Every fortnight, we hand over the blog to one of the London Shapers, to give you a flavour of what they do, how they think and what's really going on in our hearts and minds. Today's piece comes from Alvin Carpio, Chief Executive of The Fourth Group.
Welcome to the crew! Before joining the Global Shapers community, I really didn't know what to expect. Four years in, I can say you've got a lot to look forward to.
Being part of the community granted me a whole host of opportunities: spreading the word about a new concept my organisation coined called political entrepreneurship; attending the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos with 49 other Shapers who to this day inspire me, and meeting figures like Kofi Annan and Justin Trudeau, and; working with some of the world's most talented people on projects to help address pressing global issues like poverty.
Saying that Shapers can change your life is an understatement. But, in order to make to most of it, you've got to give as much as you receive. Being active and helping others will reward everyone.
Here are 7 things that you should know as a new Shaper. It's only a short list of things that I have learned, and hopefully will help you on your journey that's just begun. Think of it like an unofficial guidebook that an older baby-faced cousin sent to you.
1. You've joined thousands of young leaders from every corner of the world. Get to know them.
The best part about Shapers, hands-down, is the people in the community. You will meet start-up entrepreneurs with ambitions of disrupting business practice and tackling people's pain-points, nonprofit leaders who are working to cure diseases, and campaigners who are fighting inequality. This is your new peer group, and the shared wisdom is powerful. You also now have a soon-to-become friend wherever you travel. Whilst you will most likely get imposter syndrome (most likely on multiple occasions), remember that you're here for a reason, so share what you've learnt too. You're not alone, and what's rare about this group is that you have a bunch of people who not only want to hear the best of you, but will understand and support you when times are tough.
2. You have a whole new set of opportunities. Embrace them.
You now have the chance to go to attend regional conferences with fellow Shapers, go to China for the Champions Meeting, and attend Davos. How? You'll get notified about these opportunities in Shapers’ newsletter and from your Curators. My best tip? Don't think twice about applying - just do it! If you apply, and are active, and contribute, good things will happen.
3. There's another community called the Young Global Leaders. Reach out to them.
YGLs are kind of like the senior Global Shapers. They're a group of amazing people (predominantly over 30, but that's not a rule) who are doing cool stuff. In the past, Shapers in London have organised joint events with YGLs, and I have been lucky to have become friends with many. Some have acted as mentors and sounding boards. Say hi to them. You never know what might happen.
4. WEF have gone through a huge effort of building an online platform called TopLink. Use it.
TopLink is WEF's private online platform. Think of it like our very own exclusive LinkedIn. You can post updates and message members of WEF's multiple communities. Through TopLink I've been able to make new connections, aided by staff who helpfully facilitate these. Alternatively, there are a ton of Facebook groups set up by Shapers worldwide. These are a useful way, too, of connecting with new Shapers directly. All you have to do is search “Global Shapers [insert city]”.
5. You can get your ideas and voice heard on WEF's blog, Agenda. Write for them.
Agenda has a huge and quality readership. It's a platform to get your message across and give value and insights to readers. How do you write for Agenda? It's simple: for me, I had an idea and I pitched it. I then wrote it using the guidelines Agenda provides. Not all pitches will get picked, but it's always worth a shot. And if you don't get a yes the first time round, as the late Aaliyah said, "dust yourself off and try again". There are a bunch of professional writers, columnists, and book authors in the community too, so you could reach out to them for tips.
6. Some of the best things happen serendipitously outside of formal events, with fellow Shapers. Make them happen.
Whilst Shapers has much to offer in formal events and initiatives, such as advisory councils, annual retreats, and regional Shape conferences to name a few, amazing things happen outside too. One example is when a London Shaper graduate Adam Grodecki worked with Lex Chalat to develop a leadership programme for industry leaders to think of their impact on society and act accordingly. This became a fully fledged programme which is now training senior leaders in multiple sectors including the finance industry, government, and even the military. How? They found mutual interests and built on their relationship as Shapers to do something practical together.
7. You can make a real impact on the world through GS activities. Do it.
Every hub has a community initiative, and some of these get substantially backed by WEF through promotion, support, and sometimes funding. There are so many good projects that the best way to look for ones that are already out there is by using the Shapers official website. The main point here is that as a community we're committed to improving the state of the world, and together, we really can make a tangible difference, however small.
I hope I was able to provide some helpful insights. My final thought is that being a member of Shapers comes with responsibility too. It is one vehicle of exercising our place in the world as global citizens committed to improving the state of the world.
Other advice from other Shapers:
“I think a lot of Shapers get stuck in their hub and don't realise the full value of the network. Reaching out when you travel, applying for different events, being vocal in the FB group are all ways to connect...only 400 of 5000 or 6000 Shapers applied for Davos when I got accepted.”
“The network is what you make of it, and the most rewarding experience as a shaper is when you are driving projects and being active. Also, it seems obvious, but many people don’t apply for the range of opportunities. When you travel, it’s like having a friend in every country, so reach out.”