On November 1st 2018 Swiss Re hosted the first Aiducation Alumni town hall. Participants discussed the impact of joint education programs in Kenya, Philippines and soon in Ghana. Since 2014 Swiss Re together with Aiducation organized 21 academies of different formats, including Start-up Academy, Career Academy and Entrepreneurship Academy. As a result of those Academies, 900 young students and start-ups have been trained by 135 Swiss Re employees.
“In my view, this is a fantastic success. And it came together because so many people have contributed to the initiative. This is a real grassroots initiative,” said in his opening speech Mr Gerhard Lohmann, Chief Financial Officer Reinsurance.
The main speakers of the town hall were: Mr Stefan Huber, Director of Swiss Re Foundation, Ms Diana Wangechi, AiduAlumna and Mr Florian Kapitza, CEO of Aiducation. The discussion was moderated by Ms Monika Waber, Head Organisation & People Development, Swiss Re, who also hosted Start-up Academy in 2015.
In his appreciation speech, Florian Kapitza recalled the beginning of their partnership with Swiss Re in 2014, “Coming back to this building in Swiss Re after 4 years is a really special moment for me. Thank you for organizing this town hall. Swiss Re is a company, that strikes to make a difference and has the courage to take it up. Swiss Re invests not only into the development of its own employees but also into people who might never become its employees. This is something that you should be very proud of.” He then shared a 'Thank You' Video Message prepared by the Aiducation Philippine team.
The Town hall was particularly special due to the attendance of AiduAlumna, Diana Wangechi, from Kenya who shared her personal experience with Mentorship Academies. “The first Swiss Re Mentorship Academy I attended was on start-ups. Before that, I have never been in a setting where we were thought about business. Although I don’t have a start-up of my own, I got to see how other start-ups have been brought thus far by Swiss Re. What I have learned through experience is something I would have never learned, had I not been involved in the academies. Later on, I have also got a chance to coordinate some academies. It was a really humbling experience to be given the chance to handle a week-long program and to be entrusted with such responsibility. I got to learn organizational skills and how to deal with pressure.”, said Diana.
On behalf of all AiduAlumni, she also expressed particular gratitude towards the Swiss Re mentors. “You can tell that the mentors are not doing their doing just for the sake of doing it. They are actually involved, in not only business but also a professional aspect of our lives. It is really special for me that someone sees me, not just as another student from Africa, but as a person who can be their friend,” said Diana.
In his speech, Mr Huber highlighted the importance of resilience, grassroots movement and how Swiss Re can contribute. “When you want to address local challenges, you have to bring local heroes. This is the most appropriate approach. As a corporate foundation we have the privilege of bringing not only money but also expertise,” said Mr Huber. “I will never forget the statement by the young participant who told me after one of our Academies, ‘I always believed that you have to be rich if you want to become an entrepreneur. But you have taught me that actually through becoming an entrepreneur you have a chance to become rich.’ It’s this change of mindset we are trying to create through our initiatives,” added Mr Lohmann.
During the Q&A participants had an opportunity to discuss future plans further, shortfalls along with successes, and the impact of mentorship academies within and outside Swiss Re. At Aiducation we appreciate the continued partnership with Swiss Re and look forward to creating further impact together.
For the full video recording of the Swiss Re Aiducation Alumni Town Hall 2018, please follow the link.