GS2018: The Interview Blogs – #GrandFinale Thijs Pruijssers & Matthew Lawrence

22 november 2018

The Interview Blogs highlight the experiences of Global Shapers: Generation 2018, the workflow coaches, executive and senior leadership team members, and a board member from The Lovinklaan Foundation. The #ShareTheStory team interviewed these individuals with specific interview questions geared towards their unique experience during the face-to-face program, October 13 – 17, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Today, an interview with Thijs Pruijssers, Global Development Lead Analytics and workflow coach for the workflow #GrandFinale, and Matthew Lawrence (GEC India), Global Shaper of Generation 2018 who worked on the workflow #GrandFinale. 

Where did your Global Shapers journey get started?

TP: I got involved with Global Shapers in 2016 with my new role within the Global HR Team where I focused on this program. Last year I was on the Organizing Team for the Kuala Lumpar program and this year is my last year with the Global Shapers program as I’m moving to the Digital Analytics group with Christoph.

What does the #GrandFinale workflow mean to the program?

TP: It’s one of the most important workflows, especially because it all happens on site. It’s all about collaboration and project management and having that helicopter view. Knowing what is happening all around you, keeping the external environment in mind, but them alignment with the other workflows. Time management, collaboration, budget all come together in this workflow. I think it’s the most fun, the most creative but still a pressure cooker. As you can see everyone running around, it’s midnight and we’re about to have a rehearsal in 10 minutes.

Tell us about your #GrandFinale workflow team.

Tp: I’ve got an amazing team, looking at how they divide tasks, use each other’s strengths & skills and listen to each other. It’s one happy place where everyone can contribute to their personal achievements for what they want to get out of this program. I am very proud of this team.

Tell us about your #GrandFinale workflow.

ML: The #GrandFinale is probably the least known workflow of the group because we are behind the scenes pushing the whole Global Shapers experience to the “grand audience”. The #GrandFinale workflow is directly targeting this audience. Simply, it is event management. We are running the Global Shapers final show from the background from minute details to setting the stage and the timing. That is the #GrandFinale workflow’s main task: making sure the Global Shapers Face-to-Face session is a success. We are tasked with engaging the audience in an experience where they can immerse themselves in #FutureCities and showing them what we have worked on in the past few days and the solutions we’ve come up with in. We are showcasing all of our talents and all of our hard work.

What is the one thing you want other people to know about Global Shapers?

ML: That you are going to make sacrifices that you didn’t know you were capable of making. Global Shapers sets you on a path that you had no idea you were going to go on. You realize you are stronger than you actually thought you actually were: I am going to stay up later to get this workflow done, I am going to work harder to make this deliverable. You become a Global Shaper for life, it’s going to redefine you and how you see yourself and the world.

How do you feel about working in a multi-cultural environment?

ML: It didn’t start here, it started in the virtual phase. The first exposure to the many cultures was sitting down and figuring out our time zones. We started to appreciate the sacrifice people made. Culturally we realised that some people are more flexible to with work. Some people enforce a work-life balance and other people would put it all on the line. The approaches from different people were entirely different. As soon as you meet more and more people, the one thing I realised is that I became more conscious of what I was saying. Here, I realise, I’m more aware and more sensitive to other peoples’ cultures. Not only because I have been exposed to it through the virtual phase, but I am seeing it live. I am humbled by the experience and I didn’t realise that there were so many other things bigger than myself. The real time exposure to people and culture was a great experience.

How will you create a ripple effect after you get back?

ML: Becoming a Global Shaper Ambassador, to encourage the next generation to join is my ripple effect. I got here because someone guided me through the application phase and encouraged me, with “your idea is not silly.” That positive encouragement to become a Global Shaper is what pushed me, without that push I would not be here. I want to go back and give everyone that push, this is an amazing opportunity and I don’t want anyone to miss out on it because they didn’t know.

The Interview Blogs were powered by the #ShareTheStory workflow and the blog interview team, including the Shapers that were virtually present at the f2f program.