Bianca Brandizzi: Valuable Life Lessons and Doors Being Opened
Besides promoting the interest in shaping the future and continuity of the enterprise, Lovinklaan aims to help Arcadians grow and reach their full potential through different inspiring programs. But what is the concrete added value of the programs and how do they enrich personal and professional development? We asked participant Bianca Brandizzi.
Introducing: Bianca Brandizzi from Brazil
Bianca is a fellow Arcadian working in the São Paulo office in Brazil, and one of the lucky few who got the opportunity to participate in more than one Lovinklaan supported program: Global Shapers and Shelter. After joining Arcadis in 2014 as an Environmental Analyst specializing in Site Remediation, she was told about the employee programs in her first week. “I was immediately enthusiastic,” she told us.
Global Shapers 2016, Doha Qatar Shelter mission 2017, São Tomé and Príncipe
In 2016, Bianca signed up for the Global Shapers program and joined a group of one hundred young Arcadis professionals during its annual conference in Doha, Qatar. “Global Shapers initially attracted me the most, because I wanted to experience how Arcadis works as a multinational, globally. It started by connecting with other participants online, through virtual groups and Skype calls. And then we went to Doha – where we didn’t sleep at all. We looked like zombies all day, but it was an amazing experience, meeting a lot of people, all in the early stages of their career. Everyone was energetic.”
“We didn’t sleep at all. We looked like zombies all day, but it was amazing.”
When asking what she took away from the experience, Bianca replies enthusiastically. “I learned to collaborate in a dynamic environment. We all had to participate and had to switch between cases and topics very quickly. It was challenging, but very valuable. I learned to take quick decisions while considering different opinions. The experience also opened new doors and increased my network within Arcadis, even with non-Global Shapers: I got more involved in meetings and got easier in contact with my superiors. In general, it really enhanced my involvement in Arcadis and my own visibility.”
Just one year later, Bianca got the opportunity to assist in humanitarian aid while on a Lovinklaan sponsored Shelter mission. “Signing up for the Shelter project was more difficult,” Bianca informs. “I think I applied a total of 5 or 6 times, I really wanted to go.” Her determination definitely shows. Refusing to give up, she eventually got selected and got on a plane to São Tomé and Príncipe, an island on the Pacific west coast of the African continent. “We had to help organize the resettlement of a community and provided our technical advice on energy and water supply.”
All projects have its challenges and Shelter was no different according to Bianca: “We organized our project during the preparation phase, but when we got there, the reality was much different than what we had envisioned. We were thrown into a whole different scenario in which we had limited resources. Initially I was asked to support with energy matters, but I ended up helping much more in the area of water supply, which proved to be more challenging. We stayed there for two weeks. One week was to meet the people on the ground and to get the data, the resources and the water points. In the second week, we really put our hands to good use and initiated carrying out the project before handing it over. It would have definitely been interesting to monitor and guide the project in its entirety though.”
“We organized our project during the preparation phase, but when we got there the reality was much different than what we had envisioned.”
Bianca admits she learned a valuable lesson from the experience. “Things are not always under our control. We did the best we could with the few resources we had. I learned to carefully listen to all parties involved. I noticed that some things that didn’t seem important, turned out to be.” Similar to her experience with Global Shapers, Shelter also emphasized the need for a collaborative effort. “It was a different environment, but the solution was the same. You had to work together and listen to every opinion.”
On a personal level, Bianca’s Shelter experience ignited her philanthropic interest. “When I came back I wanted to do more. I signed up for a lot of volunteer work. You can help by giving little. That’s what I took as my main lesson in life. You cannot change the world, but even if you can do something small, it’s good. The experience of Shelter was amazing and unique. I visited places I normally wouldn’t.”
Unsurprisingly, Bianca personally favored her Shelter experience a bit more, but admits it isn’t an easy choice to make. “It is difficult to compare. The programs are very different from one another. Global Shapers really focused on discovering how Arcadis worked and in what way we could contribute to the company. It was very much about exchanging ideas. Shelter shows how our skills contribute in a different environment and in new and complex situations. You encounter difficult environments and need to work out new scenarios. In that respect I feel I did both projects at exact the right time and in the right order. Global Shapers is very valuable early in your career when you are still getting to know the company. It gives you a lot of energy and makes you want to be a part of Arcadis. I think Lovinklaan is doing amazing with all the programs they offer. It really changes your life for the better.”
So What’s Next?
If up to her, she would continue signing up for all available projects. “If I could do all, I definitely would. I am thinking about going on a Quest, to learn about sustainable methods for remediation. I definitely want to connect with people in other Arcadis offices to see how we can make our projects more sustainable.”