Over the weekend of July 19 -21, I had the privilege of attending the G20 YEA (Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance) Summit in Sydney where over 400 international delegates came together to discuss solutions on issues such as youth unemployment, trade restrictions, access to capital for small businesses, education and technological innovation. The final result is the development of a communiqué that is then presented to the G20 and B20 Leaders for consideration.
The feeling that I came away with from this Summit was energetic, enlightened and full of optimism in a time where change is the only thing that is consistent. Our ability to embrace this and be part of a positive movement is our chance, as women, to contribute to moving things forward in business big and small. These are some of the key messages that I want to share with our ‘Nudist’ tribe.
Young people have a stronger value proposition than they have ever had in history
Being young and fresh-faced used to be a disadvantage when it came to the world of business. These days, it represents being in touch with technology, dynamically innovative and possessing an ability to disrupt old ways of thinking that we may or may not see in our more senior counterparts. Helen Clark, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (and the first woman to lead the organisation) received a standing ovation for her speech on UN Action on Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship and said it best when she highlighted that ‘young people are savvier about technology, more knowledgeable about the world around them, and more interconnected than any previous youth generation has been.’ This represents a great opportunity for young people to harness the power of their youth to accomplish great things.
Women will lead the way when it comes to the new economy
It was refreshing to hear Dimitris Tsigos, the President European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs comment that ‘The economy of yesterday was about hierarchies and domination. Today’s economy is about sustainability and collaboration. For this reason, women will be very powerful.’ true – as women, we bring a different style of leadership to the table that presents a great deal of value to boards, companies and teams. By taking immediate action to get a fair representation of women in the workplace and wider leadership groups, I believe our outcomes will become immediately stronger, whether it be in financial, ethical or other measures of success.
Companies that are socially engaged are the way of the future
The idea that the ultimate purpose of a business is to maximise shareholder value is now regarded as naïve, narrow-minded and archaic. Clifford Rosenberg, Managing Director for South East Asia & Australia New Zealand at LinkedIn shared some great statistics with us in this regard:
- 80% of employees would rather work for a socially engaged CEO
- Socially engaged companies are 58% more likely to attract and retain top talent
Just as organisations are demanding more of their employees, employees are demanding more of their organisations and this represents a refreshing shift in mindset that puts responsibility on powerful, profitable companies to give back to the community in which they are established.
So what does this mean for young, socially engaged women? It’s an unstoppable combination that’s formulated for success. And times like these are our chance to change the world and move things forward – one lesson at a time.