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Optimism: A Millennial Trait Overlooked?

Ahead of One Young World, Ronan Dunne, Telefonica UK’s CEO, discusses an attitude defining a generation

Millennial leadersAs a Dublin boy born and raised, I’ll find myself heading home this week for the largest gathering of nations second only to the Olympic Games, One Young World (OYW). The Summit welcomes over 1,300 millennial leaders from 190 countries to debate and agree on actions they believe are necessary for the good of society.

The event itself is a fitting tribute to Dublin City’s status as Europe’s youngest capital and an emerging entrepreneurial and digital hub with Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AOL, eBay, Microsoft, Amazon, and Telefonica’s own digital accelerator, Wayra, all taking up residence.

As an OYW Counsellor, I’ll be joined by other luminaries, which have in the past featured Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Sir Bob Geldof, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Richard Branson and President Bill Clinton to help guide delegates during the Summit through inspirational plenary and breakout sessions.

Telefonica has been involved in this event since its inauguration five years ago and have this year sent a delegation of 50 millennial leaders from nine countries, representing all areas of the business, including Wayra, Think Big and Pronino.

In a week which has also seen Telefonica participate in TEDx Teen’s Remarkable Disruptors, EU Code Week and the launch of the latest Global Millennial Survey (GMS), we again reinforce our commitment to the activation of real leadership potential among our millennial workforce as well as those we support through our youth development and digital accelerator programmes.

Similar to my role at One Young World, Telefonica merely act as a facilitator in supporting this generation; millennials themselves need no incentive to succeed as clearly shown within the GMS findings, which found global millennials to be optimistic, focused on their careers, and ready to take control of their own futures. And as a prove point, a number of our own delegates are active participants in this year’s Summit.

Lucia Valencia from Wayra Peru will be on stage pitching for a $20,000 grant – one of only six finalists; José María Ortega-Hernández, a Think Big project leader from Spain, will be speaking during a major plenary on his work around sustainable development; Telefonica delegates will be hosting an internal breakout session on ‘intrepreneurialism’ with panellists from Twitter, Pepsi and Eleven Paths; and Wayra startups will welcome a truly global cohort of budding entrepreneurials to their Dublin academy.

The one attribute driving these individuals and this generation is having an entrepreneurial mindset (72 percent of millennials believe they have opportunities in their countries to become an entrepreneur). Combining this trait with such levels of optimism is giving the millennial generation exceptionally high hopes for not only their own futures but also the futures of their countries and continents as a whole.

My belief is that this generation with their mastery of the digital world and their self-reliance in pursuing their own ideas will energise not only the corporate environment but will also lead to progressive and sustained change throughout society.

Ronan Dunne will be discussing the GMS findings on Thursday, 16th October at 2pm (BST) via the homepage. You can find out more on Telefonica’s commitments to millennials by clicking here. To interact with our 50-strong delegation at the OYW Summit, follow @ThinkBig and search #Tefmillennials via Twitter.

Video: Ronan Dunne and other Millennial influencers discuss benefits of One Young World 2014 in activating real leadership potential.