EADA Annual Meeting 2019: The future of your work

2 December 2019

Anna GasconOver a thousand people were in attendance at this year’s EADA Annual Meeting which was held at the unique Teatre Nacional de Catalunya. The theme was "The future of YOUR work" and the event examined the main challenges facing the future of work. One of the most popular topics was how to align personal values with those of the company. According to Anna Gascón, co-founder of Ethikos 3.0 “We are increasingly looking for jobs we like and which match our values. The key to attracting and retaining talent lies in factors other than salary such as flexible working hours, work-life balance and the work environment. Aware of this fact, companies are now redirecting their talent recruitment strategies to be able to attract and retain top professionals”. Gascón highlighted an important figure that companies should take into consideration: 42% of all employees leave their jobs within the first year due to a lack of cultural affinity with the company.

Another of the big challenges facing the future of work is the search for professionals who are able to adapt to the constant changing environment in which companies operate. Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center pointed to the need for flexible profiles who can react quickly to any situation. “In 2030, 50% of all jobs in developed countries will be carried out by freelance workers”. In his opinion, “we need to have a flexible mentality and ongoing training because what we know today may not be useful tomorrow”. 

This point was also echoed by Francesca Pick, co-founder of Greaterthan, who referred to the need for knowledge sharing in organisations. This requires companies to recruit professionals who are willing to be constantly interconnected with other teams. “This implies a new business paradigm, in which companies must promote flexibility and interconnection between teams as well as continuous experimentation with new ways of internal collaboration”. Similarly, Marianne Schenk, executive director of Leadership Development at Julius Baer, chose the interactive methodology of design thinking to create and reinvent products, services, processes and even business models. She recommended the practice of mindfulness “to establish new brain connections, to become more creative and to build knowledge together”.

FRancesca PickThe speakers also approached the challenge represented by technology as more of an opportunity rather than a threat. An example of this was given by Arturo Bris who said that “robotics and technology in general will substitute unwanted jobs and will lead to the creation of new business models”. Benoit Montet, international HR expert for Top Employers, referred to the use of Agile methodologies to develop projects which demand speed and flexibility as well as a more efficient way of working and organisation.

Álex López, founder of Sartia Formación and one of the top 10 influencers in social selling worldwide, explained the impact of social networks which “have changed and will continue to change the way we work. Platforms such as LinkedIn have completely changed the way we look for work and how companies recruit talent, look for information about other companies and potential clients”. He highlights that “technology allows us to have a database of millions of people and companies from all over the world at our fingertips”. López also focused on the importance of developing a personal brand that highlights who we are and what makes us different. “Brands need to position themselves correctly in this environment and be aware of everything they share and publish on social networks”.

Alex LopezThe speakers also stressed the importance of another great challenge: a company’s commitment to sustainability and the environment, which is an increasingly worrying issue for both consumers and employees. This is why Benoit Montet advocates “maximising business efficiency by prioritising CSR principles and defending global sustainability”. Marianne Schenk, pointed out that “there are more and more professionals who choose to work for companies which have a social impact” and that “sustainability will continue to be a key factor which will make the difference between one company or another”.

Future opportunities for young African women

The event also focused on the future opportunities for young women from developing countries through the EADA scholarship programme, which was set up two years ago, and which enables them to study a Master’s degree at EADA and fulfil their dream. The Martin Rahe scholarship, in recognition of the Economics professor and director of R&D+i who passed away in 2014, was awarded to Brenda Odari from Kenya. She studied a Master in Management at EADA thanks to a crowdfunding campaign and was hired by a German company soon after finishing her studies.

DammyAs a result of the agreement with the Women for Africa Foundation, a new scholarship was awarded to the young Nigerian Oluwadamilola (Dammy) Lawal, who is a science and technology researcher who graduated from the same master’s programme in July and who also attended the EADA Annual Meeting. Dammy was very grateful for the opportunity to study a master’s at EADA. She highly valued the multiculturalism of the classes and a new set of skills which will allow her to lead different projects. According to Dammy, “the education of girls and women is the key to tackling poverty in Nigeria” and she would like to “pioneer the promotion of technology in Africa through policies which promote science, development and innovation”. In fact, she has started working on this and has already set up the Damilola Lawal Foundation which aims to empower women in secondary education in the state of Osun.

A new candidate has also been selected to receive a scholarship for the Master in Management. Christelle Civanvunya is from the DR Congo and is passionate about the world of science and technology and a true social entrepreneur who is committed to the development of her country.

Recognition of the 2018-19 graduates

This year 500 students have graduated from the Executive Programmes. One of these participants is Pilar Millán Iglesias, who did a Master in HR Management at EADA to learn the skills needed to face the challenges of the current VUCA environment. Pilar, in her role as technical manager for vulnerability at the Catalan Red Cross, pointed out that “training at EADA is like a long-distance race where you learn how to tackle change and where you make new connections which will stay with you forever”.

EAMIn the Full-Time and MBA masters, 400 students from 60 different countries graduated. Adam Weiss was one of the graduates and at the Annual Meeting he described his unique experience while studying for the International MBA. This experience led him to launch The Revolver Life which is an integration project of “work and travel for digital nomads”. His idea came about while studying the Master as he saw the need to offer a personalised experience to people who travel for work. This experience ranges from flight and hotel reservations to unique and exclusive activities in the destination countries. He spoke about “purpose and passion” and in line with his company’s slogan, that we make things happen.

Finally, prizes were awarded to the best final projects in all the categories (International Masters, International MBA, Executive MBA and Executive Master), including the honourable distinction from the Barcelona Catholic Relief Organisation. All the awardees agreed that it was a great learning experience studying alongside people from different backgrounds and cultures as well as a transformation process on a personal and professional level. Their advice to the other attendees was that “regardless of their area of work, everyone’s job can create a positive impact on society”.