Let me tell you about my Global Shapers experience in 2016. I am going to go ahead and do a Q&A with myself (pretty sad, I know!). By the way – I am Mohammed Al-Sharifi, an Arcadian working as a Project Manager in London.
What was the highlight from your Global Shapers experience?
No words can describe the profound experience I had on the Global Shapers face to face programme in Doha Qatar. Never in my life have I had the opportunity to meet, interact and work with so many people from around the globe all in one place, working towards the same goal. I met Arcadians from Canada, Brasil, India, Malaysia, Chile, America and the list goes on. We were given a booklet that listed the 100 global shapers on the programme and despite my determination each day to tick off everyone I met, hoping to complete the list, unfortunately I was not able to personally meet to all the amazing people on the programme.
Did you do anything fun?
Yes, we went sight-seeing around the beautiful city of Doha in Qatar and visited a few museums – we got sun burnt along the way, but fun nonetheless. If you ever visit Qatar, one thing you’ll notice is that it balances well between preserving the heritage and traditions while at the same time looking like a thriving modern city. We also went on a desert safari (I think that’s what it is called) which was fun and pretty dangerous – the driver was going up and down steep desert hills at high speed *while talking to his friend on his mobile!!*. We also had dinner on a boat which was so cool.
Did you actually do some work?
They say, you will never work another day in your life if you do what you love. That was a quote I heard from the Head of HR for one of our largest clients in Qatar, Ashghal (Government body for public infrastructure projects) – his name was Mostafa Azzam, really cool guy. Anyway, back to the question. Yes, we did. We had things called workflows which are essentially different groups you can choose from, working on specific outputs. I chose to work on the mentoring workflow. This was about producing a mentoring programme framework for both our client Ashghal and Arcadis. We called it Horizons (I chose the name – yay!). We presented it to Arcadis’ UK CEO and Head of HR after we came back to the UK and they we really pleased with the framework we produced.
Did you learn any new insights?
I love quotes. One of the best quotes I heard was from Brian Riddick (who was a senior leader from Arcadis who joined the programme), he said “I learnt so much [from my clients] by keeping my mouth shut” – essentially emphasising the importance of active listening.
What happened when you returned to your region?
We went through something called a ripple effect. Basically, implementing all the good stuff we learnt and planned during the face-to-face programme. This included presenting the output for the Horizons mentoring programme to the UK CEO and UK Leadership Team. I was even selected to talk about innovation to our then new CEO, Peter Oosterveer. I have kept in touch with several members of Arcadis’ senior leadership team.
Any last words?