I have just returned from One Young World’s 2017 Summit. This organisation unites over 9,000 ambassadors and welcomed 1,300 leaders 30-and-under from 194 countries to warm and peaceful Bogotá, Colombia. This cohort discusses and responds to our most pressing global issues faced today, within the context of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals; irrefutably the most visionary and complete framework to fix our world.
We return to our separate corners of the globe as One Young World Ambassadors.
I met delegates from countries I hadn’t heard of. I witnessed my generation share first-hand experiences of worse atrocities than I am capable of imagining. I watched CEOs and global names reduce to tears to their surprise. I embraced with a smile more people in three days than I have my entire life. I heard social enterprises’ successes that render ‘impossible’ impossible. And I have never met more beautiful hosts than the Colombian people.
Is the above an exaggeration for dramatic effect? No.
Am I returning home ready to change the world? No.
I am intellectually and emotionally exhausted like never before. I literally need time to unpack, reflect and repack what I have just experienced before knowing what comes next.
There are so many questions on my mind. Can I start a societal initiative or serve another? Do I contribute within the strong arms of my employer or as an external pursuit? If nothing else, and this couldn’t come sooner, just how many of my own preconceptions have been shattered?
Your company needs leaders at all levels. One Young World is one such opportunity to foster these, and there are of course others.
You need employees whose sight and reach are far further than themselves if you want to be led to a rewarding future.
You need employees that put the impact of your entire supply chain above immediate profit, because that is your long-term bottom line.
You need employees with cultural capital to reach an audience better than any big-buck pencil-winning campaign.
I haven’t even mentioned the content of the summit yet; further posts no doubt when I have managed to decompress it all.
If I have learnt one thing this week, it is that you cannot afford to not have such leaders influence your business at all levels. It shapes your company’s future as much as it does theirs.
One Young World meets in The Hague in 2018. Your company should have its leaders of today and tomorrow represented there.