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One Young World 2023

David Curtis, Senior Consultant, is one of our One Young World 2023 delegates.

David Curtis talks about being selected for One Young World 2023, what he's looking forward to most about the event and lots more!

I hope that OYW enables me meet and learn from some of the most impactful young people around the world who will be attending as delegates, along with soaking up all of the wisdom that will be communicated to us through the keynote speakers and stage sessions.

Tell us about your role and journey in Deloitte so far.

My name is David Curtis, I’m a Senior Consultant in Finance & Performance within Consulting. I’ve been with Deloitte 4 years since joining through the graduate programme. 

What inspired you to apply for One Young World and what do you hope to achieve through this experience?

I had previously heard how amazing OYW was from other Irish delegates, and I wanted to experience the amazing connection & inspiration that they described. I have always had an interest in social impact and volunteering, so OYW presented itself as an amazing opportunity to meet other likeminded individuals from around the world. I hope that OYW enables me meet and learn from some of the most impactful young people around the world who will be attending as delegates, along with soaking up all of the wisdom that will be communicated to us through the keynote speakers and stage sessions.

Can you tell us about your background and the work you're currently involved in that led you to be selected for One Young World?

I studied Global Business in DCU, a dual degree with 2 years in DCU and 2 years in Madrid. It was in DCU that my passion for volunteering started to grow with my involvement in Enactus, a society focused on positive social and environmental impact. I volunteered at their Headstarts initiative which provided drama, dance and art time for people with intellectual disabilities, and as part of the Enactus DCU committee I got to be part of the Irish delegation which attended the Enactus World Cup in Toronto in 2016. My college time also involved a separate volunteering trip to Berlin to help with refugee support initiatives, and a trip with Habitat for Humanity to Cambodia.

When I joined Deloitte, I looked to get involved in social impact initiatives outside of my client work and was delighted to find a large range of initiatives organised by the Social Impact team. I participated in the Analyst Challenge in 2019 and I was part of the organising committee for it in 2020. In 2021 I took part in the Time to Talk, part of our World Class ambition, which focuses on improving English language skills for people seeking employment in Ireland. I was motivated to volunteer by my experience working through Spanish prior to joining Deloitte, which showed me the complexities of dealing with a language barrier.

Over the last two years my social impact work has focused on two areas. One is Junior Achievement Ireland’s Career Ready Mentorship programme, an 18-month programme providing TY students from disadvantaged areas with an insight into the corporate world, along with support and guidance in developing options for their future.  The other has been One Good Turn, our flagship volunteering event, which I have been a member of the Steering Committee and Co-Lead of the Run events for over the last two years. In both years One Good Turn has raised over €100,000 for charity, namely ChangeX & the Simon Community NI in 2022, and cancer research and support services in 2023.

It was through this background of social impact, along with my broader involvement across the firm in a leadership capacity across initiatives such as EnerG and the Running Club, that I decided to apply for One Young World.

This year's One Young World event is being hosted in Belfast to commemorate the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. How do you see the significance of this historical location impacting the discussions and collaborations among young leaders regarding global issues?

It is a privilege to be representing Deloitte Ireland in a year that there will be significant focus on Anglo-Irish relations following the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. In a time of substantial international unrest and conflict, I believe that Belfast will serve as a reminder of the fragility of peace, while also showing the power of compromise and engagement across political & social channels to achieve a conflict free future for generations. I hope that other young leaders will learn from the complex history being lived every day in Belfast and understand that the solutions we propose to global issues need to engage all sides to be lasting and effective. 

One Young World gathers young leaders from around the world. What global issues are you most passionate about addressing during the summit?

One Young World ambitiously looks to tackle an extremely broad scope over the course of three days. While I am excited to learn from the speakers across all of the topics, I am most looking forward to addressing topics around mental health and access to quality education, both of which are extremely important given the challenges we're facing as a society. We are very lucky to be in a company which has initiatives to promote and improve both of these areas, but there is always room for improvement, so I am keen to learn from both delegates and speakers on these items. 

One Young World emphasises the importance of diversity and inclusion. How do you plan to contribute to meaningful discussions surrounding these topics during the summit?

The emphasis OYW has on diversity and inclusion can be seen in the breadth of backgrounds and occupations of speakers present, the 200+ countries that the delegates will represent, and all of the ways the event has been thought through to be accessible and welcoming for all attendees. This will be particularly visible in the opening and closing ceremonies where traditional dress is encouraged, which I’m really looking forward to! I’m lucky to have great examples here in Deloitte of what good diversity and inclusion practices look like, from our inclusion heroes to our Pride network and Multicultural network who make it easier for each of us to bring our full selves to work each day. I look forward to engaging with other delegates and using these examples to move past corporate attempts to speak about inclusion theoretically rather than it being lived in practice with their employees each day.

