The Young Women’s Alliance is built upon four pillars: Lead, Educate, Network, and Serve. This month, we’re showcasing a different pillar each week, with stories about how our members have taken what they’ve learned in YWA and applied it in their own lives. This week, YWA Chief of Staff Jou Spitler talks about attending the 2019 One Young World summit in England last October and how YWA helped her become the well-rounded leader she is today.
This October, I had the privilege and honor to travel to London, England, as a delegate at the 2019 One Young World (OYW) summit. At the three-and-a-half day summit, I joined over 2,000 delegates from 190+ countries from all industries, sectors, and walks of life to inspire, develop, empower, engage, and network with the best and brightest.
What is the One Young World Summit?
Hailed as a ‘junior Davos’ for young future leaders, the summit is dedicated to helping attendees grow into responsible, purposeful business leaders. There were several key themes and focus areas from this year’s summit that included climate action, quality education, equality, and poverty alleviation.
For me, what stood out the most was the emphasis that while one voice is powerful, you are more powerful when you collaborate.
We each have the power and voice to enact positive change in this world. And we need to work collectively as individuals, communities, corporations, nonprofits, and governments to bring impactful and lasting change for the better.
A Platform for Positive Impact
We had amazing speakers that ranged from world leaders, executives of multinational corporations, and celebrities to young activists fighting for basic human rights in the remotest areas of the world. Regardless of their position and clout, they each used their platform to positively impact the world.
For example, J.K. Rowling chose to launch her #HelpingNotHelping campaign at OYW. Her main message is that visiting and volunteering in orphanages drives an industry that separates children from their families and puts them at risk of neglect and abuse.
At OYW, author J.K. Rowling launched #HelpingNotHelping, a campaign led by her children’s charity Lumos intended to educate young people about the potential harms of orphanage tourism and volunteering.
Even those with seemingly no power were still able to use their voice and create their platform for change.
For example, disability activist Oscar Anderson was brought on stage by the CEO of a large multinational consumer goods corporation to share his message: “Disabled people want to be seen, not shut away. The person inside is the same nervous, ambitious, curious, naughty person as you and I. See them. Listen to them. Speak out for them.”
Oscar was born premature in Vietnam and developed jaundice that was left untreated. As a result, it damaged his brain and disabled his body. Oscar’s activism in the community has inspired an initiative working to make simple photo-therapy available to treat neonatal jaundice in rural Vietnam.
UN Messenger of Peace renowned for her landmark study of chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Dr. Jane Goodall is one of the world’s most famous scientists and conservationists. During the OYW summit, she reminded us of the interconnection of all living things and the importance of staying connected to the natural world.
A Connection to the Greater Good
These and so many more special moments and inspirational stories about resilience, perseverance, forgiveness, and determination opened my eyes and changed my views of the world. I cannot even begin to summarize everything here, so I hope you will look at the highlight and live-stream videos available online.
I feel so privileged and lucky to have clean water, feel safe in my community, to be educated and so many countless other things that most of the world does not have access to. I know that I have the power, the voice, and the platform to make a positive impact on my community.
If you’re interested in learning how to attend, ask your employer to become a partner and supporter of One Young World! I am so incredibly grateful to work for a company with a strong focus on corporate social responsibility and belief in the value of organizations like OYW.
How YWA Can Support Your Leadership Goals
Selection for this opportunity was based on a number of factors, including my involvement across roles at work as well as my contributions to the community — through organizations like the Young Women’s Alliance.
I’ve seen first hand how YWA helps members become more well rounded in their personal and professional lives. YWA provides a diverse group of professional women with opportunities to connect with and learn from their peers and other leaders in the community, as well as to give back through community service events.
Instead of just focusing on work, YWA gives me a chance to give back to my community and make the kind of connections that enrich our lives in a holistic way. There’s a balance between career, community, and family and friends.
We are the most informed, most educated, and most connected generation in human history—let us use that for good! Be a social intrapreneur within your company. Volunteer in the community. Give your time, skills and money to the causes that mean the most to you.
Becoming a YWA Member
Being part of YWA — especially my experience as a Board member — has exposed me to so many new friends and connections. Since joining, I’ve become more comfortable meeting new people and forming sincere connections, both with like-minded professionals as well as the greater community of Austin.
I am excited to continue to use my platform with the Young Women’s Alliance to further the good in our community and in the world. I hope you will join me!
Membership is open throughout the month of January, so sign up today.
Check out www.oneyoungworld.com for more information, as this post barely scratches the surface of the organization. You can reach out to Jou Spitler at email@example.com if you have any questions, comments, or would like more information.