Since its founding in 1999, MCW Global’s core values remain the same: integrity, compassion, accountability, responsibility, and excellence.
It builds and nurtures these values gradually through various approaches — one of which is networking. Networking is a crucial component of how MCW Global expands its positive impact on a global scale.
In this piece, Përparim Kryeziu, 2012 MCW Global Young Leaders Program Alumni, and Jonathan Hakakian, Young Leaders Access Program (YLA) speaker for several years and current Managing Director at SoundBoard Venture Fund, share their networking journeys with MCW Global and how it has evolved over the years — serving as windows of opportunity.
From paying tribute to a wonderful MCW Global friend and long-time supporter, the late Roberta Richin, to sharing more tangible examples of how they feel about MCW Global’s support along the way, both share how beneficial MCW Global’s networking has been in recent years.
Happily, and proudly carrying MCW Global’s name not only on their resumes, but in their lives, both Përparim and Jonathan are certain that MCW Global’s networking played a critical role in their successful careers and personal journeys.
MCW Global’s Networking as a Head Start
Just a year prior to joining MCW Global, Përparim (also known as Pip by the MCW Global family), had been an exchange student in Bennington, Vermont — his first international experience.
Approximately a decade later in 2020, he would serve in an important position in the Republic of Kosovo’s government. With a background in civil society, Përparim was appointed as the spokesperson of the government.
This would make him the youngest Government Spokesperson in the history of the Republic of Kosovo.
The MCW Global community shares great pride in witnessing such great achievements of its alumni. Përparim is very forthcoming to credit the MCW Global family and its meaningful network for his success.
“I learned about MCW Global roughly a year after I had returned from the exchange year in the U.S., precisely through my network in Bennington. Certainly, MCW Global has exposed me to many opportunities.”
“[…] What I always knew that I had to do was to stay in touch as much as possible with everyone I had met during all my participation at MCW Global.”
Thanks to that and to MCW Global’s network, Përparim was given the chance to take part in a major conference in Vienna, Austria back in 2014 with over 100 distinguished individuals and junior leaders from all over the world. He had heard about the conference from MCW alumni who were directly involved in organizing the conference.
To this day, this remains one of the most valuable experiences for Përparim.
“Undoubtedly I credit that to the MCW Global network.”
A Wonderful First Intensive International Experience
MCW Global was Përparim’s first intensive international networking experience.
“The week-long retreat was not just about learning new things and gaining new skills. It was about putting in practice the skills you already have in meeting new people and creating new relations, not just with your fellows but also organizers and guest speakers.”
From Përparim’s perspective, doing this in an environment where everybody wants to connect to everyone was an extraordinary opportunity to advance his networking skills and network.
“MCW Global is where I first met someone from South Africa, Botswana, Israel, Palestine, Zimbabwe, and Kyrgyzstan, etc., Professors and Deans from U.S. universities and distinguished professionals and authors.”
In his words, having had this opportunity and particular experience as a teenager certainly gave him a head start in his own endeavors, both in academia and professional career.
“Networking is key,” Përparim asserts, and that the ability to create and develop a network on one hand, and sustaining it on the other, is essential in one’s career.
From Networking to Supporting
Përparim has felt the support of MCW Global all along the way.
“For instance, Roberta Richin, who unfortunately passed away three years ago, played an important part in all my university and scholarship applications. She is a testimony of a good and long-lasting relationship that stemmed from MCW Global.”
He is convinced that her advice and recommendations had a determining role in his success.
“For this, I am forever grateful to her and MCW Global. To this day, I still feel part of the MCW Global community despite being away.” Përparim concludes by saying that networking is something like a symbiotic ecosystem.
“A network is beneficial as long as all members are beneficial to one another […] you need to be an active and useful member “
Knowing People with Unique Experiences — The Biggest Treasure of MCW Global’s Networking
Jonathan agrees with Përparim on the significance of developing networking skills, more precisely he sees networking as a mission, and definitely as more than just going to networking events.
Initially, Jonathan shared that networking is:
· being open to opportunity (not dismissing others),
· asking for introductions (and for help when you need it); and
· paying it forward (helping others without expectation).
Positive results from networking take time, he goes on.
“It's hard work and being an open person who creates serendipity and that sense of ‘karma’, luck, or ‘being in the right place at the right time’.”
Further, Jonathan shares his opinion on how networking outside one’s geography, industry, or socioeconomic standing provides context and perspective.
“It’s easy to get wrapped up in the echo chamber of our day-to-day and familiar environment. It’s when we speak with others — who have unique life experiences or come from different walks of life — that we can grow beyond and above our current path. This is among the most incomparable feelings I experienced thanks to MCW Global”.
MCW Global’s Networking Creates Perspective and Opportunities
MCW Global’s networking helped Jonathan create opportunities and provide perspective to stay humble and be creative.
When recalling his interactions within MCW Global’s circles, Jonathan remembers conversations with investors and entrepreneurs from all over the world who may not necessarily share the same belief systems, or social constructs, as he does. This led him to new people and perspectives he would not have the chance to experience if it wasn’t for MCW Global.
“During these conversations, we test one another’s assumptions and challenge one another constructively. This creates creative growth.”
Larger events hosted by MCW Global also allowed him to practice his elevator pitch with people who were not directly his target audience.
“I would see how different phrasing made people react and where questions were. I have tweaked my elevator pitch (or short professional intro) too many times to count!”
Having a fruitful network himself, Jonathan further elaborates on how one can establish healthy social practices.
“Just keep talking to others. Engage and hear the other person out. Listen to understand, not to respond. And then the rest will take shape. By keeping an open mind and not being transactional […].
Acknowledging all the benefits of networking, he mentions that in the beginning when he would attend in-person networking events it was quite overwhelming, so he would set small goals for himself, like:
· Exchange business cards with three people.
· Start a conversation with one person I don’t know
· Introduce two people who don’t know each other.
In conclusion, Jonathan and Përparim both encourage all young people, regardless of their differences, to benefit from various activities hosted by MCW Global throughout the year. Find out more about current opportunities by visiting MCW Globals’s webpage.
By: Gresë Sermaxhaj
Besides networking, a very important composing element of MCW Global’s success is meaningful mentorship connections. For this, we recommend your next read: