Since 2016 Jutta Buyse was the Deputy Secretary General of EL and represented the Association in the Brussels office since 2009. During this time, Jutta led the public affairs for EL and experienced historic moments for the Association at European level. Prior to 2009, Jutta worked in Brussels-based European public affairs consultancies. She started her career as a European Commission trainee with the Group of Policy Advisors. Her academic training is in sociology which she studied at the Free University of Berlin in Germany and the University of Pennsylvania in the United States.
Looking back at 11 eventful years at EL, what has been the biggest highlight?
There were many highlights and what I have always enjoyed the most is visiting the member companies, it’s great to see the similarities and differences between them – especially because they are each so deeply embedded in their national cultures. It’s also always been great to learn about the beneficiaries of lottery funding. Actually, researching who the ‘end beneficiaries’ are in the different lotteries was one of the first projects that I worked on when I started in 2009!
If I have to pick out one special ‘ fun’ moment, for sure it was moderating the CEO panel together with Arjan at the 2019 Congress in Antwerp. We used a format where we would push a button on a remote control which would make numbered lotto-balls circulate in a bowl, just like with a lottery draw. The number that came out would then corresponded to a question, which we would ask one of the CEOs of our lottery companies or the big sponsoring suppliers. The discussion was excellent, all the panelists ‘played’ along brilliantly with us moderators and I had so much fun with that format. Doesn’t everybody want to be pushing the button for the lottery balls to start turning at least once in their life? So that panel goes into my ‘mental box’ for very special memories for sure.
Personally, what has been your biggest achievement during your time at the Association?
I would say it has been truly building up the EU affairs capacity, making sure that EL responded to really each and every one of the public consultations that the European Commission issued on relevant topics for the sector and that could apply to us. It has really paid off to participate in the process from the very beginning because it makes a big difference to policy makers whether you have been part of a discussion from the moment it starts. Finding a common line between all the members can be a big challenge but we now have quite a substantial ‘corpus’ of common positions that we can draw on.
What has been the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
It was quite the challenge when my responsibility was extended to work not only on the Brussels EU-policy level, but also be active in all the activities of the association in our networking and knowledge exchange stream, Congress, Industry and Seminars if you will. I think that at the end of the day there’s only one way to handle that sort of challenge really: you just do it!
What have you enjoyed the most about working for a European umbrella Association?
The great part about working for an Association is that you get exposed to a very high level of strategic reflection very quickly, you interact with people who are taking very crucial decisions about their companies and learn how they think. It is also exciting to be part of the discussion what these people then think they can do together and what they want to achieve jointly for their sector. It’s great to work for a sectoral association, I can only highly recommend it.
Jutta, I’m sure you are sad about leaving the Association. What will you miss the most?
My colleagues, of course. They are exceptional people and stand out in their positive attitude and with a sincere commitment to always seek to do what will serve the Members of the Association best. And then I will miss the sector as a whole. It is a very special sector always building the bridge between entertainment and responsibility and ensuring that the money from the players is returned to society.
To conclude: What is your farewell message to the lottery community, the EL team and EL members?
Our sector is a very special place where people stay for a very long time – I have been here for 11 years now and I know many people that have worked in the lottery world for much much longer than that. I hope that everyone can continue to preserve the special enthusiasm to work for the benefit of society that makes it so special. I will miss everyone very much – please stay in touch and I hope that we can cooperate again together in the future!