A learning exchange between South Africa's current and future leaders

When a student gets to be the boss of a well-known business for a day, not only does the student learn from the experience, but the company’s CEO does too. This kind of knowledge exchange is facilitated by the Odgers Berndtson CEOx1Day programme, which nurtures future leaders while presenting an opportunity for CEOs to glean insight into the millennial mindset. Sneha Shah, Chief Executive Officer of Thomson Reuters, participated in the programme, hosting MBA student Tarryn Carolus for a day.

Sneha described the programme as very insightful and said she valued the fresh perspective Carolus bought to the table. For her, the experience reinforced why young people are leaders of today and not tomorrow, worthy of nurturing and being heard.

Sneha Shah Quote CEOx1Day Millenials

Odgers Berndtson Sub-Saharan Africa chatted with Sneha to hear what she valued most about the experience:

OBSA: What was your impression of CEO for a Day, as an initiative to pair up South Africa’s future leaders with SA’s CEOs? What did you find most beneficial?

SS: I found CEO for a day very insightful as a programme. I loved the external perspective and fresh view that Tarryn brought, as well as our end of day session and subsequent follow-up where Tarryn shared some fantastic ideas to address our key opportunities and challenges.

OBSA: Were there any assumptions you may have had about millennials or the youth which were proved incorrect by the time you spent with the student? What was most surprising to you?

SS: I work with a lot of millennials – 68% of our staff are millennials – so I am always learning from them. Nothing really surprised me from an assumptions perspective, but it did reinforce for me why our brightest young people are the leaders of today and not tomorrow, and we need to listen to them more!

OBSA: What advice would you give to young leaders in South Africa?

SS: You are the future of the continent and you are the ones you have been waiting for. Be passionate, don’t wait for someone to give you permission or ask you for help. Be bold, challenge the existing frameworks and assumptions, show value to your communities and your business leaders, and let’s work together to drive positive change in our economy and society today!

The CEOx1Day programme is a global initiative exclusive to Odgers Berndtson with over 700 CEOs and students participating worldwide. Please email info@odgersberndtson.co.za if you are a CEO interested in hosting or a student eager to participate in 2018’s programme.