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MCP Alumnus Named Global Shaper

 MCP Alum Jes Laing has been named the first Global Shaper of 2014 by ARCADIS

Community Planning alumnus Jes Laing '13, a Roadway Design Engineer for the consulting firm ARCADIS, has been named a Global Shaper by the company. ARCADIS is an international consulting firm specializing in design, engineering, and project management, with 22,000 employees throughout the world. The Global Shapers Program provides 100 young professionals from the company the opportunity to improve ARCADIS, create more international connections, and share knowledge. The program is about learning through working together in an international group, and participants work together virtually and in face-to-face meetings around the world to improve and grow the company. The Global Shaper program seeks to create international connections, facilitate and improve knowledge sharing, and create a ripple effect for its offices by making sure that the Global Shaper challenge is taken back home.

MCP Alumni Jes Laing with other Global Shapers in Chicago

Jes Laing with other Global Shapers in Chicago

This year, the company decided to change the application process for the Global Shapers program by selecting one winner to be the “Sherlock Shaper,” in which more than 300 people competed in various challenges and tasks. Ultimately one winner was chosen as the “Sherlock Shaper” who got to bypass the regular application process. Laing was announced the winner of the “Sherlock Shaper” competition, making her the first Global Shaper of 2014, and the first ever Sherlock Shaper.

MCP Alumni Jes Laing with other Global Shapers in Chicago

Jes Laing and colleagues in the Global Shapers
program participating in team-building exercises

Laing and her seven team members started the virtual phase of the program in July. The team that Laing has been working with spans the globe—all the way to China. At the end of each month, the team meets via skype to discuss their progress, the future of the company, and how to help the company grow globally. They had face-to-face meetings in Chicago in October.>

The program in Chicago was five days long and concluded by meeting all of the top 150 global company leaders. The program included team building exercises such as a ropes course to learn how 100 leaders cannot all lead at once. According to Laing, “Everyone needs to find the place where they can work the best and working as a team does not always mean you get to lead.”

At the end of the meetings in Chicago, the teams presented all of their ideas and tools that they had produced to make ARCADIS a more global and united company. According to Laing, it was a lot of work but very rewarding, “There were times when we were up until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning but had to be up at 7:15 a.m. for sport the next day. It was intense. It was crazy. It was amazing.”

MCP Alumni Jes Laing with other Global Shapers in Chicago

Global Shapers program puts MCP Alumni in contact
with ARCADIS Global CEO and the Global CFO

The program has also put Laing in contact with the global leadership team of the company, including the CFO of the division in France. Laing notes that this has been a very rewarding part of the program, “I would never be able to have contact with them outside of this program. Learning from the global leaders of the company was enriching for Laing professionally and personally. She notes, “The one lasting quote that my global CEO said to me was ‘Ask for forgiveness, not for permission.’ He challenged us to go for our goals and don't let the perception of being ‘entry level’ stand in your way. Since ARCADIS is a Dutch company, they operate on a flat organization, meaning that the ideas can come from the bottom up. There isn't a monopoly of good ideas with the top leaders.”