Have you heard of Slush? If no, let me tell you that Slush is one of the biggest conferences in the world for startups and investors in technology field which takes place in Helsinki, Finland. Two days of intense networking with over 10,000 separate meetings are also accompanied by speeches from the most successful world-class entrepreneurs, panel discussions and pitching competitions with hundreds of thousands of euros as prizes.
What sets Slush apart from all other business conferences is that it was originally created by students and this year it was organized by 2400 volunteers! This year I volunteered at Slush myself for the third time and it was my second time as a group leader. So why do I keep coming back? First of all Slush is fun, all the activities are interesting, enjoyable and I learn so much. Second reason for me to join Slush again and again is people. All people that I met at Slush, from volunteers to investors, are so inspiring. I especially enjoy spending time with my fellow group leaders and my volunteers, getting to know each other is just so exciting, everybody is so different. And the final third reason why I join Slush is experience and opportunity. Experiencing this kind of massive event is very memorable but also challenging and educational. I have always been a creator myself and it feels amazing to be able to help to organize this event even a little bit.
My role this year was to perform tasks of group leader in the Oasis team. Oasis concept was done for the very first time at Slush 2018 and this fact made it especially exciting! Oasis is what it sounds like, a quiet light space where you can take a moment away from business and relax your mind. Together with fellow group leaders and Oasis head of production we were planning all the activities for Oasis, tried to figure out our customer path, services we would offer there and all the logistics. I also had opportunity to recruit 10 volunteers for my group and I must say it is great way to learn some HR and manager skills.
The concept appeared to be a great success, all thanks to our amazing team of 30 people and Startup Refugees organization who were co-creating relaxing atmosphere at Oasis with us. The satisfaction from volunteering came to me at those moments when I saw a person taking a nap in Oasis, or smiling after getting neck massage or doing 5 minutes yoga. These moments made me realize that it all has been done for a reason and time spent in Oasis helped a lot of people.
Besides Oasis there are over 30 different volunteer teams at Slush: construction, badge claim, info, cloakroom, event help, first aid, sustainability, social media, meeting area team and many many others. Applicants can choose to apply to some particular team they want or apply to all teams, then there is a bigger chance to become a volunteer at Slush. No matter which team you will get in to, you are guaranteed to have great time, experience new emotions, learn a lot and get new friends from all over the world!
Outside of the working shifts all the volunteers can enjoy the Slush to its fullest: listen to the speeches and pitching competitions, get to know companies and stratups represented in the conference and maybe even find a job at a startup with the help of matchmaking tool that Slush provides. Finally, in order to get enough memories for the next year, each volunteer ends his or her Slush experience with not one, but two epic parties! First it is Slush official afterparty where some amazing artist performed throughout the years from Darude and Antti Tuisku to Jillionaire of Major Lazer. It is the time when all the Slush participants celebrate the hard work everybody has done and looking forward to all the developments that will come after the event. The next party volunteers get to attend is legendary volunteer party where everybody gets with their teams for the last time and party together all night long!
One more perk of being group or team leader at Slush is that if you are a student in any university of Finland, you will be able to earcn from 1 to 30 ECTS credits thanks to Aalto Ventures Program who organize “Slush Leadership Experience” course!
So if you are still thinking “to be or not to be” volunteer at Slush, I would definitely say go for it!