We are all stewards

Breakfast Session in Amsterdam

March 4 2019

The first breakfast session of academic year 2018-2019 took place at the Nyenrode campus in the center of Amsterdam. The theme of the morning was “how to balance your purpose with profitability” and it included a keynote speech from Camille van Gestel, Co-Founder of WakaWaka and Nyenrode BBA alumnus.

Van Gestel started the session with an introduction on WakaWaka and its well-known solar products for outdoor enthusiasts: lights, powerbanks and accessories. With each purchase customers help those without reliable access to light and energy. Through its WakaWaka Foundation the company enables people to have access to safe and sustainable solar energy. 

Safe, sustainable, solar for all.

Being a basic human right, access to energy for light and power means having access to education, communication, and income generating opportunities. As the world’s greatest natural energy resource the sun provides that energy everywhere and in abundance. It’s the solution for everyone in need of power. The company’s main product the WakaWaka is the most efficient solar lamp in the world, one day of solar charging provides up to 40 hours of sustainable light. The WakaWaka Foundation monitors the efficient donation of the WakaWaka lights in humanitarian aid situations together with relief agencies to generate the most impact worldwide.

Nyenrode Breakfast Session WakaWaka

Responsible leadership

A changing world demands a new leadership style emphasizing societal impact and commitment to the common good. Responsible leadership is about making sustainable business decisions by taking into account the interests of all stakeholders. Not only shareholders, employees, clients and suppliers but also the community, the environment and future generations. Van Gestel took on a bold mission of providing safe and sustainable, solar energy for all and shared with the students the leadership challenges he faced when managing WakaWaka and expanding the WakaWaka Foundation. Enabling them to form their own idea of responsible leadership.

Nyenrode Breakfast Session WakaWaka

Social entrepreneurship

During the session students, faculty and the business community also discussed the challenges WakaWaka faced as a social entrepreneur and its dilemma of balancing developing and selling products with carrying out its foundation’s mission. Sandeep Phadke, Sr. Vice President and Head of Continental Europe at Tech Mahindra, states that “Van Gestel’s story opened up a different dimension on day-to-day business life, showcasing the life of an entrepreneur and the importance of balancing your purpose with profitability. The ideas presented by the students and the openness in which we all engaged in the discussions allowed for a crowdfunding of ideas.” Van Gestel closed the session with a promise to present all ideas to the WakaWaka team and to report back to the participants of the breakfast sessions with its future results.
Four times per academic year Nyenrode in Amsterdam organizes inspiring breakfast session. The mission of Nyenrode is to contribute to society by developing responsible leaders and the breakfast sessions provide a platform for students to be inspired by responsible leaders and to discuss amongst each other what responsible leadership means to them and how they want to fulfill this as a future leader.

For participating companies these sessions provide an open platform for them to share their personal story and experience. Furthermore it offers a unique opportunity for companies to present their business challenge to our (inter)national top students and get advice and ideas in a short time. The feedback received on these recommendations show that the companies who participated are always positively surprised about the outcomes of these short but powerful morning sessions.

While enjoying a nice breakfast, the Breakfast Sessions at Nyenrode lead to surprising meetings and interesting conversations between students and business leaders. The connection between the LES values (Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Stewardship) of Nyenrode is central here. There is limited space (5 to 7 people from business and 15 students from Bachelor, Master and MBA programs). For more information please send an email to afterwork@nyenrode.nl.

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