I was excited to see our five young people from Whittlesea head over to YMCA 175 last week where around 3000 people from 120 countries came together to celebrate the Y’s 175th birthday. Talk about diversity, talk about differences in experience, opinions and journeys, all at different moments in their life. I watched the live stream this week of some of the presentations made and feel truly inspired about the important conversations they are having. It’s this melting pot of rich diversity which will change the world. Kumi Naidoo, the Secretary General of Amnesty shared his concerns about key things such as inequality (which remains poor even after all the work we have done), the rise of Nationalistic leadership in many countries, xenophobia, the very real existence of climate change and mental ill health. He felt buoyed by the young people in the room and their commitment to the ‘we’ which Zaid Ahmed supported by reminding us that Gen Z is the first plural generation – focusing on the ‘we’ not the í’. It reminded me that we have to fix this together, and that young people can show us ways we never would have thought or considered. I am so excited about the Y’s commitment to intergenerational leadership.
Last week I was also blessed with catching up with some past work colleagues who really filled my cup. It had me contemplating the importance of spending time with people who inspire you, who challenge you and who you respect enormously. I realised I haven’t stopped and thanked those people for who they are and the energy they bring to me when I catch up with them, and so I have committed to try and let those people know the impact they have on me in some small way.
It also made me realise that it isn’t only about having these people in my life. You can read many articles and listen to many podcasts that suggests you should surround yourself with only those people. However in my life I have learnt the richness of not only having these people in my life but also surrounding myself with other personalities, other people with different ways of thinking and supporting those who have come into my life to support them through a difficult time. Businesses, coaches of sporting teams, friendship groups are all the more stronger for differences of opinion, different ways of handling situations and with different outlooks, abilities and backgrounds (in a word ‘diversity’). These groups also have individuals with their own challenges and own journeys they are on, and in that moment in time, might need your support.
My eldest son’s soccer team currently has two young coaches working with them. Both have very different personalities and expectations and I can see they do frustrate each other at times. But I wonder if they understand the richness of their partnership. Some of the boys can relate to one coach, whilst others prefer the other. There are some challenges in the team at present and their combined thinking as to the solution will only offer value to the whole of the team – I wonder if they can see this?
So today I leave you with two challenges – what are you doing to help improve the challenges we are facing as a society today? And what are you doing to really bring the youth voice to your governance?
Chief Experience Officer