One Young World 2022

5 questions for Grit on the One Young World summit

The annual One Young World (OYW) summit brings together thousands of young leaders from over 200 countries who are working to accelerate social and environmental impact across sectors, industries, and organisations. Deloitte has a long-standing partnership with One Young World; this year we sent 70 global delegates and scholars and sponsored the opening ceremony. The delegates had four days of workshops, speeches and panels as well as the opportunity to be counselled by influential business, political and humanitarian leaders, such as former UN secretary generals and world presidents. Not only were delegates there to form connections with future leaders of the world but also with the young leaders of today. This year, Grit Zwingenberger was selected to represent Deloitte Switzerland, attending alongside a regional Deloitte delegation from North-South Europe (NSE). She has returned with a first-hand account of her experience.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what it means to be this year’s OYW representative.

It’s been a huge privilege and honour and I am endlessly grateful to have been given this opportunity. I wouldn’t have imagined this kind of experience when I first started at Deloitte approximately one year ago, initially as a trainee in the Human Capital Consulting team. There I have led the development of our climate and sustainability offering by tackling the topic from a human, behavioural and change management point of view. I work part-time, as I’m finishing a Master's degree in Psychology. During my time at Deloitte, I’ve led both a WorldClimate and an inclusion initiative for our LGBTQIA+ community. This led to the opportunity to start a secondment in the NSE Purpose team. I will be working on connecting the day-to-day lives of our people with our Purpose at Deloitte – making an impact that matters for clients, our people and society – with particular focus on inclusion initiatives, such as the Future Female Innovators programme as well as neurodiversity and sustainable delivery across NSE geographies.

I don’t really call one place home as I grew up with a Russian/Armenian mother and German father, and we lived in many different countries (UAE, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Sweden just to name a few) and also travelled to over 60 countries during my childhood. Deloitte being so international is one of the many reasons I have always felt so at ease here! As you can imagine, being an ambassador for the extremely international One Young World community is a dream come true for me.

Grit, this year’s One Young World delegate from Deloitte Switzerland

2. What did you enjoy most about your One Young World experience?

I was most inspired by having successful world leaders stand in front of us and empower us to go out and change the world, while sharing their own personal stories of determination and resilience. However, for me and I think for most of us the most extraordinary part was simply being there and feeling the energy. I was in a room with 2000+ passionate, motivated young people from all over the world, hearing what they had to say and – more importantly – hearing what kind of impact they are making. We exchanged ideas and actions, visionary and thought-provoking but also very specific and actionable. We journeyed through a week of highly emotional experiences together. We learned together, cried together and celebrated together. I think that communal experience, for all of us, was life changing.

3. What were some of your key learnings from the speeches and workshops?

There were so many and by the end of the week I was completely overwhelmed! The delegate speeches were personal and equally heart-breaking and impressive. Young people from the poorest regions of the world fleeing war, climate disasters, living in refugee camps, suffering from injustice and inequality, enduring abuse etc. – all using their experiences to bring about impactful changes in their communities. Their efforts led to sustainable solutions, technological innovations, peace foundations and quality education acceleration. While this all feels very far removed from the privileged Swiss bubble that I live in, we also spoke about ethical leadership and the highly influential role of organisations such as Deloitte’s in tackling these challenges. Businesses are powerful agents of change, and we have to dismantle the idea that purpose and profit are mutually exclusive. We must ask ourselves whether the world is a better place because our organisation is in it and whether we’re doing everything we can both inside and outside of our organisation.

4. What are some of the ways Deloitte is making an impact on society?

Thankfully we have so many opportunities here to make an impact and – although I believe that everyone must find their own personal calling that matches their experiences and skills – there are a few initiatives and opportunities in our firm that I would particularly love to share and encourage all our employees to participate in, which we also discussed at the pre-summit event with our Global Deputy CEO and Chief People & Purpose Officer Michelle Parmelee:

  • Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that promote allyship towards marginalised groups, such as Proud@Deloitte (our LGBTQIA+ network), our multi-cultural network and our many women’s networks.
    Diversity is not only about gender; it also encompasses LGBTQIA+ communities, ethnicity, neurodiversity and people with disabilities. We have to educate ourselves, speak up and most importantly listen. Talent is equally distributed around the world but opportunities are not. Deloitte’s ALL IN inclusion strategy offers countless ways for us to get involved.
  • Our WorldClimate global strategy to tackle climate change across four pillars: net-zero emissions, embedding sustainability, empowering individuals and engaging ecosystems. We don’t have the luxury of time. The climate crisis is not coming, it is already here and the way we live now uses more resources than the earth can provide. We all need to come together and take collective action to address the crisis; for our economies to prosper and for the health and safety of people.
  • Our Deloitte Volunteer hub and our CARE program that helps refugees integrate better locally. These are part of our WorldClass initiative, which is our global ambition to impact 100 million futures by 2030.

5. Do you have one main takeaway from the One Young World summit?

“You are never too young to lead and never too old to learn” – Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General. Don’t let your age or where you are in the organisational hierarchy stop you from taking action, speaking up and inspiring and enabling others around you. If you’re in a senior leadership role, make sure to involve young people with different perspectives in your decision making. Almost half of our workforce is from the Gen Z and millennial generations, so it makes sense to engage with us. Let’s all continuously learn from each other to make an impact that matters.