Meeting both the challenges of today and of the future lies in part the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG’s). Since 2017 the UN have been bringing together 1,000 young talented people a year through an innovative program called UNLEASH and one Byron Shire local, Nim de Swardt, is currently in China engaging in the program.
‘By participating in the Innovation Lab for the UNSDG participants are challenged to work on actual real-life world problems that have been carefully selected,’ said Ms Swardt.
She is one of 20 Australia delegates who has been given the opportunity to participate in UNLEASH and her focus is on the importance of ‘Intergenerational mentorship and communication’ and how this can be ‘better facilitated across the workforce’.
‘My idea submission focused on age diversity in board rooms, because we need ideas fed into these top leadership arenas,’ she told Echonetdaily before leaving for China.
‘In China, I plan to take my fused understanding of business, social impact, the environmental crisis, along with my unique understanding of the power of wisdom in ages across the workforce and lifespan to create solutions working towards UN SDG goal 9 – innovation and infrastructure. Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship within companies and society is essential for a future just society and good business.
‘These conversations about age are not only limited to the workforce but to broader society: hearing the wisdom of indigenous elders, sharing the wisdom of mothers, children, and grandparents. Creating intergenerational friendships to help us navigate the challenges of each generation and the passage of life are essential for sustainable societal and economic growth.’
This is something that Ms Swardt has seen the benefit of through her work around the world as an intrapreneur and her time working as chief next generation officer, as the youngest direct report to a global CEO based out of New York and Bermuda.
‘My previous work as a “Intrapreneur” showcased the power of employee led innovation of all ages, which led me to work in San Francisco as a social impact consultant, guiding businesses to integrate social and environmental strategies into their business – for good business. “Ageversity” was born out of celebrating and understanding the importance of age diversity to help business perform better and create more connected societies,’ she explained.
‘In 2018 I was fortunate to be selected to go to the Antarctic with Sir Robert Swan OBE (Famous Polar Explorer, the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles) and his foundation 2041 who are dedicated to the preservation of Antartica. It was during this time my views were cemented that business can be used as a force for good to some of our most pressing global challenges. It also begun an incredible intergenerational friendship between Rob and I, showcasing the great value of multi-generational relationships, friendships and experiences.’