Last month, Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) graduates, Louise Pasin and Charlotte Surtees-Chapman, joined 1,300 young leaders at the One Young World summit in Ottowa, Canada. This annual event for 18-30 year olds is designed to empower the next generation of leaders to make a positive and lasting change to society. Attendees come from all over the world, and from a mix of global and national companies, NGOs, universities and other forward-thinking organisations.
Louise and Charlotte, who both work in Public Affairs and Communications at CCEP, share some insights about their experience.
The One Young World experience
Louise: “With young leaders from 197 countries coming together for four days of meetings and discussion, We met many talented people who showed us how powerful your impact can be when you decide to act. One example is FrançoisRodrigo Le Tiec – he’s just a normal guy but he recently launched his own NGO, Nuevo Destino, which helps Honduran children in rural areas access education.
“Climate Change is one of the issues I’m most concerned about both in my personal and professional life so ‘the Climate Change’ session by Mary Robinson (former UN commissioner and President of Ireland) was one of my main highlights. She taught us about the idea of ‘climate justice’ – securing justice for the millions of people who are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and who are often unheard voices.
Charlotte: “It really was life-changing. Delegates came from far and wide and from a range of sectors – from finance to FMCGs – providing a platform for very varied conversations. We discussed everything, from what our respective companies do to make a social difference to how we could make a change when we return.
“YouTube blogger Hussain Manawer was among many speakers who stood out to me. His thought-provoking session on mental health demonstrated how important it is to work together to help every member of society to feel valued and included.”
Lessons from One Young World
Louise: “Don’t be afraid – believe you can make a change. We need to be optimists and create a world we all want to live in. It means that we have to take actions, get involved in our community and try our best to create a positive impact.”
Charlotte: “Never underestimate the power of networking. Working together will help us tackle global issues, so it’s important to stay connected to those who share our goals and challenge our thinking.”
“Just because societal issues might not directly affect us, it doesn’t mean that we should ignore them. We must remember that all human life is of equal value and we never know what challenges others are facing – take time to understand. Small step changes and simple acts of kindness will make a difference. I also learned that we shouldn’t think like leaders of tomorrow. We are leaders of today, and we can make a difference now.”
Key takeaways for our business
Louise: “CCEP is a global company, committed to making an impact in corporate responsibility and sustainability. We should use One Young World as a platform to exchange knowledge and business practices with other high-profile organisations, and tackle problems together.”
Charlotte: “We need to ensure that we align our community programmes to real issues that each country is facing. We need to look at how we make a tangible contribution to society.”
“To be part of the solution to global issues, we need to be part of the conversation. One Young World pushes you to think creatively, and on a wider scale. The experience gave me renewed energy and direction to bring back to the business.”