After their successful event “TBS Leaders Prize” that was launched in April 2013 promoting the image of Tunisia through TBS students’ creative ads, TBS Leaders Club takes a step forward to inspire change and launches a new event with a series of talks: TBS Talks. The event invites professionals to share their ideas in a 15-minute talk. As an initiative to pave the way for multi-disciplinary, TBS Talks gives floor to a variety of professionals from independent speakers, TAYPers, and TBS teachers.
Building on the academic spirit and continuous learning, the club gives an equal opportunity to TBS students to talk about their experience. Themes vary each year focusing on current issues relating to ersonal development, professional progress, civil society activism and entrepreneurship.
The first edition of TBS Talks was held on November 20, 2013 at the Tunis Business School. It was organized by TBS Leaders Club in partnership with TAYP and was sponsored by BSB Toyota, La9mouchet Lebnen, Space of Wisdom, Les Ecoles Idéales, Chopain, and Le Perroquet. The role of media was also important in the success of the event as RTCI, Radio 6 and Mosaique FM hosted representatives from the club to give an overview about the event, club activities and partnerships.
The title of this edition was “Going International: Growing Internationally is the Key to Ongoing Progress.” An enthusiastic audience of up to 400 students, high rank guests and teachers added success to the event as they all enjoyed our guest speakers’ talks that turned out to be inspirational, underlying and inciting leadership characteristics along through paving the way to youth empowerment.
Leadership quality or characteristics were demonstrated through the guest speakers’ diversity of thoughts drawn from their different professional and cultural backgrounds. They were Tunisians and visitors from Italy, Belgium and the USA. Each thus gave a talk on a different area of his/her expertise.
Mondher khanfir, president of TAYP Tunisia and CEO of Wiki Start Up speech focused on the preconceptions and paradoxes of International Growth. Mondher stressed how the best people who can give effective tips on entrepreneurship are entrepreneurs themselves and raised the question about the impact of growth on humanity.
TBS was represented by two of its visiting teachers, Dr. Corinna Mullin and Stefano Capodagli. Corinna Mullin, a Research Associate & Assistant professor in International Relations presented effective civil society nationally and internationally. Stephano Capodagli, a Money and Banking teacher and Senior Industrial and Risk Advisor at the African Bank of Development, introduced the audience to leadership tips putting stress on strengths, opportunities, effective listening and being an instigator. Another guest from the African Bank of Development, a Senior consultant and Risk advisor, Dominiek Vangaever accounted for developing banking and its increasing involvement in private sector and entrepreneurship.
Again drawing on their professional and personal experiences in order to inspire change, three guest speakers stressed entrepreneurship through a different spectrum of circumstances. Mourad Ghalleb- founder and CEO of the chain of private schools, Les Ecoles Idéales- gave a talk on entrepreneurship and risk taking against all odds. He highlighted the struggle of entrepreneurs when it comes to introducing new project concepts and culture.
Seif Bzainia, an account delivery manager at HP, tackled freelance and how to start business in our current situation. Haykel Azak, Head of communication and marketing at Mercedes Benz Tunisia, played on the notion of building/ starting a successful career. From these speakers, one better understands that the pursuit one’s dreams and taking risks are major ingredients to start, persevere and succeed.
Three more travel experiences called for the importance of the being-global attitude as the key to ongoing progress. Najla Abbes, civil society activist and exchange program administrator, shared her personal and professional experience to stress the importance of “being on the move,” “taking initiative” and life philosophies like “don’t ask don’t get” or “measuring one’s capacity”. In this respect, she highlighted the idea of living globally in one’s local community as a valuable shortcut to success and self-fulfillment.
As the event targets youth empowerment through inspirational talks, it also pushed youth impact further and engaged a TBS student in the experience of talks. Jihen Ben Yahia, a Junior TBS student spoke about her experience in the coca cola contest 2013 highlighting the need for immersion in the business world. She stressed working on business plans, developing entrepreneurship skills and meeting business professionals and how the exchange program brings about follow ups and large networking platforms.
To see the impact of exchange programs from the opposite angle, the club also invited the American exchange student, Jackie Whittaker to talk about her experience in Mexico, West Bank, Jordon, France, Spain and Tunisia.
The choice of speakers from different backgrounds and nationalities hence stressed the importance of international experience and its equal impact on Tunisians and non-Tunisians.
Youth empowerment through talks as well as action was the major goal of the event. TBS Leaders Club thus set again the bar high and involved 45 of its active members in the preparation of every detail. Board members, who were still students, coordinated with their teacher supervisor, Ines Ghalleb. Then the six board members, Slim Daoues (club president), Samira Ben Belaid (Talks department manager), Hiba Jaouadi (Head of Internal department), Alaeddine Bagga ( Head of Entertainment department), Hachem Gaieb (Workshop department manager) and finally Meriam Ben Rebah (Head of External department) each run coordination dealing with 9 to 20 members in each department.
They dissected tasks as they worked on the promotion of the event in and out of TBS, They reached out to sponsors, Tunisian comedians and media; they reached out to different clubs at the university involving the charity, music, dance and drama clubs. They also reached out to a number of guest speakers and guests of honor. All fell under tight coordination with the university administration as well and the approval and support of the dean Dr. Salah Ben Abdallah.
The club also appreciated the assistance of other teachers either as coordinators of the involved clubs or as supporters of cultural activities. TBS Talks 2013 was therefore the platform that engaged not only professionals but also students both at the level of organization and artistic performances. This platform was intended as an amplifier of ideas and multiplier of action.
Students members of TBS Leaders club kept expressing how accomplished they felt and repeating the slogan Stefano invited them to chant: “we know the way, we lead the way, we walk the way.” One student from the audience later reported that seeing a 20-year-old student speak about her rich experience in the West Bank made her want to start somewhere, she therefore took the decision to get involved in the launching of TBS English Radio. Other students grew aware of the importance of talks and leadership traits and took the initiative to present their project work in class through a Talk. These students saw idols in the speakers and expressed their aspiration to grow up like those who inspired them. Youth empowerment was also seen in the host experience, Fedia and Malek were selected to be the hosts of the event through a casting of 13 candidates. Malek is sophomore with a former experience in hosting and Fedia as a Freshman stood for the first time of her life on stage to host in English. Both revealed the challenge and presented the event managing improvisation and balancing between formality and informality with a professional touch. TBS music, drama and dance Clubs also worked hard to present well-done performances. The event came to an end in a pleasant atmosphere with a sketch by the Tunisian Comedian Jaafer Guesmi and a get together reception accompanied by music club performance.
What was remarkable is the very fact that the dean, guest speakers, audience, organizers, teachers, clubs, sponsors and TAYP all welcomed the initiative with a remarkable willingness and enthusiasm which helped create a successful and positive atmosphere and stress how Tunisians and visitors both believe in Tunisia and are willing to make the change. The club still has a lot to offer, building a whole generation of leaders and movers. The professionalism and hard work of TBS Leaders Club members was rewarded as they won the Club of the Year Award of 2013.