Day 2 – Lectures, Workshops and Learning Circles – After having breakfast at the hostel, we started the second day of the oikos spring meeting with some ice breaker games – including a funny banana dance and a running-trust-excercise. As the theme of this year’s spring meeting is „Creating an Entrepreneurial Mindset“ the day started off with presentations from two inspiring personalities.
The first one was held by Ignace Schops – an entrepreneur, director of the Belgian NGO Regionaal Landschap Kempen en Maasland (RLKM), President of EUROPARC federation, and Green Nobel Prize winner. Schops was growing up in a former coal supporting area; after coal production was shut down the area had to deal with high unemployment. The government’s solution to this problem was to industrialize the area even more. However, a group of activists and citizens (incl. Schops) fought against this plan, and set up a model of re-connecting to nature – basicalliy a sustainable tourism business model. This model does not only protect the natural park but also creates jobs and gains profit. Today this project is so successful that it even has been exported to other parts of the world. Currently Schops, together with other scientists and well-know people, is taking legal actions to force the government of Belgium to solve current and future climate change issues. Two of his key messages were „think globally, act locally & change personally“ and „not back to basics BUT forward to basics“.
The second presentation was from Francois Tasmowski – an intrapreneur and CSR & communication director for Continental Europe at McCain Foods. Tasmowski told us about his personal career, starting with a mainstream career in the marketing department of Nestle. However, at one point he realized that he never made his dream of travelling the world come true. After five years working for Nestle, he felt that this was the right time for a change in his life. As in Belgium a sabbatical (gap year) is granted by law, he took this opportunity. During his jourey in Asia he got in touch with the terms CSR and social marketing for the first time – and got stuck on it. He educated himself and worked out a concept for Nestle using CSR as a value creating tool for the company. Unfortunately, they did not buy it. Tasmowski then searched for jobs in the CSR field, which was very difficult back then. He eventually found a job at Chiquita, where he implemented a CSR strategy for them. Today he is working for McCain Foods – a 100% family-owned Canadian business. The challanges as CSR director he is facing are to convience not only external stakeholders but especially internal stakeholders as CEO, CFO and all employees – basicially implement the idea of CSR in the organizational cutlure. He calls himself an „agent of change“ and tried to inspired us to follow his idea of change.
After the presentation, we got the chance to ask questions and dicuss with Schops and Tasmowski.
In the afternoon, everyone attended two different workshops of their choice. We (Julia and Michaela) chose to the workshop from Adriana on the values and the difficulty of maintaining theses as a social entrepreneur. The second workshop we attended was with Thomas an oikos alumni. Here we had to work on a case study about the risk of success and failure of a social enterprises.
For the following learning circles, Michaela chose to join Anna’s COMMIT Management circle and there created a new oikos project idea together with Lancelot (oikos Reims) and Pauline (oikos Hamburg). Julia attended the ENGERY learning circle by Franziska (oikos Hamburg) where we worked out a action plan for a enegy learning circle event.. You also could have choosen a LC in Fashion, Finance, Economic,and entrepreneurship.
After this long day at the EDHEC campus with many workshops, new ideas and inspiration, we had dinner at the hostel, announced the new elected president of oikos international Levan from oikos Georgia as well as the new BE members and ended up with some Indian dancing.
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by Michaela and Julia S.