Leading with Impact: IE Alumni Stories challenging the Status Quo
Three social impact-oriented professionals share their source of inspiration.
The IE Foundation, in collaboration with IE Global Alumni Relations, held the second edition in the series Talent Taking Care of Talent where MBA alumni recounted how their experience at IE Business School pushed them to find purpose and to drive change to help young talent.
Zaid Souqi, Gwendoline de Ganay, alumni from the International MBA, and Hetal Jani, a graduate of the dual International MBA with Digital Marketing, all work to empower communities and young talent from the vantage point of rights advocacy, talent cultivation and development and support services for minorities.
“Today I am doing something that I really love and that I am passionate about and it all started at IE University,” shared Zaid Souqi, the founder at the Orenda Tribe.
Souqi told the virtual audience that he had worked seven years in logistics and banking when he felt something was missing from his life. He decided to take some time away from his job and that was when IE came across his path.
“I was surrounded by people from many different nationalities and every single conversation that I had with IE students was eye-opening for me. It made me realize that I wanted to do something with impact, something with a purpose,” said Soqui, who graduated from the International MBA in 2015.
Today, the Orenda Tribe works using art and storytelling as tools to make changes in communities. They have collaborated with Save the Children International for advocacy in girls rights and with the German organization GIZ on sustainability issues. They create campaigns to make changes for three main topics: Sustainability, community and empowerment.
Executive VP of the IE Foundation Gonzalo Garland, who moderated the event, stressed that community building, positive social impact and the value of giving back are pillars of the foundation’s beliefs.
“The mission of the foundation is to invoke and create a community around IE, where members give resources to the foundation so the foundation can give back to the community and society at large,” mentioned Garland.
Gwendoline de Ganay, Community Engagement Lead at World Economic Forum, expressed how her experience with the Net Impact Club at IE and her classmates’ drive and proactiveness inspired her to work at community building for young leaders.
“It was very exciting to see students who use their free time to organize these kinds of events and bring different people together,” de Ganay said. “There was such a huge desire for people to drive impact through business and innovation.”
Today, de Ganay works with the Young Global Leaders community with leaders under 40 who have been successful in different sectors. She is in charge of gathering talent to bolster collaboration and accelerate their impact or for them to create new things together.
“We build communities and empower change-makers by giving them visibility to accelerate their impact.”
Gwendoline de Ganay, Community Engagement Lead at World Economic Forum
Before coming to IE, Hetal Jani, an alumna from the dual International MBA with a Master in Digital Marketing, had set up an academic support service company that provided assistance services for low-income and minority youth in New York City.
But, she said her experience with diversity at IE made her realize how much culture can impact the way people interact with academic systems. This inspired her to push change for the communities of young minorities she assists in New York. She decided to address these cultural differences in her support services so that American educators and systems are aware of how this can impact their students.
“I was always inspired and it was eye-opening to realize how much is going out in the world. How much culture actually impacts what we do and our world view,” said Jani, founder of Speakhire. “I noticed I needed to make a change and needed to do something more.”
The three alumni answered questions from the audience on topics like identifying and exploiting your talents, finding networking opportunities and advice for career success in social impact.
“The key is understanding what your vision is. The paths can change, and they will change 100%, so be very flexible and agile about what your choices are. Keep your vision because your vision is going to lead you to the social change or impact you are looking for,” Jani said.
The three professionals stressed how the diversity and intercultural interactions they found at IE are key factors that can empower young people.
“For me, IE was the foundation of what a diverse community can look like and how that can lead to empowerment for a lot of different young people so they can achieve career success as well”
Hetal Jani, founder at SPEAKHIRE