My name is Raph Bogaert, I’m an engineer from Belgium. I’m honored that I can write down some words about the exciting journey we’re having right now with our team towards the face-to-face program!
On the kick-off call it became very clear to me that the 99 other Arcadians were as excited as me to participate in this program. The organizing team gave a very enthusiastic and interactive introduction about the program and announced the location of this year’s meeting: The Netherlands.
I have to admit that a part of me hoped a more exotic location. Somewhere far from home, why not even the other side of the world! You don’t apply for this program if you don’t have some wanderlust. Unfortunately The Netherlands is at the other side of the world for the people who live at the other side of the world. So instead of visiting a country in another continent, I take this opportunity to introduce people from all over the world to the Netherlands and its culture and give them a warm welcome!
The challenge: ENGAGEMENT
The second – and more important – announcement they made, is this year’s topic: ENGAGEMENT. When I first heard about this topic, I didn’t know exactly what to think of it. It’s not something you can measure or touch, in engagement one plus one does not equal two and if you ask 5 random people to give a definition, you will have 5 completely different definitions.
Everything in the Global Shapers program is a challenge. Some of them are individual challenges, but most of them depend on teamwork and global collaboration. We’re divided in 15 teams and each team has Shapers from all over the world. It is very interesting to have different perspectives on the assignments. And it creates a new challenge: organizing meetings with the huge time difference. For some of us it’s 7 AM in the weekend and for others it’s 10 PM on a weekday. Talk about engagement!
Team Sparta Sally
I have the privilege to be a member of the Sparta Sally team! We come from the USA, London, Dubai, The Philippines, India and Belgium. And our team ambassador – a global leader of ARCADIS to assist us – comes from France, lived in numerous other countries and ended up in The Netherlands.
We had some very interesting brainstorm sessions about the ARCADIS passion and engagement and we’re starting to understand what it means. The assignments that we have to make in the virtual phase, are very good guidelines in the thinking process.
Arcadis Global Leaderhip Forum
Another very interesting part of the virtual phase is connecting with members from the AGLF. We had Skypemeetings (individual and as a team) with some of the global leaders about their story, their thoughts on our passion, engagement, our personal development etcetera. The value of the opportunity for young professionals to get coaching from global managers cannot be underestimated. And to top that, we will all meet them in Rotterdam!
As some final words, I would like to say that I’m really looking forward to meet my team members, all the other Shapers, the organizing team, some of the GS alumni and the AGLF members. Team Sparta Sally is ready!