Bain at One Young World – Reflections from a South African delegate speaker

Monde

I have just returned from the 2013 One Young World Conference as one of the six global Bainies lucky enough to be selected and sponsored by Bain to attend – and I’d like to share my personal journey in this conference.

It starts with me sitting at my desk in Bain Johannesburg on a Friday afternoon. I was exhausted trying to balance my case commitments with my social impact activities. I had to prepare for a Board meeting of a local children’s home in which we were to discuss the way forward given that the 2013 year-to-date expenses were 85% higher than the previous year. I had stayed up late the night before preparing survey feedback for a local scholarship fund and helping organise logistics for a career day hosted by a group of young professionals. All in all, I felt that I was giving everything I had, but was concerned that my personal efforts would not lead to any large scale change in my country on any of the key problems we face.

By chance, the partner who heads up the Social Impact activities at Bain Johannesburg happened to stop by just then for a quick chat. Our conversation ended up lasting over an hour and touched on the many problems our country faces and what we can do about it. He put it to me quite simply: small-scale giving can be hugely fulfilling and have a large impact on individual people’s lives, but we as young people must also use the platforms available to us to impact policy and legislation in order to create lasting change.  I was inspired with a renewed sense of purpose after we spoke.

After some research and attending a meeting of G20 business and youth representatives in Russia, I realised that there already are organisations that take part in policy discussions with government on behalf of the business community. One such organisation in South Africa has a platform to directly contribute to government social, economic, trade and industrial policies. It also acts as an important conduit between government and business, and therefore can impact the internal policies of their member companies as well. The problem is that these organisations don’t in any meaningful way incorporate the view of young professionals within the business community that they represent.

At the One Young World Conference, I had the chance to speak on this topic and found that several young people were trying to address this issue in their respective countries (including South Africa) by setting up youth platforms within their local business advocacy organisations. The aim is not to re-invent the wheel – the platform for business input into policy is there and working – the next step is just to make sure that the voice of the business community on those policies is more representative of the young people within that business community.

Coming out of this, we are now working with the senior leadership of South Africa’s largest business advocacy organisation to setup such a youth platform and structure how it will work in practice. So while working for Bain, I am able to fulfill my personal need to help others through the various small-scale projects I’m still involved with and I am also able to fulfill my desire for longer-term structural change through my involvement with the business advocacy youth structure. The One Young World Conference provided personal motivation for the former through the many amazing stories and life-journeys people shared, and the conference also provided the network and the platform to advance the latter. All in all, I am extremely grateful to Bain for the opportunity and look forward to seeing both Bain’s and my own personal impact expand as a result.

– Monde, Senior Associate Consultant, Johannesburg

One Response to Bain at One Young World – Reflections from a South African delegate speaker

  1. Monde, I just wanted to add my thanks for representing Bain at OYW and your words here are very personal and meaningful. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad Bain is able to be a part of your personal mission and ambitions. Best, Russ

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