If, as a group of young Europeans, we were despondent about Brexit and the thought of globalisation being hindered by the will of the older generation, the first One Young World European Caucus was the perfect reassurance that our generation would continue in our quest for a connected and united world; even if it means an extra few minutes at customs.
The One Young World community gathered for the Caucus in Madrid last Friday. Carlota and Charlie, fellow Coordinating Ambassadors, had promised an interesting day with strong speakers and what they delivered far exceeded my expectations.
Catching up with the One Young World community in the lovely modern Wayra building we were beginning to feel comfortable, though that didn’t last very long. Founder Kate Robertson gave the opening remarks and issued a rousing plea that we use our platform to continue to work together for social good in the face of growing inequality, instability, and inaction. Her message was simple and poignant; we absolutely must step up and do more as young leaders to claim the society we want to live in. Exactly what was necessary to re-ignite the One Young World experience and remind us of the promises we were privileged to make in Bangkok last year.
I must admit that the motivation and inspiration I got from One Young World 2015 was dampened by the reality of work commitments and life at home. Working long hours and trying to impress, and maintain a comfortable relationship with, your bosses, it's been easy to find excuses. Well not anymore, thanks to Viviana Alvarez. Her inspiring story of setting up an NGO In Haiti followed by single-handedly launching a social program through Unilever in multiple countries all while climbing the corporate ladder. Her talk left me feeling determined, able and curious how she gets the energy! The biggest takeaway from this was that it's ok to rock the boat in our companies and look for support, especially if we work equally hard to show our value.
Complimenting Viviana’s comments, the sometimes uneasy balancing act of working for a large corporate and at the same time trying to affect social change was challenged head on by Arancha Diaz-Llado. For good or bad, corporations have the power and ability to benefit our societies. We were lucky to hear three speakers who are harnessing this power in different ways. Arancha is shaping Telefonica’s social programs from the inside. Javier Goyeneche, the founder of ECOALF, is proof that you can also run a company that’s core business, selling fashionable clothing from recycled materials, can be not just sustainable but profitable. David Spears is trying to develop products within Barclays that include a social aspect, he has also co-founded the Circle of Young Intrapreneurs that’s goal is to connect intraprenuers and allow them to share and harness their ideas.
It was a great event that definitely rekindled the inspiration we got in Bangkok. But Kate was right from the outset. It’s very easy to sit around and listen to other people's achievements, but we must do more. We have the platform, the ability, and the opportunity. We must do more. Otherwise we can’t expect a future that we will be satisfied with.
Ronan Daly is a One Young World Coordinating Ambassador from Ireland who is passionate about social good.