One Young World is also a powerful reminder that we are lucky to have a strong company culture with deeply ingrained values, whereas other participants will have experienced work atmosphere’s driven by survival which aren’t inherently conducive to these conversations about diversity, inclusion, and workplace rights. Therefore, I will also look to engage actively as a listener in the discussions to better appreciate how meaningful progress has been made under varying economic conditions in other parts of the world.

The event often features prominent speakers and workshops. Are there any particular speakers or sessions you're looking forward to attending and why?

There is an incredible agenda laid out for the week, with speakers from a wide variety of sectors, countries and interests due to attend. Part of the excitement I have for the event is around how these speakers will engage with each other on panels, with the sum of their shared lived experience having the potential to provide incredible insights to all of us in attendance. With this in mind there are two sessions I’m really looking forward to, which will cover plenary challenges set ahead as focus points for One Young World this year. The first of these is the session on peace & reconciliation focusing on the question ‘How can communities build and sustain lasting peace?’ The session has an incredible group of speakers including former Under Secretary General of the United Nations Michael Møller, former Premier league footballers Didier Drogba and Rio Ferdinand, former Taoiseach of the Republic of Ireland Bertie Ahern, South African Rugby World Cup winner Tendai Mtawarira, Former Minister of Justice & Law of Colombia Mónica de Greiff, and Thuli Madonsela, Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and Former Public Protector of South Africa – I’d certainly have a hard timing thinking of one other world event where those people would share a stage!

The other session I am looking forward to is the education plenary focusing on the question “How can we fight inequality through education?”. Sir Bob Geldof, Paul Polman, Professor Mohammed Yunus, Vilas Dhar, Kat Graham and Angela F. Williams will discuss this topic, and I’m intrigued to hear their perspectives considering that the group includes a Nobel Peace Laureate, an actress from the Vampire Diaries who is a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and a President of the World’s largest charity, so there should plenty of diversity of opinion!

As delegates we also get the chance to attend one workshop across the week where we can collaborate with other delegates in a smaller group in a more dynamic way. Luckily, I got my first choice, and will be attending UNICEF & AstraZeneca’s joint workshop called “Advocating for a Cause: Turning Passion into Action”. This will be led by the Youth Advocacy Guide group and promises to ‘lead users through the process of advocacy, fact-finding, planning, communicating, pitching messages, engaging with policy, building, and fostering networks and allyships, making individual lifestyle choices including caring for one’s own mental wellness, and developing advocacy plans’. I’m excited to engage with the workshop to further understand how I can affect change within my role at Deloitte.

Personal growth is a significant aspect of attending such events. What skills or qualities do you hope to develop or strengthen through your participation in One Young World?

I’m used to being a key voice in the room in most things that I do, so One Young World promises to be a humbling event! In that sense I’m looking forward to developing my active listening skills more to quietly build a deeper perspective on the topics, while choosing my moments to engage in smaller groups carefully. The week will also be a big challenge for condensing the vast amount of learnings into actionable insights given that we will have interesting sessions from 08:30 – 19:00 each day and further learnings from social events until midnight on top of that! With that in mind I am keen to stay on top of accurate note taking and journalling to make the most of the experience. Finally, Imposter syndrome is also a big part of events like One Young World, so I’m hopeful by the end of the week I’ll have dispelled some of those feelings which all of the other delegates I’ve spoken to so far are also feeling! 

How do you plan to share your experience and the knowledge gained from One Young World with your local community or network after the event?

OYW has an incredible atmosphere with a palpable excitement for positive societal change. From speaking to former Deloitte Ireland and Deloitte global delegates, it can often be a challenge going back to your daily role after the event given the contrast in energy and the reality of the timeline required to get individual initiatives moving to make a real impact in society. With this in mind I’m preparing to engage with social impact team once I return to understand how any learnings can be applied at a Deloitte Ireland/NSE level, along with taking some time to reflect on how I can shape the experiences and learnings into a tangible personal output with benefits on a local or regional level.

In terms of connecting with the wider business or network I look forward to writing another one of these blogs after the conference, along with discussing my experiences with leadership wherever possible. I also hope to be a similar source of inspiration for others applying to OYW next year, so I will make myself available for any questions that the respective applicants may have about my experience and learnings from the event.

In the spirit of One Young World's motto, "Together we can", how do you envision collabortion among young leaders contributing to a more sustainable and equitable world?

One Young World is a fantastic example of the potential that young leaders have to make incredible impacts on the world. 2,000 young leaders will be arriving to Belfast with hopes of a better future for the generations to come, a passion for social impact and a combined skillset which can rival that of any government. The onus is therefore on us as delegates to take the opportunity and work together, leveraging the relationships we will build over the week to collaborate on initiatives over the coming years. While a lot of the focus of being a OYW delegate is on the event week itself, you also join a large global community of young leaders who have attended in previous years who seeking to make the same change in society, so by engaging with that group One Young World delegates have a brilliant opportunity to influence the future we will live and work in.

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Deloitte and One Young World

Read more about how our partnership with One Young World develops young professionals into future leaders who can solve the world’s toughest challenges.