Parisa Shahbaz, 1 March, 2018
When people hear that I have both Civil & Environmental Engineering and Dance degrees, they often say, “Wow… what a combo. How’s that workin’ out for ya?” Honestly, after graduation I was a bit scattered. But, I was fortunate to find a company that values my breadth of expertise and provides unparalleled opportunities for growth and development. That company is Arcadis, and those opportunities were generated through the Global Shapers program.
As a member of the Global Shapers: Generation 2017, I worked with an incredibly diverse group of early career Arcadians from around the globe. Our goal is to shape the way Arcadis will operate in the future by fostering a sustainable mindset within Arcadis and identifying digital tools that add value to our work. My engineering knowledge was vital for understanding the technical aspects of the tasks, and my dance training allowed me to communicate our ideas to Arcadis senior leadership in effective, engaging, and novel ways.
In the #GrandFinale workflow, I helped orchestrate a full-day extravaganza involving costumes, lighting, set design, multimedia presentations, and interactive breakout sessions that educated senior leadership on the demand for digital and sustainable solutions and the ways that Arcadis can meet this demand. Throughout the process, I was surprised and delighted at how useful my dance production skills were for presenting engineering concepts and problem resolution. I felt elated to be part of an organization that not only improves quality of life through technical expertise, but also values creative representations of innovative thinking.
My takeaway from the Global Shapers program was that there truly is no limit to what I can achieve as an Arcadian. Opportunities abound to utilize multifarious skills on projects around the world. The friendships that I made with fellow Shapers and senior leaders enhanced my knowledge of all Arcadis does, gave insight on how I can best contribute to our company’s goals, and will continue to provide opportunities throughout my career. Since returning home to Chicago, I have been creating a Ripple Effect by sharing what we achieved during the program with my local colleagues and continuing to provide insight to Arcadis leadership. Most rewardingly, I have also been encouraging and mentoring future Global Shapers applicants to keep the momentum of this amazing program growing within Arcadis.