When I applied to the Global Shapers program, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Sure, I had heard about the experiences of past Shapers, but I didn’t yet know the impact it would have on my own personal growth. When the time came for applying, I dove in head first for the pre-application “Crack The Safe Challenge”, which at the time I wouldn’t have guessed would be a fully accurate representation of the Shapers experience, more accurate than any of the stories I had heard from the Alumnus.
First, being located in California I found myself waking up at 5am to work on the challenges as soon as they came out (thanks, Pacific Standard Time!). Next I found myself working on clever puzzles and challenges, teaming up with Arcadians around the world on Twitter and Instagram, all of us working in union for a common goal – cracking the safe! Unfortunately, I was not one of the lucky few to crack the safe in time, but I was eager to move onto the actual application phase. My spirit was still high despite the circumstances. If I was that inspired solving the pre-application challenge, how inspired could I be in the actual program? I had to know!
I carefully crafted my application, making a storyboard for my video, ultimately creating a short film that grew more complex as the drafts multiplied. I became so engulfed with my desire to succeed that I ended up creating a disaster of a video that I won’t show even my closest friends from the program. I realized that I was making content that I only thought would be accepted, not something that rang true to my intentions.
I took a lesson from the pre-application challenge, where every puzzle could be solved swiftly if you simplified the problem and solved it humbly. At the last minute, I tossed out my original application and resorted to my strengths, animating a digital model and creating dialogue that was true to my passion, not only creating content that “might” please the deciding committee. Only then did I create something that truly showcased my desire to grow as a professional in this company.
When I was accepted, I was elated! We dove straight in to the Virtual Phase, teaming up with roughly 6 other Global Shapers from around the world, much like the ones I had joined forces with on Social Media during the pre-application phase, waking up at 5am and all included! I found myself in a team of strong young leaders eager to take on the challenges we were presented. Together we prepared for the Face to Face, working on weekly challenges growing ever more eager for the face to face!
Words cannot describe the Face-To-Face meeting. It was interesting, exciting, exhausting, challenging, did I mention exhausting? I found myself awake until the sun rose every night, both working on the tasks of my work session group and connecting with other Shapers, bonding over our seemingly parallel strengths, weaknesses, goals, aspirations, learning from each other’s perspectives in ways I never would have expected. Of course, the bar located in our workshop might have played a role in our bonding, but I digress…
During our work sessions, I primarily worked with the Marketing team, and focused my time on the ripple effect, preparing a presentation that would circulate around all Arcadis offices, that was presented this past year by the Gen 15 shapers. I felt that I had an extremely well rounded experience by working between all of the GS work sessions and curating an overall image of the program through our deliverables – the Ripple Effect presentation.
Global Shapers taught to use my strengths to overcome my weaknesses, and to challenge my expectations to accomplish goals that seemed impossible to achieve in a short amount of time. I came together with 97 other highly driven professionals working in one of the most inspiring think-tanks our company has to offer.
The effect Global Shapers has on myself and those around me is endless, as I know I will be using the skills I learned there in my day to day work, hopefully influencing young leaders around me to step up and take charge in their own challenges, ultimately influencing those around them. All in all, attending Global Shapers has been one of my proudest professional accomplishments, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Generation 2016!