Global Shapers – So much more than just a 5 day trip

04 February 2016

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When I saw my name on the list, I was so pleased to hear I had been selected for Global Shapers program! The first thing I thought about was the face to face meeting, but the more I thought about it the more I realized the importance of the outcome of the whole experience and how important it was to create the ‘ripple effect.’

If you don’t know much about the program, the 100 people selected go through 3 distinct phases – the virtual phase, the face-to-face meeting and the follow on – a.k.a the ‘ripple effect.’

One of the activities we undertake during the virtual phase is getting touch with members of the Arcadis Global Leadership Forum (AGLF) The AGLF is a platform for senior leaders in the company to connect, collaborate and communicate with each other, so as Global Shapers we were very privileged and fortunate to be able to work with the AGLF and share knowledge and ideas. In addition to working with the AGLF in our virtual phase teams, each Global Shaper was assigned their own AGLF ‘buddy’ and the idea was to share our personal stories with each other – including our career to date, and our goals for the future.

My assigned buddy was Dr. Simon Randall – Arcadis’ Global Lead in Environmental Planning. For me as a Quantity Surveyor working in commercial buildings this was someone working in an area of Arcadis I had never experienced before so it was really interesting to connect and learn about a different part of the company!

The face-to-face part of the program ultimately culminated in us spending an evening networking and presenting out ideas to the AGLF. I find networking a little daunting at the best of times – so to spend an evening chatting with the most senior members of Arcadis from around the world in Rotterdam was a scary prospect! However, as the evening progressed I felt more and more relaxed and ended up having some really interesting conversations!

As I mentioned at the start, I was very conscious of ensuring that Global Shapers was more than just a 5 day trip to Holland, so I was keen to explore any opportunities to reconnect with the AGLF following Global Shapers, and I am happy to report that after speaking to some of the UK AGLF members, they came to present to me and my colleagues at my office to share their insights!

Of course, at the AGLF I was able to meet my buddy Simon in person, and we ended up having a great conversation exchanging ideas and discussing life at Arcadis. I had always considered having a mentor – (someone who gives career advice and general guidance, in a role different from your own in order to give a bit of outside perspective, but someone who understands the company) and as we got on so well I asked if Simon would consider being mine – which he was happy to do!

Schermafbeelding 2016-02-04 om 16.08.42We catch up every month and I can chat about my career, ask for guidance and share any ideas – which for me is a great outcome of Global Shapers. It was also an unlikely one, as I didn’t expect to find a mentor from taking part in the program – but an excellent way to establish the ‘ripple effect’ through knowledge and collaboration.

Suzanne Gray – Glasgow, United Kingdom