Taking the LEAP


I felt giddy as I attached my video and pressed the submit button in the Global Shaper 2015 online application form. It was exciting but stressful at the same time. I was already imagining the places I’ll be travelling, the people I’ll meet, and the things I’ll learn if chosen. But the things that made me want to join were also the same things that made me feel worried.

On our first day at Akoestikum, Ede, I thought “How do I start a conversation with a room full of people I barely know? “What if I can’t fit in? It was intimidating but I gathered all my courage and energy and approached them. And that was the best decision I made that day! I had a great time and realized that all those unhealthy thoughts were just thoughts that hindered me to take action. There might have been few cultural differences but that is all to it. In the end, we were all the same- young, adventurous, excited and hungry to learn.

When we met the Executive Board members, they each shared inspiring words to live by. The message from Zack Smith, our recently retired Executive Board member, struck me the most. He said that when he is faced with opportunities he is afraid to take, he says to himself “I haven’t done it but I can give it a try!” There are a lot of opportunities that open before us but most of us most of the time are scared to take the leap. For me, sending my application to Global Shapers was an opportunity I took and successfully achieved.

After the program, more opportunities crossed my path. A few months after the GS program, I was invited, together with my colleagues, to set up a group comprised of young professionals in our local office which will act as a link between the management and the staff. The group called LEAP which stands for – Leading and Empowering Arcadians’ Potential – will also offer fresh ideas to further improve the company. This opportunity gave me a chance to create a ripple effect- to share to my local office Arcadis’ efforts to help everyone be the best as a person, and as a member of the company. To improve the quality of our lives and the lives of the people we work with.

The one week Global Shapers program was not enough to change me in an instant. But it gave me the right experience to think and to take a step to change and improve myself.

Maria Adelle K. Elma, Global Shapers 2015

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