Networking, Speaking, and Expectations at One Young World

Ashleigh Rolle

One Young World

One Young World (OYW) is an organization that brings together hundreds of the youngest and brightest minds from around the world, from innovative counsellors like Jack Dorsey to Bill Clinton.

For anyone attending One Young World for the first time, the environment can be intense and slightly overwhelming. We realize that it would be wonderful to get the insight from a few key players from the One Young World arena. This article is to be used as a basic guide in making the most out of One Young World, where a collection of views have been taken from some of the top aspiring young professionals  who have been involved in OYW.

Maintaining Networks with Maria Fernanda Gil – One Young World Ambassador (Mexico)

How do you leverage your One Young World network?

To leverage a network you first need to add value to it. Some ways to add value are by establishing relationships with the people that are in OYW and by adding opportunities or finding ways to connect the existing ones networks.

How did you use One Young World to build off of new initiatives?

When you meet amazing young leaders (like the ones that are part of OYW) every person you meet opens a door of possibilities and it is up to us to make the most of each connection. It is in us to start building something great with the people we meet.

Tip: Keep all the business cards you collect and try to upload them to an excel spreadsheet.

How do you maintain friends through One Young World?

By being really active in social media and taking advantage of tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, and Trello. It also helps that most of my friends work on the same projects as I do, so it’s great when you can have people in the same network that you really identify with. Always find value for others and connect them with other young professionals – Karma is a great investment.

Ashleigh at One Young World

Speaking at One Young World with Marvin J Mathew – One Young World Ambassador (USA)

You spoke at the OYW summit, what was the speech application process like?

The 2012 summit process was nerve racking, but quick. Once I applied they narrowed down the candidate pool quickly and Skype interviews and speech writing practice happened in a matter of no time.

I was abroad in Rome before OYW so that’s where I was preparing for my speech. I did a lot of work on it, but nothing can really prepare you to speak in front of the amount of people who speak so many languages and come from so many diverse backgrounds. When I got to OYW in Pittsburgh we did a run through before I gave my speech. The OYW staff and the consultants they hired for this were phenomenal help. It’s a bold move to speak to the world, but once it’s over it is something you will never regret.

So what advice would you give someone that wants to give a speech at this year’s One Young World?

Pick your topic wisely and make sure it’s a field you’ve either worked in or are feel very passionate about. When you write your speech, write it with passion. Be bold; don’t just write a speech and speak it, put those words to life and breathe life into them. Be concise and be open to feedback from everyone around you.

What Does OYW Look for in Candidates with Christopher Skillicorn – Former One Young World Community Liason

Hey Skilly since you’ve been working for the One Young World Office, what does One Young World actually look for in an ambassador?

I believe they look for a can-do attitude, a mix of optimism, pragmatism, and the right dose of realism. It’s nice to read in someone’s profile, for example, that “I’m going to build a school for all the blind children in my country and they’ll go there for free”, they will build a school for the blind, but it’s a lot nicer if they back their plans up with an actionable framework, or else its nothing but pie-in-the-sky thinking.

We want do-ers more than talkers, and of course, someone who is an open-minded towards other cultures, since you’ll be spending of time with lots of many different people where the only guarantee of similarity is age. OYW ambassadors are far from a homogenous group, so don’t expect to be hanging out with people who are exactly like yourself.

What final advice would you give to delegates attending One Young World for the first time?

Keep an open mind, be prepared for the fact that some of the plenaries might not be top of your list of interest (again, not all delegates are the same, so there’ll definitely be something for everyone, but less likely everyone for something), but listen through them anyway as you never know what you might learn. Try and learn some greetings or phrases in other languages for the people you’ll meet. The summit has to have a lingua franca to work, but the massive opportunities for cultural exchange are one of the great things about OYW, so don’t miss out.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t manage to snap a picture with a counsellor – I worked on OYW for almost 3 years and have zero selfies with any of them to show for it. Be sure to take lots with your fellow delegates though as that’s where the proper memories are.