Thank you, Heidi!

Our Policy Director, Heidi Pekkola resigned from her position in the past weeks, and will officially leave her office in the middle of April.

At ENGSO, we feel very bittersweet because of Heidi’s decision. On the one hand, we are extremely grateful for her enthusiasm, dedication and hard work that she put into her job since she started in 2011. On the other hand, we know that sometimes we need changes, new adventures and new challenges. Heidi will for sure find all of them in her new position as Deputy Director of the EU Office of the European Olympic Committees.

Here, we gather some of the most memorable moments that some current and former colleagues at ENGSO recall about her.

Stavri Bello, Executive Committee member of ENGSO:

"Heidi has always been so helpful for our NOC and her communication has been wonderful.

I have had the chance to host her in Tirana for the seminar “Good Governance of sports institutions in Albania”, which was a special event in our relationship.

Also, Heidi has always been interested to know the developments of sport in my country and she has been ready to help us in different ways.

I’m sure we will miss her in ENGSO, but with her new position we will have more opportunities to collaborate with her. I wish Heidi good luck, health and a lot of success in her new job.

Thank you, Heidi!”

Stefan Bergh, Secretary General of ENGSO:

"I have had the pleasure to serve alongside with Heidi in the small staff group that operates ENGSO’s activities. Let me first state: our federation could not have the strong position on the European sport scene if it wouldn´t have been for the excellent performance from Heidi. With massive knowledge and systematic and smart actions she has managed to give ENGSO a clear and visible face in the rooms where European sport is being discussed.

She is so dedicated and professional, always putting ENGSO first. The workload that she has carried is enormous and the output from her work has in many ways contributed to strengthen our federation.

Adding to all this, she is a very pleasant person to be with. She laughs a lot, and with her personality, people that she meets feel at ease. The atmosphere in meetings where Heidi is active is always constructive and positive.

I will miss Heidi a lot. ENGSO will miss Heidi a lot. But, knowing that the world of sport sometimes can be quite small, I know that we will meet and cooperate with Heidi.

To you Heidi, thank you for everything that you have done for ENGSO!

P.S. In this context I also want to express my gratitude to the Finnish Olympic Committee for having financially contributed to the Policy Director function in ENGSO.”

Helena Carlsson, former Secretary General of ENGSO:

“I met Heidi for the first time in Budapest in 2011. It was Birgitta Kervinen, Honorary President of ENGSO, who introduced us to each other. Heidi and I had a day off in the city and Birgitta thought that we would get along very well. Birgitta was, like often, right.

At that time, Heidi and I didn’t know that we would work together a couple of years later.

Describing in just some sentences what we did these four years, while we worked together, is impossible. It was hard work, late nights and many weekends. But, I am sure that without Heidi the work wouldn’t have been as fun, with so good results and with such a good progress, as with her.

Elevator rides and coffee breaks were like mini think tanks.

In meetings we often looked at each other and without saying anything, we knew what the other one was thinking.

Dinners with her, my colleague, always became dinners with her, my friend.

So, thank you Heidi, for the work you have done for ENGSO and the whole sport movement. And thank you for being such a good friend to me. You are a star!”

Marie Denitton, Office Director of ENGSO:

“To me Heidi has been the best Policy Director ENGSO could ever have. With her great ambition, competence and loyalty, she has strongly contributed to building and developing ENGSO in the past few years. I will really miss Heidi as a person, but also our internal competitions about the ice hockey games between Sweden and Finland! All the best for you Heidi and good luck with your new job!”

Birgitta Kervinen, former President of ENGSO:

“As you might know, I asked Heidi to move to Brussels and to start working as Policy Officer for ENGSO. It was under my leadership that ENGSO got its first employed staff member. It has been a great trip together with her. We made an agreement that we will work together to safeguard our strategy and the organisation. To safeguard what is the most important for sport: voluntary work, sport clubs and equality for everyone to participate.

Heidi’s role was extremely important. Over the years she built up an influential network with important stakeholders. She is highly professional, active and a trustful person. It was a pleasure to work with her. Thank you, dear Heidi, and good luck for the new adventures. Keep always in your mind what is important in life and in work. It is values. Safeguarding grassroots sport is important for the whole sport movement. I wish you all the best in your personal life and work.”

Karin Mattsson Weijber, Treasurer of ENGSO:

”What I will remember the most from Heidi’s and my cooperation is the combination of seriosity, loyalty and humour. I really appreciate that Heidi is always so reliable, so careful and that we always laugh a lot. Thank you for what you have done for ENGSO, Heidi, and good luck in the future!”

Julie Ravlo, International Relations Officer at the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports:

“It is really sad for ENGSO to lose Heidi. She has been a very valuable and diplomatic lobbyist on behalf of ENGSO and its member organisations. In addition, she is also a wonderful human being. She has definitely branded ENGSO positively and consequently through her Policy Director position, both through her strong knowledge and professionalism and through her personality and personal skills towards people.

We will miss her!”

Niina Toroi, Manager of International Relations at the Finnish Olympic Committee:

“ENGSO’s Executive Committee meeting was organised in Lapland in 2015. When everyone else was tired from cross country skiing, Heidi skied some extra kilometers. At the meeting, when everyone else ran out of ideas, Heidi came up with fresh and new approaches, taking a look from another angle. When no one had anything more to say, Heidi would inspire others with a thought well-analysed. Endurance, energy and enthusiasm are words that describe Heidi the best. Her endurance to continue working when others are ready to slow down is the same as what long distance runners have at the Olympics. Her energy to produce new, powerful ideas could be learned from Stephen Hawking. Her enthusiasm to inspire and motivate others is a natural born skill. Good luck with your future endeavours, it all looks bright for you.”

Heidi, all of us at ENGSO, we wish you all the best in your new position, and you are always welcome at our events!

The ENGSO family