It was raining heavily in Presidente Tancredo Neves. But on the morning of April 11, bad weather was not a problem for the nearly 100 3rd grade students from the three Family Homes supported by Odebrecht Foundation, who travelled to this city to participate in the Young Leaders Development Program, hosted by Ricardo Voltolini, chief executive officer of Ideia Sustentável, a Business Sustainability consulting firm, and learn more about something directly related to their routine: the role of a sustainable leader in their community.
This was the mission of the groups from the Rural Family House of Presidente Tancredo Neves (CFR-PTN), Agroforest Family House (Cfaf) of Nilo Peçanha and Rural Family House of Igrapiúna (CFR-I) – all supported by the Foundation through the Program for Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PDCIS) – when they gathered at the office of CFR-PTN for a day of activities focused on the "Leader of Generation P (for Purpose)," created by Voltolini and which is part of the Sustainable Leadership Platform.
The training program was one more educational opportunity for teens from the Baixo Sul region. “Each and every one of you has the potential,” commented Cristiane Nascimento, head of PDCIS, while inaugurating the event. “As such, there's nothing better than working more intensively with the leaders present here. The entire community yearns for this and is eager to learn together.”
Accompanied by Andrée Ridder, a consultant specializing in environmental management, Voltolini shared his personal and professional experiences to show youth how the presence of a sustainable leader is a determining factor in making a difference in diverse realms, especially in a scenario marked by the struggle for the rational use of the country’s resources and for planned growth of individuals and companies.
Through group dynamics, games and case studies, Voltolini and Andrée established a dialogue with the audience based on the five skills of a Young Sustainable Leader: living the values; personally being the change; listening, involving, having dialogue; practicing interdependence; and innovating for sustainability.
“It's thrilling to be part of something that works," said Andrée, who in March organized the first “Leader of Generation P (for Purpose)” program in the Baixo Sul region of Bahia for 2nd grade students from the same three Family Homes. “Putting yourself in somebody else's shoes is very important to develop leadership. Sustainability calls for it: working from the perspective of cooperation. As leaders, we do nothing by ourselves.”
The purpose of the event was to instill in the youth the idea that it is possible to be a transformational agent having in mind the importance of establishing a sustainable relationship with the environment and with people. For this, Ricardo Voltolini emphasized the beliefs and values necessary for leaders of the 21st century, such as honesty, ethics, respect, altruism and spirit of serving.
“Wanting more is fundamental because you take the first step and start to walk. It’s always one step forward. That’s how we strengthen our purpose. I really want to believe that, in this room, 100% of you will be leaders of this kind, who not only deliver results, but also values. This is the new mindset,” he said. “Sustainable leaders innovate to bring values to communities”.
During the event, students were motivated about sharing the knowledge acquired with those around them – which is something strongly encouraged by teachers at the Family Homes. “We have to grow united," pointed out Elton Santos from CRF-PTN. Students themselves reinforced this role in their reality. “As multipliers, keeping this knowledge to ourselves is not enough. We must put it into practice in our community,” emphasized Ionei Silva from CFR-I. “We are today what we need to improve tomorrow,” he added.
“More and more children are seeking a vacancy at the Family Houses, where they can build the future in the present," said Joana Almeida, Educational Coordinator of the Odebrecht Foundation. “We must always remember that in this country we have teachers who make it happen. Everyone striving for quality education".
It was already past 6 p.m. and, as dusk settled in, the “Leader of Generation P (for Purpose)” program came to an end with the promise of stimulating youth from the Baixo Sul region of Bahia in their last year of training on their future path. “Today’s experience was very important,” said Camila Souza, a student from Cfaf. “We have our dreams, but we are afraid about making them come true. This training program showed us that we can do it. We have to try to go beyond”.