Thank you Andrea for four-years co-presidency! Now, what’s next?

Ghada Kandil
World Information Architecture Association
4 min readFeb 14, 2024

--

Andrea Rosenbusch has decided to step down from her role as co-president of World IA Association (WIAA). In this interview, Andrea reflects on her time as co-head of WIAA and her future plans with the association. Also read about what her colleagues say.

Hello, Andrea! Will you tell us about your decision ?

The last four years were very intense. When I started, we were afraid the COVID pandemic would lead to the demise of local events, but it also gave us the opportunity to grow the community more internationally. To work together with the diverse global board was a wonderful experience. I learnt a lot, particularly about community building, volunteer organizations, and IA. And I made some dear friends. Now it’s time for me to move on and to have more time for other projects and my family. And I’m looking forward to fresh inputs and new perspectives in the global board. I’ll still be around to support the board, but more in the background.

How did you start with World IA Day?

I started in 2015 with organizing World IA Day (WIAD) Zurich. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, and it is pretty awesome that the event still resonates with the community. I don’t think I know of other communities as dedicated and friendly as this one. When Fabienne Gafner and I started planning our first event, we didn’t know much about IA as a discipline. We were unabashed enough to ask Peter Morville and Andrea Resmini to speak. Never would we have dreamt that both would accept! And with this lineup, we reached our audience and set the expectations for the following years.

In your opinion, what are the most important decisions you made during your co-presidency?

I don’t think I made any crucial decisions, but that wasn’t my goal, either. My aim was to make the organization sustainable, to have a clear focus, and to foster the quality of the events. I think we did accomplish some of this.

In terms of quality, I think we did well with the global themes on curiosity, connections, orientation & wayfinding and — in 2024 — context. Also by providing the global keynotes with subtitles in around 10 languages.

Concerning focus, I think I learnt to be more patient and more open to other people’s desires. The decision to establish WIAA as an organization beyond the WIAD events wasn’t really on my agenda. But I believe it helps others to develop products and services their communities demand, and therefore I supported the change.

In respect to sustainability, I think we’re doing OK. We’ve always managed to continue to develop the organization, with activities like joining 24 hours of UX, founding WIAA or the website project we’re kicking off right now. Last, but not least, we have a large number of local organizers and board members who have been around for a long time and are still driving this organization. I don’t know what we would do without Grace Lau, who is the heart and soul of everything.

What are the challenges that face WIAA and your advice to overcome them?

Communities are always changing. The advantage is their energy and flexibility, and their disadvantage is the lack of continuity.

An ever-changing round shape

We have both tendencies in our organization. Some strive to create a more formal organization, others prefer to continue as a grass root movement. Even if it’s fine to have this mix, the next term of presidency should clarify which is the dominant path.

How do you plan to stay involved with WIAA?

I will mainly try to grow WIAA by liaising with people interested in supporting WIAA in general and in organizing World IA Days in and around Europe.

What does the WIAA global board say?

Interviewing number of WIAA global board members, I quote here couple of them:

Grace Lau, WIAA co-president, “Andrea has been a great partner and mentor. I’ve learned so much since working with her about leadership and communication. Her consideration, thoughtfulness, and intention when it comes to planning the global keynotes.”

Luis Alveart Guerraro, WIAA regional director Latin America, “Andrea has been doing a great job with both WIAD and WIAA. She is patient and focused. Her participation is relevant in keeping the events alive and to connect people around the world to manage all the initiatives.”

“Thank you, Andrea, for your contribution to WIAA!”on behalf of all global board members.

--

--

Ghada Kandil
World Information Architecture Association

Founder, Fikrbayan | Leading the content set {strategy, management, design, conversation} | Advocate of digital Arabic content