Sitting on the 7am flight from Brisbane to Sydney, I had no idea what the National Strategy Weekend was going to have in store. After all, these are things executives with decades of experience do, not a consultant in the Big 4, relatively fresh out of university! Despite my fears during that flight, the experience was incredible. The opportunity to sit with fellow committee members from the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane chapters, reflect on the organisation’s achievements, take a candid look at the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation, and then help build an inspiring vision for what the future might look gave a rare insight into what the future held.
The weekend began with an opportunity for us as a group to reflect on the origins of YSPN, and the subsequent achievements of the organisation. Often the word ‘’remarkable” is overused but the level of progress that YSPN has experienced since its inauguration is nothing short of it. The idea conceived by the founders was to establish a platform for young Sikh professionals that would be “cool.” Three years later, YSPN has showcased 19 guest speaker events across its Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane chapters. Brisbane, in particular, was merely an idea during the 2014 National Strategy Weekend and has now come to fruition having hosted two sold out events since the beginning of 2015.
The session then shifted to an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses in light of our stated aims. As an organisation, YSPN aims to build a unified, stronger and more connected Sikh community ultimately allowing for success in the Sikh and indeed, broader Australian community. While we made a fantastic start, we needed something on a more personal level to continue developing on our foundations, and help young Sikhs build relationships that would enable them to succeed. With this in mind, the team decided on building a platform for mentorship. The main objective of mentoring would be to connect successful Sikhs to those embarking on their professional careers in corresponding fields ultimately giving a platform to fast-track personal and professional development.
After we addressed what we felt was an important gap in what we do as an organisation, we moved onto the critical next question of where YSPN aims to be in the next five to ten years. The most inspiring takeaway from this discussion was the ambition apparent amongst committee members. Our targets included for example: establishing chapters in overseas locations, gaining influence in both the community and media, and developing a platform for Sikhs to become industry leaders. On a personal note, it will be “mission accomplished” when a member in the YSPN network becomes a partner in a Big 4 firm, as a result of relationship established with a Sikh CEO of an ASX200 listed company.
Throughout this weekend, the most compelling and unique thing about YSPN’s position that struck me was that most young Sikh professionals in Australia are typically 1st generation. There are other organisations in the world which provide Sikhs the opportunity to network and connect, however YSPN has an unprecedented opportunity to shape the future of the Australian-Sikh community like no other organisation in the world and fundamentally change the trajectory of our community. Right now, it’s about developing that platform for future generations to leverage from, so that they become testament to the YSPN mission statement, and a proud reflection of the talent and contribution that our community has to offer.