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Vanguard's New Leaders Connect on Optimism and Opportunity

By Seth Kaufman

Andres Feng and Abeer Kibria

The Vanguard Group nurtured leadership in a new way in 2022, launching its first-ever New Leaders Program for college students and recent graduates.

Fittingly, the youth movement was in the driver's seat for the entire program, as 17 participants from across the globe met weekly to discuss meaningful, change-focused leadership. During a recent debriefing dialogue, program leader Andres Feng, an innovation consultant at Euromonitor, and Abeer Kibria, a Dubai-based consultant at ModusCX, were asked about the group's views on making a global impact and maintaining a sense of optimism.

"I think we are already changing the world. So me and Abeer, we're working with this nonprofit in Nepal, that is focusing on helping survivors of human trafficking. And in a sense, that's creating change already," Feng said. Abeer is in Dubai, she is creating a space for musicians, connecting people and making sure that people value the arts….I think all of our leaders are already promoting meaningful change. And it's just gonna get even bigger in the future."

As for retaining a sense of optimism in the face of war, climate change and economic hardship, Kibria declared herself an adherent of "the ripple effect."

"I believe I have the ability to impact the people around me, and then they will impact the people around them. And they'll go on, like a ripple. And I believe there are things that are difficult in the world, but if we just sit down, and we complain about it, and don't really make any change, it's only going to stay consistent or get worse. And for me, I like to take ownership of my life and help the people around me, in order to create a better future for myself and for the next generations to come.

"I think there's a lot that can be done. And we're doing it already. We saw it in the COVID-19 pandemic. When it was at its peak, people were actually turning out to be very helpful to their neighbors, helping society and wanting to help small business owners. So that was, I think, the tip of the iceberg and changing things for the long term. And we saw it with the BLM movement. We're seeing it now with activism, and we're also seeing it in all these policies changing in workplaces. So, to not believe in positive change and to have a pessimistic outlook on life. I think that would be very unfortunate. There's a lot that can be done, and we have the power in our hands to do it."

You can listen to more insights from the New Leaders group in our podcast, read a transcript of the exchange or watch a video.

These thoughts are taken from dialogues conducted on Sep-Oct, 2022. Participants may have changed companies and/or titles since then.


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