Feriel Saouli, the Secretary-General of EuroVAprint ASBL and CEO of SEC Newgate EU, boasts over 20 years of experience in association management, specializing in transforming non-profit organizations and implementing effective strategies for membership, finances, and stakeholder engagement, including liaison with the European Commission.

Feriel Saouli
Secretary-General EuroVAprint and CEO, SEC Newgate EU

Feriel’s Story: Discovering My Passion for Associations

I fell into association management by accident, partly because I was given a chance by someone who believed in me, despite my diverse background. Born and raised in Algeria, I am an interpreter by training. Nothing destined me to work for associations, especially in the Brussels bubble. I would definitely encourage others to embrace a career in the international association sector. There is never a dull moment! From strategy to governance, membership to policy, communications to fundraising, you get to be involved in all aspects of an organization’s journey towards achieving its vision, serving its members, and advancing its purpose, which is very fulfilling.

Feriel’s Approach: How to #InspireInclusion through Our Work and Actions

I try to lead by example, fostering a culture where everyone feels empowered and safe to share their views. This translates into creating awareness of DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) by providing education and training, being open to any suggestions to advance the DEI agenda within the organization, and celebrating it. Concretely, this also means promoting diversity within association bodies and staff serving said associations.

Feriel’s Perspective: On the Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Associations

DEI is vital for any organization. Simply put, it reflects our society. According to the adage “light comes from confrontation,” we can only gain in terms of innovation and growth by taking into account all perspectives, accessing a broader spectrum of opinions, skills, backgrounds, sensitivities, and ways to apprehend any given situation. Association leaders reinforce member communities by ensuring everyone feels listened to, catered to, and respected.

Feriel’s Initiatives: Actions and Inspirations for Fellow Association Leaders

As a consultant working for associations, I have had the privilege of working for over 20 non-profits for the past 25 years. One project that perfectly illustrates the tangible and strategic benefit of DEI is a pairing – or mentorship – program launched by a professional association in the medical field to foster expertise sharing and building among its members, where both parts of the mentorship relationship actually learn from each other.