Youth Impact Game Changer: Sharzad Modeli (Sweden)

In Empowerment, Game Changers 14, Youth by Mary Kurek

Sharzad Modeli Changes Corporate Mindsets on Millennials Around the Globe

Sharzad speaking to Ikea

Sharzad Modeli is an entrepreneur, speaker, and impactful connector between changemakers and investors. She has spoken to 1000s of business professionals, executives, and entrepreneurs (a global audience from over 32 countries.) She has partnered with bestselling authors, Fortune 500 executives, major keynote speakers, seven-figure business owners, VC-backed startup founders, and various companies like Google, Microsoft, Ikea, and WeWork. She’s passionate about creating a world that is optimised for both people and our planet. She has been recognised and nominated by His Highness King of Sweden Foundation for Young Leadership Award “Kompassrosen” for her initiatives as a values-based leader.

Q & A with Sharzad:

Q:  What drew you toward leadership and speaking out on millennial challenges and issues?

A:  Richard Branson & Sara Blakely.  One of my role models is Sir Richard Branson – his way of leadership inspires me a lot as someone who focuses on great listening, praising people, and bringing out the best in people.  A quote I come back to a lot: “Having a personality of caring about people is important. You can’t be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them.” – Richard Branson.

Another leadership role model of mine is Sara Blakely who says: “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”  With those two inspirations, I was drawn to leadership and I said: “screw it let’s do it.”

For millennial challenges and issues, it was frankly frustration and wanting to make something better. I got tired of hearing executives and other senior leaders talk about how millennials are lazy and entitled. I read a stat from the World Economic Forum that by 2025 75% of the workforce will be millennials. Meanwhile, I read about game changers all over the globe solving big societal challenges in a few years that previously would take decades.

Top-performers today prove that making a difference is not a matter of age, but the result of exponential thinking, drive, and ingenuity. I wanted to highlight these amazing stories and ways of disruptive thinking!

Q:  What would you say was your first step toward claiming your own voice?  And, what has helped you progress on this path?

A:  Definitely that someone saw something in me I didn’t see in myself yet. My first real mentor was my tennis coach at 13 who pushed me to become a leader for the juniors and then til this day I met key individuals that have pushed me to claim my own voice. In speaking specifically, I’d say Christopher Kai a few years ago when he saw something in me I didn’t myself. The biggest thing that’s helped me progress on this path and onward is definitely high-performing and ambitious people I’ve been fortunate and blessed to meet and become friends with; they inspire me to keep pushing boundaries and act on my unique potential to solve societal challenges and make a social impact.

Q:  What is your philosophy around developing youth as global citizens?

A:  Rapid globalization and the fourth industrial revolution that the World Economic Forum states are making the world more interconnected than ever before. I think global leaders are realizing that in order to succeed in the 21st century, they need a new set of abilities and a new way to think about our collective competencies in today’s multicultural world. This also includes inviting youth to voice their opinions and develop important conversations that affect us all.

A framework I read about in the leading educational report of EF, is WQ which stands for World Quotient. In brief, it’s one measure of how equipped someone is to excel in international group environments and abilities required to succeed in today’s increasingly interconnected world.

In conclusion, for me, youth as global citizens means cultivating the sense of belonging to a broader community and common humanity, which emphasizes political, economic, social, and cultural interdependency and interconnectedness between the local, the national, and the global.

Q:  What do youth need to learn that will propel them forward in attaining meaningful work and figuring out their own impact?

A:  That’s a hard question. In my humble opinion as the Oracle of Delphi said: “Know Thyself Youth” (but really all of us) need to learn to understand our strengths, and how we work with people.  Youth needs to experiment and try different roles, industries, styles to learn what they are good at, what type of work they like, and what matters personally where they can solve challenges.  Another thing that’s helped me a lot is to follow my curiosity; read about and meet changemakers who I am inspired by. Be curious about people and our planet!

Q:  What is your own direction from here forward?  Do you have a plan, and if, so what’s your next step?

A:  My own direction is establishing a stronger bond and exchange between Stockholm Sweden & New York in the media, tech, entrepreneurship, and social impact spaces. Specifically collaborating with other entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators to work on common challenges and use our skills and diverse set of knowledge to work together on partnerships for the sustainability goals. In a few years, I’d like to work and live in NYC and LA, with strong connections to Stockholm working with companies with strong marketing and media focus. More involved in global conversations like World Economic Forum, EYP, and the like. The direction is to spread good ideas that support initiatives and stories of diversity, equality, and empowering women and kids. Involved in entrepreneurship and investing in a leadership role.

Sharzad’s Networking Interests:

  • Head of Global Partnerships, Communication & Public Affairs big & medium-sized media company

  • Senior level communications executive, entrepreneurial ventures related to social impact

  • Experienced working global corporate giants, PR & Events. Thought-leadership

  • Well connected professionals between Stockholm-NYC-LA