One Young World (OYW) – is the premier global forum for young people of leadership caliber. It is an Annual Summit gathering together 1,300 future leaders under the age of 30 from over 190 countries.
I decide that I want to attend OYW conference 3 months before the event is scheduled to take place. Therefore I reschedule my trip to South Africa to make sure that I am in Johannesburg on the same dates.
The first hurdle that I have to surpass is securing sponsorship. The summit cost £3,500, so in order to attend I require sponsorship from one of the major corporations like HSBC, Unilever, PwC etc. I try to get sponsorship but have little luck. At this point organising the GoGetters trip across 5 countries is at the top of my agenda and I decide that one event (no matter how potentially amazing) can’t possibly take priority.
1 month before the event and I still have no sponsorship. I decided to email the organising team. I tell them that I don’t need a hotel, transport, food or access to attend everything. All I want is the chance to network with the delegates. Again no luck, they tell me NO!
Thereafter, I decided to add both of the founders on LinkedIn. One of them accepts, and I quickly send him a message detailing what I am doing with GoGetters and how it falls perfectly in line with what OYW is promoting. He ignores me o_0
A few days later I land in Joburg, not knowing how I am going to get into the summit but always believing that I will be able to. The summit starts on the 2nd October and is scheduled to finish on the 5th October. On the morning of the 4th I have a meeting with York Zucchi; we have a great talk about GoGetters and about his business. By the end of the conversation, he says that I should really be attending some conference called OYW. I tell him that I have been trying to attend for the past 3 months!
11.45am: York tells me that he knows someone going to OYW who has been sponsored by the city of JoBurg. He forwards me an email from the guy who is called Mangi.
11.50am: I email Mangi
12pm: NO RESPONSE… impatience gets the better of me and I review the email again and see that Mangi has a telephone number. I give him a call and tell him the situation. I know he wants York to do him a favour, so I make sure to drop York’s name a few times in the conversation. He tells me that he is not sure if he can get me in but I if I can get to the summit by 1pm I may have a few options!
12.15pm: I am waiting at the concierge desk for a taxi! I’m getting anxious. I ask a woman walking past to take a picture of me at the concierge desk for my blog. This picture, leads to the woman offering to drop me of at the summit!!! YESSSSSS
12.50pm: Outside the summit I meet Mangi. I try to walk in with him but the security guards stop me. He speaks to the organisers and they give him a signal saying that everything is fine.
As I walk in Mangi whispers in my ear that I can get in as an observer but I will need to pay or I can try to get in as Press. I have no money, so paying is not an option! I walk to the desk and the first thing I do is put my business card on the table. I sell GoGetters like my life depends on it. I explain that we are putting together a written blog and a video documentary. I also explain how OYW is aligned with GoGetters and that I cannot accept anything but to be allowed access bla bla bla bla bla bla bla….
The front desk assistant gives me a look… Is this guy for real?… I look back at her … You damn straight – you better give me a pass… Puppy dog eyes… Please
She is nice but tells me that she cannot give me access and that anyone can come in and say they are part of X organisation. She also tells me that she will need to gain authorisation from someone senior so she gives me the number of her boss to call.
Within 5 mins, I pass her back the phone and she gives me my press pass….
I thought that was the end of it… Oh how wrong I was!
Stay tuned for the next part of the OYW adventure.