Insights from the first module of the Leadership program 2021

Published: 2 Jul 2021
Author: Anita Bernardus
Type: Insight

The 2021 WBCSD Leadership Program kicked off with 34 leaders from across the world. Coming from different industries and backgrounds, it was clear that the group was united by a shared belief in sustainable development as a catalyst for innovation, disruption and value creation.
This year’s Module 1, with 20 online sessions, raised awareness building across a range of topics, from sustainability strategies, innovation, leadership all the way to non-market strategies and Vision 2050. We had a variety of speakers from the academic world (Yale, IMD, ESADE), from business (Roche, Unilever, VW group, ) but also WBCSD experts.

Offering a unique platform to reflect on transformative leadership, this first meeting of the Leadership Program helped the group work on personal self-awareness and learning styles, with an eye to playing a bigger role in leading change. Here is the perspective from one of the participants, Anita Bernardus, April Group.

Being chosen by my company to join the 2021 WBCSD Sustainability Leadership program was an enormous opportunity, especially since I am currently dabbling in a non- sustainability related role, but looking forward for a career shift into sustainability. I thought, what better way to start then to have the chance to learn from renowned academics and professors from Yale University, attend world company leaders’ talk and build a global network in sustainability with other participants.

But when the program confirmed to be done online due to the pandemic, I hesitated, as I wasn’t sure that an online program is ideal for this type of learning. However, after recently completing Module 1: Sustainable Development in Context for four weeks, the learning process was as insightful as I expected the course to be, even with all the challenges of time zone differences and online method of delivery. I’ve picked up something new in each session, whether in questioning our ethical decisions with Prof Dr Rodney Irwin or in learning how to jump start our habit change with Prof Zoe Chance.

The module has been especially helpful in developing my knowledge in sustainability issues, tools and strategies. Also understanding the different aspects and challenges from other participants coming from different companies, industries and culture through the sharing session and group assignments. This deepen my understanding how sustainability and business must go hand and hand, make better decision as a leader and hopefully help me to inspire to help shape a better future.

It has been one of the most packed and best learning experiences so far. What I appreciate the most is the ability to note best practices or worse failure in sustainability from experts and leaders and of course, making new friends!

Looking forward to Module 2 and 3.

Anita Bernardus

Deputy Director, Corporate Communications



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