In my conversation with Stephanie, we reached the conclusion that, sometimes, our impact can seem abstract and distant. But we learned a valuable lesson working with Y&Y Fellows: mentoring one social entrepreneur can go a long way to change the lives of people across the globe.
Stephanie Goos is a Y&Y Mentor and National and Key Account Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners. She currently lives in Belgium and works for the Dutch branch of Coca-Cola European Partners. Over four years of working at the company, she has experienced many different roles, including sales and marketing.
When participating at the One Young World Summit, Stephanie was amazed with so many young social entrepreneurs who took the responsibility to make the world a better place, even with few resources. Being at the event opened her mind. She was now aware of so many global challenges that there was no turning back. Upon leaving the conference, she had a question in mind: “How can I use the scale of Coca-Cola to make a difference”?
Then, she and her colleagues created a group called Team Forward, in order to go beyond their job duties and initiate social impact ideas from within the company. Over the years, the group has expanded and led to a partnership with Yunus & Youth.
During the 2020 Yunus & Youth Social Impact Leadership Program, Stephanie mentored the Y&Y Fellow Buchi Nduka, founder and CEO of The Amazing Woman, a social business focused on equipping women, especially stay at home mothers, with digital and social tools to drive their business sales online while still dedicating time for their families.
As a Y&Y Mentor, Stephanie was able to apply her professional knowledge to support Buchi to develop her social business. “Buchi is so inspiring, energetic and motivating! She encouraged me to move forward and challenge myself to take responsibility”. Stephanie is also passionate about gender equality so, during the Program, she was able to combine this passion with her skills to make a difference. Over the 6 months of the Y&Y Fellowship, they were able to develop a more sustainable social business model.
For Stephanie, the corporate world used to be very reactive towards global social issues. Now, it is becoming more proactive. She believes that sustainability is fundamental to our existence, so it is not something we can resist anymore. In her words, “if we don’t have a sustainability perspective, people won’t buy our product and won’t want to even work with us! As we bring this perspective to our companies, we encourage change from the inside. I’m glad to see more companies taking the responsibility and taking action.”
To other corporate professionals, Stephanie would highly recommend the experience. She says, “If you just start by doing something, it can have a snowball effect! It may feel small, but with time, your initiative will grow and engage others. That’s what I saw at Cola-Cola with the Team Forward group. You should be the example you need”.