After four days of hearing from some of the world's most inspiring entrepreneurs, brave leaders and change-makers, One Young World 2018 came to a close in The Hague. The event brought together more than 1,800 young leaders betwen the ages of 18 and 30 from more than 190 countries to discuss solutions to the world's most pressing issues.
Coca-Cola sent a delegation of 80 of its young talents from around to world to take a seat at the table, inspire fresh thinking and generate new ideas. On the agenda were issues that this generation will face as business leaders of tomorrow, from climate change to the refugee crisis, youth unemployment, poverty and more.
Delegates heard from the world's leading companies, NGOs and key influencers including Bob Geldof, musician and activist; Akon, singer and social entrepreneur; Christiana Figueres, architect of the Paris Agreement; and Mark Tewksbury, one of the few openly gay Olympic champions in the world.
Ambitious Plans for Plastic
To discuss the pressing issue of fighting plastic pollution with the business leaders of tomorrow, Ulrike Sapiro, senior Director, Water Stewardship & Sustainable Agriculture, The
"The world has a plastic waste problem," Sapiro said. "We have a responsibility to help solve it"
Sapiro and Franses shared some of the work
They also stressed that
Part of a Global Movement
Coke's delegates returned home full of enthusiasm, energy and new friendships. Here, some of them share how they plan to turn their new-found inspiration into meaningful impact.
Katerina Saraki, IPM Manager and DME Controller, Greece, Cyprus and Malta: "Having spoken to delegates who attended last year's summit, I must admit my expectations were high. I can now safely say that this summit is one of my most memorable moments at Coke. I got the chance to connect with colleagues from other BUs as well as delegates from other international companies, young entrepreneurs and inspiring mentors."
Anastasia Rekshinskaya, FO Business Analyst, Russia: "I really enjoyed the outstanding speakers at the summit, all highly committed to making the world a better, safer, cleaner and brighter place. I was thrilled to listen to the impactful speech by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus, who called on young people everywhere to do their best to improve their communities and companies."
Alkistis Houliarakis, Communications Manager, Western Europe: “Attending the OYW summit this year was an inspirational, thought-provoking and at times emotional experience for me. Together with my fellow 80 system colleagues we got to hear from leaders, young and old(er), about their journeys of courage, determination and altruism, that led them to take action and tackle head-on some of the world’s most pressing issues. Not surprisingly, plastic and plastic pollution was a topic that came out throughout the conference, and this didn’t come without some searching questions from other delegates about our contribution as a company and whether we are doing enough. To me, and in terms of our World Without Waste strategy, this highlighted that we need to maintain our sharp focus on developing the right actions, partnerships and solutions for plastic waste, as well as effectively communicating the actions we are taking. And clearly, we need to continue working at this pace, across all levels of the business."
Brian Tomaschik, Global R&D, Scientist IV: “One Young World was the most impactful and transformative single event in my career. It connected me with others that I would never have met otherwise, but with whom my work is intertwined. Moving forward, we can now build on those new relationships. More importantly, OYW completely changed my views on leadership and how we all can make our Company and the world a better place. I left The Hague with ideas and passion, working the entire flight back to Atlanta. If I were allowed to only share one thing with others, it would be this: Don’t wait for direction from a leader. Be the leader.”
Kate Kundrat, Social Marketing Manager, North America Social Center: “Attending OYW opened my eyes to the adversities our global consumers face daily. But it was incredibly inspiring to hear stories of my peers overcoming obstacles to create true positive change in their communities. It motivated me to think about how I could use my skills, resources and network to help. It was also empowering to see our company’s presence at the Summit and their openness to have a dialogue about sustainability. As an international company, I’m proud that our leadership team is actively working to make the world a better place.”
Marie Combe d’Alma, HR Partner, CPS France: "What a great leadership experience attending the One Young World summit with 80 associates from the whole
Andrea Neyra, Peru/Bolivia KKAA Manager,
Holly McCormick, TI&S Foodservice COE Project Engineer, CCNA: “The trip to OYW was amazing. It was such an honor to be chosen to be among the young leaders of the world who are doing so much to change the world today to make a better future. Hearing from CEOs of global companies, politicians from around the globe, and celebrities about the work they are using their status to achieve was incredible. Even more touching and inspirational was hearing from the young leaders attending the conference right alongside me who were making huge impacts in their communities and countries to promote human rights and education, for instance. Their stories of hardships and struggles both with issues present here in the States and in other areas of the world and then how they pushed through to solve an issue or make a difference, small or large, was so impactful on me and inspirational to hear. This is a trip I will not forget – from the inspirational heart-wrenching stories to meeting and befriending other
Yoeri Verbaan, Junior Stability Specialist, R&D, EMEA: “Attending the One Young world was an amazing experience in every way. It was great to meet 80 young
Chris Goss, Corporate, Technical Writer & Content Manager, Global Product Integrity: “As young leaders we are very much engaged with the global community and the effect that international trends have on our business. It’s just so amazing to see how passionate our generation is about making the world a better place. I believe it’s one of those intangible assets that the company can really take advantage of.”
Ginger Hamilton, Customer Agreement Team, Financial Services Manager II, CCNA: “The biggest realization I had was how strong and powerful one person’s voice can be. Listening to the stories of other millennials who dreamed big and fearlessly set out to make their dreams become reality inspired me to never underestimate the power of my voice.”
Wendy Zhang, Product Development Scientist, Global Category Development, Global R&D Innovation: “I was very honored and humbled to be part of the
Adam LaHaie, Senior Manager, Planning – Kollective, CCNA: One Young World was truly a transformative experience. A rare opportunity for young leaders across the
Bruno Lorences, Performance Management & Planning Analyst, GB&I, WEBU: “Has been a great opportunity to think out of the box – being inspired by One Young World Counsellors’ approach to global issues, getting to know key concerns among people with completely different backgrounds and broadening my international network by meeting colleagues from all over the world. I am coming back home with new friends and excited about making a positive contribution in my community.”
Tuuli Turunen, Franchise Marketing, Finland, WEBU: “Two weeks ago my life changed. I became a one young world ambassador. It was truly an amazing experience in the Hague, Netherlands. During the summit we learned a lot of new things regarding topics like sustainability, poverty alleviation, peace and politics. Now our KO system delegates are part of 10 000 people community with one shared vision "to make the world a better place." After the summit we are full of energy and inspiration to take these ideas to our business and to our communities. We are committed to make a change and we know we are not too young to lead and The Company is not too old to learn.”
Joao Victor Galhego, Strategic Initiatives Specialist, Brazil: “Without a doubt I can say that the One Young World Summit was one of most impactful and inspiring events I’ve ever attended. Four intense days with close to 2,000 people from different countries, beliefs and backgrounds all united by one common thread, one common dream: making this world a better place. We came across with some remarkable examples of how each and everyone of us are empowered to be leaders of change no matter the circumstances. I've much to thank The
Ighor Melo, Shopper Marketing, Brazil: "It was a fantastic experience but more than that it was a wake up call for both me as a person and as part of The
Dinh Huy Nguyen, Regional Trade Marketing Manager, Vietnam: “Dare to take challenges and change my world!”
Phila Dlamini, Process Quality Chemist, Swaziland, CPS: "The OYW summit has been the best place to get a glimpse of the leaders of the future. There's hope. Companies and countries alike, can rest assured that this generation has the leaders we have been yearning for. Coca Cola, in particular, can be proud of this current crop of young people. Another 100 years is secured."