Nadia Soussi took an Uber to and from the first two days of her summer internship at The Coca-Cola Company. During the rides, she offered bottles of Coca-Cola to the drivers.
“They see the headquarters from the outside, but they had never had anything from inside," she explains. "I wanted to take something to share with them.”
For Nadia, sharing a Coca-Cola means sharing part of something life changing.
In 2013, several years before her Coca-Cola internship, Soussi became a Coca-Cola Middle East North Africa (MENA) Scholar. A partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and the U.S. State Department, the MENA scholarship is a fully funded, month-long business program at Indiana University’s prestigious Kelley School of Business for students from the Middle East, North Africa, and Near Asia. Through the program, she had the opportunity to work with 100 other emerging leaders – now her close friends – to collaboratively develop business concepts.
Life After MENA
Drawing from what she learned during the scholarship's entrepreneurship courses, Soussi returned to her home in Tunisia and wrote a business plan for her brother's design co-working space in the city of Sousse (pictured above). Nadia credits the MENA Scholarship program with providing her the tools to support the entreprenurial project, and she values Coca-Cola’s continued support of her efforts.
Upon hearing of Soussi's ongoing entrepreneurial commitment, The Coca-Cola Company, the U.S. State Department, and Indiana University invited her to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Morocco. Speaking with a fellow attendee, she learned of an opportunity to intern with the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth – an organization dedicated to connecting North Texas to the rest of the world.
As an intern at the World Affairs Council, Soussi contributed to the development of the council’s online marketing strategy and interacted with council members, board members, ambassadors and diplomats. She learned that large-scale projects require the support of governmental structures to be sustainable. She also realized that she wanted to help forge the governmental relations to enable companies to succeed.
A Return to Coca-Cola
Throughout her time in Texas, Soussi remained passionate about Coca-Cola’s work, and sought ways to nurture others’ connections to the company. As her World Affairs Council work came to a close, she applied for an International Government Relations internship with Coca-Cola’s Public Affairs and Communications team, which would enable her to work with the very department that had created the MENA scholarship.
Soussi hoped to continue learning how multinational companies like Coca-Cola are helping to build sustainable communities around the world.
“Since I had the privilege of being a Coca-Cola MENA Scholar, I know that when Coca-Cola does something, they really want to benefit the community," she says. "I witnessed that firsthand, and it completely changed my life.”
Everyday that Soussi walked into the World Affairs Council building, the receptionists would ask if she had heard back from Coca-Cola about her internship. When she received an offfer, she shared the good news by bringing them cans of Coca-Cola.
Hannah Nemer is a summer intern at The Coca-Cola Company.