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Sabina Otoničar, Head of Quality Assurance Department, Office for Quality Assurance, Analyses and Reporting, University of Ljubljana was awarded the title of Congress Ambassador of Slovenia 2019 for organizing international event 'Summer school in Methods and Techniques' (2007-2015).

Ambasadorji Sabina EN

How would you describe the process of organizing professional / scientific meetings in Ljubljana?

Long-term planning has often been a big challenge: when exactly to plan for an event? With the help of the Ljubljana Convention Bureau, which monitors and advises on the dates and overall bookings in the destination, this has become much easier for me. If you don't know it, it might seem that Ljubljana's size might impact the quality and variety of the offer provided but it doesn't - the city is very vibrant and dynamic. What is more - organizing and managing different activities is so much easier in a compact city like this. It's really important to show all this to the delegates too, they appreciate it.

What were the biggest joys and challenges for you, and what is the most important lesson you have learnt & would pass on to your younger colleagues?

For me the greatest joy comes once the event ends and a feeling of a job-well-done kicks in; when the participants value the good organization and decide to come back. The crucial lesson for me was to understand how truly important personal contact and kindness are; each participant wants to feel treated as a person and not just a number at every stage of the meeting - from registration process to the final goodbye.

What do you see as the biggest advantages of Ljubljana as a congress destination, and which are its greatest potential yet to be developed?

As I have already said the biggest advantage of Ljubljana is its compactness. It allows every attendee to really feel the local atmosphere and way of life, work, cuisine, popular leisure activities, etc, which is great in my opinion!

I think of the untapped potential in terms of the social activities that are often being overlooked by event organizers in Ljubljana and Slovenia. The content of the conference is extremely important - it's the reason why delegates came in the first place, yet I’m always reminded of the role of the social programme and how it should not be forgotten. I believe it should not be just a “classic” guided city tour; especially because Ljubljana offers much more (history, eclectic culture, laid-back atmosphere, etc.). It is very important for event planners to plan carefully also the social activities. 

What does being a Slovenian congress ambassador mean to you personally and professionally?

Both personally and professionally, being a congress ambassador is a great honor for me. It also means a certain new commitment. I'd like to organize events that are of high quality, events that I can be genuinely proud of. I'm truly happy and grateful that my work has been recognized in this way, too.

Is there any event / meeting that you would especially like to bring to Ljubljana in the future?

The University of Ljubljana has been involved in various collaborations with excellent international universities in the field of quality for many years, so I would like to organize a meeting or a conference on this topic in the coming years.

What is your definition of a perfect day?

Start it early in the morning, work hard and then reward yourself with a leisure activity that suits you at that particular moment!

A special experience during the Corona-virus time you could share?

During the coronavirus, I changed jobs (I worked for the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana before) and saw new co-workers only occasionally via online meetings for almost two months, which made the initial learning process a bit more difficult. Now everything is getting back to 'normal' and I try to see also the positive sides of this past months. It seems we have simplified many things and have found more effective ways to facilitate the work process, which I find extremely beneficial.