Bangladesh Brand Forum collaborating with the US Embassy and Edward M Kenedy Center has initiated the Virtual Youth Mentoring Program. The project is called 'iLead' and aims to inspire and groom Bangladeshi youth through engaging local leaders, experts and globally recognised Bangladeshi professionals. The first event featured a virtual talk with Bangladeshi-American entrepreneur Sumaya Kazi. The second exclusive virtual session was with Bickey Russell, Head of Agency Development, Channel Sales Partnerships at Google. The event was held on July 2 at AIUB auditorium in Dhaka.
The event started off with a presentation by Liton Baul, General Manager, Bangladesh Brand Forum, who gave a brief introduction on how BBF was doing its part to enhance the entrepreneurial culture within the business sector of the country. There was a short and encouraging speech about the significance of being prepared by Calvin Hayes, Cultural Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy, Dhaka, who rightly said, “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” After that, Dr. Charles Villaneuva, Pro VC and Dean of AIUB Business School, stressed on the importance of choosing one's career of interest despite societal pressure.
Finally Bickey Russell, from San Francisco, was connected through Google Hangouts by Salman Hossain, co-founder of Google Business Group. Russell consistently kept his audience engrossed by recounting his journey and various key learning. He spoke about growing up in Bangladesh and then getting his Bachelor's degree in Geography from King's College, London. He talked about how he went on to satisfy his curiosity for the subject and then go on to work in a challenging field like technology. He joined Google over six years ago and his team focuses on partnering with media agencies as they endeavour to grow their businesses with Google Advertising Solutions.
Russell enthusiastically spoke about his desire to make some significant contributions to the economy of Bangladesh. 'Google Translate-Bengali' was an outcome of his sincere efforts to re-connect with his motherland. One of the focussed subjects of the session was entrepreneurship and Russell touched upon various issues every upcoming entrepreneur needs to consider. Two commercial and creative ads of Google were shown to the audience to demonstrate the organisation's advancement toward supporting entrepreneurs. Russell expressed his delight about the current entrepreneurial rise in Bangladesh and applauded young entrepreneurs for their resourcefulness and hard work which have turned Bangladesh into a lucrative option for potential investors.
He advised everyone in the room to ask 'why' and inspired all to choose the career paths that they were passionate about, even if it required to go beyond comfort zones. “If you are comfortable, you stop learning. Climb the uncomfortable so that you can achieve something bigger,” he said. He also urged everyone to be self-aware and self-critical so that there is always room for improvement.
The event was wrapped up by an interactive question-answer session. The apparent success of the session left the organisers motivated to plan more such virtual mentoring sessions in the future.
The event was put together by Bangladesh Brand Forum, EMK Center, Google Business Group, JCI Dhaka West and special support from AIUB Business Club.
SHOUT was the media partner of the event.