“Global Shapers 2016 – a life changing experience”

I never thought that Global Shapers would be a life changing experience but indeed it was. Arguably the best week of my life and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to represent Middle East at a global event. As a wise man once said and I quote: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for its not the same river and he is not the same man” – Heraclitus.


It all started in May 2016 when we had to submit the application for the program and luckily I got selected from the Middle East region. The feeling was beautiful, something that can’t be expressed in words. I had heard a lot about program from our senior management, as some of them even called it an elite program, which excited me more.


The uniqueness about this year’s program was ‘Client Focus’. We were lucky enough to collaborate with one of our biggest clients in the Middle East: Ashghal, the Public Works Authority in Qatar. The collaboration was not only to strengthen our existing relationship, but also to learn more about providing sustainable solutions. The Global Shapers program began with a virtual phase in which 107 Global Shapers were divided into fourteen teams, which led us towards developing tools for Arcadis and Ashghal during the face-to-face program.


On our first day of the face to face program, we all sat together in a circle rather than in periodic order. This was to show that everybody here is equal and no one is superior to another, which helped us to share our ideas openly with each other. Soon after that, we started working side by side on a global scale to develop three tools: the Client Passport, Mentor Program and Social Media Success Stories.


It was so amazing to globally collaborate. Global Shapers from different cultures, regions, backgrounds and professions working together in achieving a single goal; to build a tool that doesn’t last for one year, but for the coming future. It was time to create a legacy. After the hard work of four days, it was time to present the tools to the senior management of Arcadis and Ashghal. Believe me, we were relieved in getting so many positive responses from the senior leadership of both companies.


Then came the toughest part of the program: saying goodbye. There were smiles, hugs and tears everywhere, but our goodbyes were more focused on meeting again. Global Shapers is a family, rather than bunch of colleagues working across the globe.




The Global Shapers program is not only about working ridiculous number of hours to deliver the tools on time, but also about learning more about the business and how we can contribute in helping Arcadis grow.


It was the best program I have ever been into, and surely there were so many things I took out from the program. However, the highlight would be the connections I made, not only with the Global Shapers but also with senior management and the Arcadis Executive Board, which I believe is very important for the career growth. More to it, seeing the Global Shapers collaborating made me realise that we can achieve so much success by working together and providing the best solutions to our clients.


It has been three weeks after the program and we have already started creating a ripple effect by doing presentations in our regions and letting people know about the program, our experience and the tools we built in Doha and how to implement them within Arcadis to get the best results TOGETHER.


I would highly recommend everyone to be part of Global Shapers and do your part to shape the world. Once a Global Shaper, always a Global Shaper.


Salman Waqar

Global Shaper: Generation 2016

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