“Blow a kiss, fire a gun
We need someone to lean on
Blow a kiss, fire a gun
All we need is somebody to lean on”
The chorus of this 2015’s flavor of the season song might seem random and obscure (and of course cheesy) to a first time reader but for the 98 Generation 2015 Global Shapers, this song is a common thread that binds our five day sojourn in Ede and Rotterdam. Personally, every time I hear the song it throws me back to the morning, afternoon and evening reflection meetings in the remote enclave of the Netherlands where I made some bonds that hopefully would last a while.
Rewinding back to the day when I found out about my selection to the Global Shapers program and the subsequent kick off call solidified the time spent in making my application video. The application video was the first step in to taping in my (limited) creative side and getting out of my comfort zone. Being a Civil Engineer by education and trade, the thought of developing a storyboard, script, producing and editing a video was uncharted territory.
The three month long virtual phase was the genesis of making strong connections with my team members, who I think of as friends rather than colleagues now. Wading through the deep waters of different time zones, diverse working cultures and tight deadlines left me richer for the experience. Along the way, hearing personal stories of the senior executives gave me an insight in their growth stories. My conjecture was that personal and professional obstacles should be seen as a challenge rather than as impedance.
The Face-to-Face phase was brilliant. I went through a complete spectrum of emotions during the five odd days spent in what at first seemed a desolate nook of Netherlands called Ede but quickly turned in to one of the most memorable places that I have visited. The flexibility of the workflows gave me the opportunity to have insightful conversations and at the same time developing light hearted daily video blogs capturing both the quirky as well as the reflective moments of the days.
Goes without saying that the connections made with the AGLF members are extremely beneficial and a springboard to opportunities within the organization, which might have slipped under the radar otherwise. One of the highlights of my experience was running around the venue, streets and trains of Ede and Rotterdam all the while creating an introduction video within a short period of time with a few of the lot for the AGLF night. That fed in to me co-hosting the AGLF night, which was the perfect recipe for some good banter.
The ripple effect has been a combination of consolidating the opportunities as a result of the Global Shapers experience and maintaining the new friendships. I am using my unique knowledge of working in North American and Indian markets to help promote Global Excellence Centers (GEC) collaboration in Arcadis North America (ANA) projects, an involvement possible due to Global Shapers.
Finally, my biggest takeaway was that taking an unscripted approach to Global Shapers helped me script a truly memorable experience. Looking forward to #re-engaging with the Generation 2015 buds.
Hemant Chavan | Arcadis of New York | Generation 2015