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One Young World – Takeaways from Belfast

news published date 12 October 2023
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Lucy Ellis-Keeler and Gabriella Kehily from the Future Leaders Shadow Board, represented Women in Banking & Finance as delegates at the One Young World Summit in Belfast in early October. Here are their 5 key takeaways from this amazing event. 

Lucy Ellis-Keeler, Co-Chair of the Future Leaders Shadow Board, and Gabriella Kehily, Relationship Manager for the Future Leaders Shadow Board, represented Women in Banking & Finance as delegates at the One Young World Summit in Belfast, UK. The summit brings together over 2,000 young leaders representing 190+ countries and 250+ organisations, working together to accelerate social impact and make the world a better place. Here are their top 5 takeaways;

  1. Amplifying Voices for Global Gender Inclusion

Empowerment begins with amplifying the voices of women globally. Hasina Safi, the former acting minister of women’s affairs in Afghanistan, spoke to young people at a global summit in Belfast alongside refugee Olympian Mazieh Hamidi, and British-Iranian author Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who was imprisoned in Iran for several years.

Their narratives from Iran and Afghanistan underscore the importance of standing in solidarity and advocating for gender inclusion worldwide. Through our “Future of Work” workshop, aligned to our Accelerating Change Together research, it was a privilege to bring together a group of women from Germany, France, Moldova, UK, India, Ghana, South Africa, The Cayman Islands, and the US to discuss collective challenges we face as women in financial services and beyond, and how each of us can use our platform to amplify the voices of others.

2. The Transformative Power of Narratives:

Stories have the power to reshape narratives and create empathy. Sharing personal experiences can foster understanding and drive positive change. We had the privilege of learning about the brave legacy of Lyra McKee, a journalist killed in Belfast in 2019 whilst reporting on violent conflict. Mckee, was a young journalist and LGBTQ+ activist whose campaigning life and tolerant, progressive outlook stood in direct contrast to the violent nihilism of those that took it in such a reckless manner. The bravery of women worldwide, as highlighted by McKee, serves as an inspiration to share personal experiences, to foster  understanding and to drive  positive change. 

3. Empowerment Through Representation:

Empowerment is not complete without proper representation, as Senator Crystal Asige emphasised by discussing the essential role of acknowledging and empowering all individuals for meaningful global progress. Senator Asige’s words resonate powerfully, highlighting the importance of recognizing the untapped potential in those who have been historically overlooked or underestimated by society: “If all you see is all you see, then you do not see all there is to be seen.”

4. Art as a Catalyst for Change:

Canadian poet Rupi Kaur’s work serves as a powerful example of the transformative potential of art. Her writing becomes a catalyst for change, giving voice to women and addressing social issues creatively. This lesson highlights the role of creative expression in inspiring positive societal shifts. To build on this, organisations and individuals can embrace and encourage creativity as a tool for problem-solving and social impact. By fostering environments that value diverse perspectives and innovative thinking, we can harness the power of creativity to address complex challenges. This approach not only enriches our problem-solving capacities but also promotes inclusivity by welcoming a range of voices and ideas.

Canadian poet, Rupi Kaur.


5. Leadership Beyond Election Cycles:

True leadership involves long-term thinking and investment. Prioritising the needs of future generations over short-term political cycles is crucial for sustainable and impactful leadership. The Queen of Jordan’s insights on long-term investment serve as a key lesson. True leadership involves prioritising the needs of future generations over short-term political and leadership cycles. This lesson encourages leaders to focus on sustainable solutions, as advocated by Her Majesty at the Summit. The contrast between the average age of global leadership at 62 and the 40% of the world’s population under the age of 25 underscores the imperative to recognize and invest in the untapped potential and fresh perspectives of the younger generation for a more innovative and inclusive future. Aligned with this, within WIBF the Student Engagement Strategy aims to increase the current participation rate of undergraduate women within the finance industry, with an aim of creating a pipeline of talent into financial services. 

Workshop attendees on the workshop on the Future of Work aligned with our ACT Research.

As a social enterprise, WIBF continues to seek change in alignment with UN sustainable development goals of 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), 8 (promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.) and 10 (reduce inequalities and ensure no one is left behind). 

Next year, we’re unveiling the WIBF x One Young World Scholarship Programme, a unique opportunity for corporates to support young women making strides in finance. Designed with a focused selection process, this initiative aims to elevate impactful projects in social mobility, financial literacy, and socioeconomic diversity within the sector. We’re looking for corporate partners to play a vital role in nurturing future industry leaders, fostering diversity, and contributing to positive social change. For more details or to express your interest, please contact Lucy Ellis-Keeler and Sarah Woodard. Your support will shape the future of finance and resonate across industries.