“Oh YOU’RE Jenn.”
I’ve heard this a lot in my life, but never 21 times in a row in a small room half way across the world. It was the Monday morning of the AGLF (Arcadis Global Leadership Forum) meeting in Berlin, Germany. The conference had started that morning, of which I showed up fashionable late after wondering the streets of Berlin with my suitcase looking for the hotel (I missed your speech Neil, sorry about that). I had the honor to be the Global Shaper Alumni, one of six invited to attend the entirety of the conference and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
First up was the Multiplier workshop. This is where I met the group I would be working closely with for the next couple of days; the Strategic Environmental Consulting Group (SEC), also referred to as the Best Group. Working in Human Resources for Arcadis, I was really interested in hearing what the Multiplier workshop was all about- which was around identify characteristics that multiply and diminish those around us. We learned that there are common diminishing traits- such as being a “pace-setter” for example, which I definitely was guilty of. Having organized a few assignments before the conference, my name was known in
my group and it definitely helped my voice be heard.
The afternoon took a lighthearted turn as we all split up into even smaller groups to volunteer somewhere in Berlin and improve the quality of life. Most groups worked at refugee camps, painted, or fixed bikes, but I think Arcadis wanted to see if I could “tread water” in tough times and sent me and my small group to a teenage lifeguard class at a lake! The abridged version is that I learned some German commands, reali
zed I’m terrible at swimming, and that the best part about a lake is actually on a river cruise boat. It was amazing to see the other Global Shaper Alumni that came back to volunteer with us, and if you had stepped back for a moment, the interactions between the senior leaders and Global Shaper Alumni was a perfect example of just how great the people of Arcadis are!
The next couple days were a lot of work and a lot of questions. One thing that we identified was that in order to develop the best strategy and vision for Arcadis we really need to break things apart and ask difficult questions. I think everyone in the SEC group can say that a climactic moment for us was when the discussion was so defined and detailed that Jack simply stated “You have completely lost me for the past 30 minutes!” (If a country leader was lost can you imagine where I was during this point?!) Everyone in this company is still learning, and we challenge each other to learn more, explain more, and improve more.
I may be overly enthusiastic (which, we learned can be a diminishing trait!) however every Arcadian I worked with has a passion that, in my opinion, makes them stand out and be the best. I was glad to stay a few days after the conference and spend more time face-to-face with the AGLF team, because as my Global Shapers of 2015 Recruiting and Onboarding group put it: “A friendly face and a personal interaction sets the stage for a ripple effect where collaboration comes naturally.”
With that I took a few “homework” assignments back to North America with me, particularly with some new vision and insight around client focus and collaboration to bring to my HR role. Overall it was such a fun and incredible opportunity, and if you ever get a chance to go to Berlin I highly suggest a visit!
Mit freundlichen Grüssen,