One Young World (OYW) is a not-for-profit organization that convenes some of the brightest young people from around the world and inspires them to make lasting connections and create positive change. OYW serves as a springboard for young leaders to tackle global issues such as education, human rights, environment, health and poverty alleviation.
For the past five years, Coca-Cola has sent a group of young leaders from around the world to represent the system at the annual OYW Summit.
“Our young leaders should consider and push for participation in OYW,” said Christina Ambrose, who leads Coca-Cola’s relationships with OYW. “It is a great catalyst to not only develop yourself, but also gain knowledge to help develop The Coca-Cola Company as the best place to work.”
In 2017, Coca-Cola sent 49 delegates to the OYW Summit in Bogotá, Colombia. After the summit, the delegates become “OYW Ambassadors” who continue to work towards the discussed goals by empowering change within their organizations and communities.
There are many examples of implementation in the Coca-Cola system following the summit. From a waste collection system proposal by Frank Perez, process lead in Costa Rica, to a new networking and ideation program for Millennials in Japan by Emily Huang, assistant manager, coffee category, Knowledge & Insights, and Maoko Och, manager, iMarketing, the 2017 Coca-Cola OYW Ambassadors are hard at work leading change in their communities.
Jesse Breidinger, senior manager, Coca-Cola North America Foodservice & On-Premise Strategic Solutions, embodies a key theme from last year’s summit, poverty alleviation, following her experience at OYW. Immediately after last year's summit, she traveled to Puerto Rico to assist in the American Red Cross’s disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Irma. Breidinger delivered food and water to the most secluded areas of the island nation.
After returning home to the U.S., Breidinger worked with her fellow OYW Coca-Cola Ambassadors to present opportunities to Coca-Cola senior leadership, including an idea around dedicated time off to employees to better support their efforts to give back to their local communities.
Beginning in April this year, U.S.-based Coca-Cola employees are now eligible for eight hours of paid time off per calendar year to volunteer per the company’s new Volunteer Guidelines and Volunteer Time Off Policy.
“I continue to work with my 2017 OYW delegation to drive influence and change throughout Coca-Cola in other areas of opportunity, including sustainability, education/talent development, disability in the workplace, and equality in general. My voice is heard and has allowed me to be an advocate for positive change,” Breidinger said.
Allison Cox, senior manager, Coca-Cola North America Foodservice & On-Premise Strategic Planning, now serves as the workplace lead for Coca-Cola’s newest Business Resource Group, “This-Ability," which focuses on disability insights and serves as an advocate for a winning and inclusive culture where inclusion is prioritized and diversity is respected, both inside the company and in the marketplace.
In May 2018, This-Ability collaborated with One Young World and hosted a signature event to raise awareness on disability inclusion. Coca-Cola welcomed regional OYW Ambassadors and other community leaders, including The Shepherd Center, to share experiences and to discuss the importance of disability inclusion in the workplace and in the community.
Following the This-Ability Signature event, Ambrose, Breidinger and Cox, Coca-Cola’s 2018 OYW Planning Team, hosted Atlanta’s first OYW Meet-Up, at Coca-Cola headquarters, to continue the conversation on disability inclusion.
OYW's impact on the Coca-Cola system is evident in the dedication of the OYW Ambassadors. Looking ahead to the 2018 summit, Coca-Cola will continue to support this important initiative and nurture the positive changes it ignites in both the company and the communities it serves.