activities have helped reinforce my previous professional experiences. It has been valuable getting to know and exchange ideas with others in the freedom movement in Europe.”  

Tamara Wozniak (left) and Victoria Schmid (right).

Schmid’s co-worker, Tamara Wozniak, added, “It’s ironic that Austria and many countries in Western Europe today are not very open to the ideas and economics of Hayek and classical liberalism. That’s why I’m so passionate about Austrian Economics Center. I haven’t worked in the field of marketing before, and I’m relatively new to the freedom movement, so for me the content of the workshop was great and very practical to my role.”

A special thank you to our local partner INESS, which provided on-the-ground logistical support and instruction by sharing from its 12 years of experience.

Richard Durana, director of INESS, shares his experiences in fundraising.

After leading intensive sessions on branding and messaging, Atlas Network’s VP of Marketing and Communications Daniel Anthony (on the far left) grabs a group shot on the way to dinner on the Danube.

Check out all the snapshots of the 3-day training event on Facebook.