By Taylor Ovalle
What are the most important issues facing the global society? Energy. Education. Human rights. Inequality. Sustainability. Global health. Inclusion. And so many more.
In a jam-packed week in October 2018, I traveled to The Hague, Netherlands, along with nearly 2,000 other young leaders from top multinational corporations and NGOs. We gathered together to address these vital issues and made pledges to take back to our respective countries, organizations, and networks to do good and “be the change we want to see in the world.” (To quote Gandhi.)
KPMG’s presence at the event was among the largest – with 18 U.S.-based employees, and more than 50 total KPMGers from around the world in attendance. This four-day event, held in the city of “Peace and Justice,” featured impressive keynote speakers, including the CEO of Shell, the co-founder of Twitter, the CEO of Unilever, Akon, and many more C-level businesspersons, activists, and humanitarians. All were equipped with empowering messages to share and inspire.
The most resonating message of all, though I’m clearly biased, came from Lord Michael Hastings – the head of KPMG International’s Corporate Citizenship program. Cheers of company pride erupted from the KPMG section of the World Forum Theater as one of our own took the stage. Lord Hastings’ words on the impact that literacy can have to change lives and open doors were powerful, as was the information he shared about KPMG’s worldwide commitment to improve literacy and instill a passion for lifelong learning around the globe.
Before hearing him speak, I had no idea that KPMG helped open a library and delivered e-readers to many inhabitants on Pemba Island (outside of Tanzania), bringing the gift of books and the joy of reading to so many without. And this is just one example of the many ways that KPMG is spreading literacy around the globe. I was instantly inspired to be a part of this movement.
Through a new connection I made while at OYW, I learned about a volunteer opportunity called Global Give Back Connection – a mentorship opportunity to help at-risk young females in Asia, Africa, and India. I signed up on my way back across the Atlantic, and I can’t wait to be paired with a mentee so that I can help spread the literacy bug just as so many others at KPMG are already doing.
I left the OYW conference having made new friends and connections with people from around the world and across KPMG and a strong conviction to give back more and make a difference. Perhaps the most significant takeaway from this once-in-a-career opportunity though, was the realization that I am fortunate to work for a company that invests so heavily in its people, in its communities, and in its commitment to make the whole world a better place.
Taylor Ovalle is a member of the Corporate Communications team.