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Focusing
on a positive impact

What world do you want to leave behind?

By Estefany Mercedes Santos, Julian Pedroza, Nathan Soto, Ashley Whitten, Navina Paul

We all have an issue that we are passionate about but sometimes our jobs, our lives, our excuses, prevent us from initiating change in our communities. However, not having time is not an excuse. It’s how you prioritize. So, we challenge you now: What world do you want to leave behind?

“With success comes great responsibility.” These were the words spoken by Akon, singer and rapper, to an inspired crowd of over 1,800 young people on Day 3 of the One Young World (OYW) Summit in The Hague. As Johnson & Johnson employees, we know this to be true as our Credo is a constant reminder that we are responsible to the communities in which we live. Today, we heard from executives of Fortune 500 companies, icons such as Akon, Rosario Dawson, and Biz Stone, but most importantly we heard the personal accounts of change makers, the OYW ambassadors and delegates. Here are our top three key messages from Day 3 of the summit:

1. “My purpose is to be a change superhero” – Kamillah Knight, One Young World Ambassador

To start off the morning, we were empowered by the actions of three OYW ambassadors who spoke about their non-profit and shared advice to the crowd. Shalini Weerasooriya painted a picture of a man, permanently affected by neonatal jaundice, who she met at OYW 2017. He inspired her to start a non-profit, called Project Oscar in his honor, whose mission is to spread awareness of severe neonatal jaundice, a preventable condition. Her story resonated with the 2018 Johnson & Johnson OYW theme: creating a healthy start at life for mothers and babies. It is evident that the first few years of life are the most important for human development. Jennifer Wronski left us with a challenge: What are you going to do to drive your ripple effect?

2. Young people want to work for companies focused on improving society

“We are the most socially conscious and politically engaged generation,” Jamira Burley, moderator of the “What Can Business Do For Young People?” session, reminded us. As millennials and Gen Z, we will not tolerate working for a company who does not implement corporate social responsibility into their mainstream business goals. We will not hide behind our Excels and PPTs. We will join companies, not because of the salary and benefits, but because of values and our eagerness to make an impact on the world around us. No longer is the focus on the amount of money donated to organizations – it’s the time, energy, and passion provided on the front lines of classrooms, hospitals, developing countries and beyond. You can’t call yourself successful, if the world around you is failing.

Our Johnson & Johnson OYW buddy team at the One Young World Summit (left to right): Ashley Whitten, Estefany Mercedes Santos, Julian Pedroza, Navina Paul, Nathan Soto

3. We cannot afford to leave 1 billion uneducated people behind

OYW Ambassadors are devoting their lives to alleviating poverty and providing access to education to women and children in developing countries. Chariff Hamidi, founder of Ed4.0 noticed the children from his home country of Morocco were not attending school. This prompted him to quit his job in investment banking, return home, and begin teaching mathematics and literacy to the children. To date he has educated over 1,200 students. Zara Huseynova, pronounced a #ladyboss by her Counsellor, founded WoWomen, an NGO that provides education on topics like IT, entrepreneurship, and health. WoWomen has educated over 7,000 women in the classroom and over 21,000 women who are denied the privilege to leave their homes, through her interactive online tool.

Hearing these stories, we are proud and motivated that young people are not only the leaders of the future, but the leaders of today. Our peers have overcome obstacles and challenges they faced on their journey to create a healthier world. It has not been easy for these young leaders, but they persevered. We all have an issue that we are passionate about but sometimes our jobs, our lives, our excuses, prevent us from initiating change in our communities. However, not having time is not an excuse. It’s how you prioritize. So, we challenge you now: Which world do you want to leave behind?

 

Follow the rest of the blogs from the One Young World 2018 Summit here.