180DC Ghent Summit 2023: Breaking Ground with Branches in Belgium

180DC Global Leadership Team

Having an intricate network of more than 10,000 volunteers across 35 countries, along with a globally dispersed leadership team, 180 Degrees Consulting (180DC) highly values opportunities to foster robust relationships. With our Global Leadership Team (GLT) living up to its name and consisting of members all over the world, our commitment to understanding and connecting with our diverse branches is fundamental to our ethos at 180DC. An example of this commitment is in the facilitation of impactful offline events, such as the 180DC Ghent Summit 2023.

The GLT led the Ghent Summit last November, during which they developed stronger connections with the 180DC branches in Belgium. The Summit consisted of four 180DC branches, which were host branch Ghent, as well as Antwerp, Brussels and Leuven. Each branch introduced themselves to the rest of the group, sharing their organisational differences and operational strategies in an effort to compare best practices.

The Summit served as an opportunity for participants to network and socialise with one another offline, which created a memorable contrast to the usual virtual meetings between the GLT and branches. Everyone bonded during various team building activities throughout the entire weekend, from a city-wide scavenger hunt to an action-packed escape room. These activities enabled the participants to develop relationships with individuals from other 180DC branches in their country and with GLT members.

During the Summit, the GLT shared their strategic orientation with the three focus areas of external value creation, people development, and community management. They also enlightened the participants about 180DC’s prioritised initiatives for the year 2024, which all aim to improve their client-facing services, to invest in the growth of their employees and volunteers, and to foster a stronger community. This helped the articipants develop a better understanding of 180DC as an entire organisation, including the role of the GLT in supporting 180DC branches.

The Summit participants collaborated with one another in a workshop, where everyone brainstormed ways to improve the GLT’s initiatives in line with their strategic orientation. 

Throughout the Summit, there were a total of seven workshop topics discussed in which participants actively contributed their uniquely insightful branch-level perspectives on the GLT’s ongoing work:

  1. Branch type system classification
  2. Creating a social impact leader program
  3. Improving GLT and branch communication
  4. Building a stronger alumni network
  5. 180DC exchange and project collaborations
  6. Global and regional summits
  7. Partnership rollouts

As part of improving GLT and branch communication, the participants emphasised how achieving a balance between social and professional initiatives at 180DC can enhance the relationship between the GLT and branches. The past year has shown us the value of investing in offline social engagements, as well as professional and educational ones. Having hosted a regional APAC Summit, a GLT Athens Summit, and two collaborative summits in Belgium and Australia in the year 2023 alone, 180DC has been able to come closer together as a community bound not only by social impact but also by friendships across the globe. Going forward, we would like to continue scaling up similar social, professional, and educational offline initiatives such as social evenings and team building experiences, as well as knowledge-sharing sessions, case competitions, interactive workshops, recruitment opportunities, and a mentoring programme.

While discussing alumni relations, participating branches also expressed their desire to utilise 180DC’s incredible global alumni database to expand their personal and professional networks, seek mentorship opportunities, and gain valuable early-career insights. In 2024, we are focused on developing the systems and infrastructure required to bring our branch members and leadership team closer to our alumni through improved communications initiatives.

Following all of the meaningful conversations and connections built, and valuable insights gained from the recent Ghent Summit, the GLT is looking forward to hosting another one in London in Spring 2024, and more to come throughout the year! We hope to further cultivate a sense of community in the year to come, fostering both social impact and lasting friendships across the globe.

To get a glimpse of our Ghent Summit, please visit our YouTube channel at - https://www.youtube.com/@180DegreesConsulting/featured where we will be releasing a series of videos from the event!

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