European Mayoresses Meeting
Facilitating political exchange
Under the title “Achieving more together”, mayors from Austria, South Tyrol, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg met for the first time to exchange experiences and ideas. This raised the event of the annual meeting of mayors, which took place for the first time in 2007, to an international level.Ursula Hillbrand was tasked with moderating large parts of the demanding program.With her many years of experience in various bodies of the European Commission, she knows exactly how to create space for constructive and inspiring conversations between all participants within a very short time.With Ursula Hillbrand’s “Ideas Salon” the participants had found a format in which the most important topics could be discussed in detail. Despite all the differences between the participants in terms of origin, political background or size of the communities, it quickly became clear what the common concerns are:While the number of female municipal councilors and deputy mayors has long since risen sharply, female mayors are still underrepresented (last in Austria with only around 7.7%, up to 13% in the other participating countries). There is clearly a need for action here. Women should be encouraged to position themselves for the front row. Support for this also comes from the President of the Association of Municipalities, Riedl: “It must be a central concern at all levels to make the function so attractive and to encourage women to choose the mayoral office.”The “Ideas Salon” has certainly brought important networking and awareness raising for the further development of the topic.
The difference between a workshop with Ursula Hillbrand and other offers in this sector is that she manages to get everyone to keep their heads on the topic and participate. I have already experienced this with her in several processes and will work with her again in the future.