by Catherine Clements, Account Executive, Red Havas
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the 2019 One Young World Summit in London, England. This annual event brings together more than 2,000 young leaders (ages 18-35) from over 190 countries, making it the second-largest gathering of diverse young people after the Olympics. The delegates represent global and national companies, NGOs, universities and other forward-thinking organizations and are joined by world leaders, acting as the One Young World Counselors.
Some of the Counselors this year included Meghan Markle, J.K. Rowling, Sir John Major, Ellie Goulding, Jane Goodall and Bob Geldof to name a few. The Summit is centered around the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs) and sheds light on some of today’s most pressing issues such as human rights, education, economic development, the climate crisis and healthcare. Throughout the conference, delegates and Counselors share the initiatives they’re leading to solve these global issues in their own communities.
There was so much great content backed into the three-and-a-half-day summit, but here are my top three takeaways:
The best recipe for meaningful business success = purpose + profit
Profit combined with purpose can unlock incredible power. For example, John Hanke, founder of Pokémon Go (and Google Maps), shared how what started as an effort to get his own children to play outside became one of the world’s most important games. Not only was this game successful financially, but the physical and emotional benefits on its players were remarkable. He received love letters from players across ages who shared stories of increased social interactions, weight loss and improved mental health. The game was making a positive difference in people’s lives—and gave the organization great stories to tell from a media and social perspective.
Expanding the definition of diversity & inclusion to include disability
When thinking about diversity and inclusion (D&I), race, gender and sexuality are usually first to come to mind. In a session led by disabilities rights activist Caroline Casey, she challenged us to expand how we think about D&I to include all people, like the 1.3 billion people across the world living with some form of disability, according to World Bank Group. Through the Valuable 500, she’s asking business leaders to put disabilities rights on the corporate agenda—both in the workforce and when designing products and services. As marketers, we need to create campaigns that appeal to this portion of the market, who together with their friends and family has $8 trillion in spending power. Examples of how to be inclusive could be when selecting brand imagery, brand influencers or in market testing. In fact, most companies are missing the boat—only 4 percent of businesses are focused on making offerings inclusive of disability, according to the Global Economics of Disability Report. From Tommy Hilfiger to Starbucks, here are a few examples of brands on the right track.
“No one is too small or too big to make a difference. Young leaders of tomorrow, you can’t wait till tomorrow.”
You’re never too [fill in the blank] to make a difference
During the summit, I had the opportunity to meet people from a variety of countries, backgrounds, industries, religions and more. It was incredibly inspiring to meet so many young people making change in their communities—from starting their own nonprofit to driving change within their own Fortune 500 company. I think the following quote nicely summarizes what I saw at the summit—individuals who didn’t limit themselves based on their age, experience or funds; instead, they saw a need, spoke up and created a plan. “No one is too small or too big to make a difference,” said Kumi Naidoo, secretary-general of Amnesty International. “Young leaders of tomorrow, you can’t wait till tomorrow.”
For more information on One Young World and how you can get involved, visit here.