The annual One Young World Summit brings together talented global young leaders from every sector to discuss innovative ways to tackle the world's most pressing issues; from climate change to extreme poverty and inequality. This year, 2,000 delegates from all 196 countries, including 50 Deloitte delegates, convened in Westminster, London. Kate Bossie, a Manager in the Deloitte UK Real Estate Consulting team, who also manages the relationship and volunteering activity at one of our One Million Futures Schools, was one of the lucky attendees. Here’s what she learnt from this once in a lifetime experience.
Along with other delegates, I still find it almost impossible to provide a succinct and deserving overview of my first One Young World experience. Sheer exhaustion and mixed emotions from the excitement of the week left normally articulate delegates unable to engage in a coherent conversation following the closing ceremony – even over pizza on the last night.
One Young World is a non-profit organisation founded in 2010 with the purpose of creating the next generation of more responsible and effective leadership. Last year, it also launched the Lead2030 Challenge to fund youth-led initiatives for the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and Deloitte are a key sponsor of Sustainable Development Goal 4 –Quality Education.
We had the honour of attending four transformative days of keynote speeches, panel discussions, networking roundtables, and workshops with political, business and humanitarian leaders such as Paul Polman, Co-Founder of Imagine and previous CEO of Unilever, Professor Muhammad Yunus, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize 2006, Meghan Markle, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, amongst many other global figures. We also heard from our very own Global Chief People and Purpose Officer, Michele Parmelee, and learnt how businesses are collaborating to prepare young people for the future of work and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Despite the glamour associated with such world renowned leaders, I was left most inspired by the courage of the young people who got up on stage to share their personal stories and are now taking action against the injustices they have experienced; from human trafficking and modern-day slavery, to fighting for freedom of speech in the age of ‘fake news’ and propaganda. The list goes on…and every issue carried equal importance.
Like many people in my generation, I still feel overwhelmed by the number of social, political and environmental issues faced today. I left feeling motivated to make a difference, but equally powerless that I couldn’t solve the world’s most complex problems in one day, and not knowing where to start first.
Wary of not wanting to "preach" to those around me, I found myself tailing off when I realised I had been channelling my newly found “inner-Greta Thunberg”, and telling the person closest to me about the damage done by the amount of plastic in our oceans or growing number of endangered species.
As proud One Young World Ambassadors, we now have a huge responsibility to drive a more sustainable and inclusive path to development, both in our communities and corporations. The weight of this task does not escape us, but One Young World has given us the means, motivation and network of 12,000+ young leaders to make a bigger difference together.
At first, I felt compelled to quit my job to set up an NGO or join the UN! But then I realised even if I could devote all my time, I wouldn’t have the skills or be the best person for the job. I now recognise that I can create meaningful change from within Deloitte; providing new energy to advance our WorldClass strategy and wider Sustainable Development Goals. Through our global culture and shared purpose, we can make a positive impact on clients, our people and empower wider communities.
I have committed to doing one thing that makes a difference every day, no matter how small. Whether it be looking after my own health and wellbeing, or supporting Deloitte UK’s One Million Futures programme by volunteering at a local school.
It’s only through the combined power of these small actions that we can have a big impact.
So my question to you is this – what one small thing will you do every day to impact change?