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on a positive impact

“Oh the Places You’ll Go!”

ByAlissa Hsu Lynch, Franchise Vice President, DePuy Synthes EMEA, Johnson & Johnson

Oh the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss was one of my favorite gifts I received when I graduated from college. It perfectly captured my feelings of excitement and optimism; the conviction that I can accomplish anything I set my sights on; and the belief that I can help change the world. 

But it also represented the nervousness I felt about facing the wide world of possibilities ahead of me. The story is not just about the highs you’ll achieve, it is also about the lows you’ll undoubtedly face along the way:

“I’m sorry to say so

but, sadly, it’s true

that Bang-ups

and Hang-ups

can happen to you.”

Many of us know first-hand that those “bang-ups and hang-ups” are often the experiences that we learn from, and thus shape us and benefit us the most. But it isn’t always easy to anticipate future challenges, let alone navigate through them and reach the other side with wisdom and perspective. When I embarked on my first international assignment to Shanghai, China, a trusted coach advised me that my success overseas would be dependent on the experience my husband and two children would have as it would be on how well I performed in the job while there.  That advice was invaluable and helped me ensure that – despite my busy work schedule – we spent quality time together as a family through travel and new, shared experiences. Having an experienced coach to guide me enabled me to jump over and even bypass the hurdles many others might face in a similar situation. 

This is one of the reasons I decided to serve as an Executive Coach for the 2018 Johnson & Johnson One Young World(J&J OYW) Change Maker Program. The yearly One Young World Summit brings together over 1,400 young leaders from across the globe and a variety of sectors to share innovative solutions for some of the world’s most pressing issues. For Johnson & Johnson delegates and scholars, the Summit is part of a broader J&J OYW Change Maker Program, an initiative that takes course over six months and provides aspiring young leaders with wrap-around support, from coaching to thought leadership training, so they can further develop their goals and advance their passions.

My Scholar, George Nkhoma,has made it his life’s mission to fight for safe motherhood and healthy lives in Malawi. Originally intent on becoming an engineer, George learned from his family that his mother died giving birth to him, and he resolved to do whatever he could to prevent this from happening to other women in his country.  At just 30 years old, George is a registered nurse midwife who has already accomplished so much and is a passionate leader with growing influence in his community. 

In our first coaching call via WhatsApp, George shared with me some of the obstacles he faces on a personal and professional level in his roles as Program Manager for the maternity unit at Chitipa Hospital and Secretary General of the Association of Malawian Midwives. I listened to him as he discussed his challenges, his aspirations to create an even bigger impact, and his vision of a world where all women have sexual reproductive rights.

Being a coach is not about making choices or solving problems for George, but about listening, and then drawing on my own relevant experiences, insights and methods to enable him to find the path forward that works best for him. By tapping into my network of peers and resources across the globe, I’m hoping I can help George develop a structured framework and tools to approach the problems he’s tackling.

The work George is doing, and the rights he’s championing, are more important than ever. Although we’ve made significant advancements as a global community to safeguard the health of mothers and babies around the world, in 2017, still 2.5 million newbornsdied in their first month of life; more than 300 thousand womendie every year during pregnancy or childbirth; and approximately 70 percent of the world’s populationstill lacks access to safe, affordable and timely essential surgical care. We need to take a collaborative approach and to combine proven methods with innovative new ideas to tackle these lingering problems. We need more public-private partnerships, and we need global solutions with localized perspectives. And of course, we need to empower and support the next generation of leaders, like George, who will change the trajectory of health for humanity.

In the words of Dr. Seuss,

“You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting

So…get on your way!”

About the Johnson & Johnson One Young World Change Maker Program:Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is committed to empowering young health leaders within our Company and beyond to change the trajectory of health for humanity. Since 2013, J&J has partnered with One Young World(OYW) to provide young leaders with unique opportunities to learn from inspirational world leaders and to debate, formulate and share innovative solutions for some of the world’s most pressing health issues. The partnership is managed by J&J Global Community Impact which supports and champions people on the front lines who are at the heart of delivering care. To date, 90 J&J OYW leaders from across the globe have participated in the J&J OYW program. In 2018, 78 J&J OYW delegates will participate in the six months program and attend the OYW Summit in The Hague, The Netherlands from October 17-20.