YT contributor Ekaterina Kuznetsova met with Victoria a few days before an exciting event called Unleash organized by young people for young people. Youth Time will be attending Unleash, so if you get a chance to attend, hurry up to sign up to enjoy the Festival & to meet a lot of inspiring people. There are a lot of youth who are eager to start own businesses but it is not always as easy as it seems. Victoria, Head of Community at Pangea, is somebody who made it but also wants to open the doors for the other youngsters. She wants to debunk the myth that young people are incapable of professional work and sufficient results. Listen to Victoria’s story of how she got involved with Pangea, what challenges does she face as a young person and what to expect from Unleash.
Tell us more about Pangea? What exactly is it?
Pangea is a youth-led company working on solving the real challenges that many big companies are facing in every sector. We believe in the potential of our generation to find innovative solutions to those challenges of our Era.
When did it start and why?
Pangea started almost 3 years ago because we felt that a lot of young people had hard times finding the right career paths in their lives. We, as young but ambitious people, wanted to help our peers with that. Everybody said we are too young, we have no experience. Many people think that sometimes to achieve something you have to either come from a rich family or get into a very respectable University while having connections. Certainly, both factors help but Pangea was created with a goal to prove that young generation is capable of many things, such as leadership, for example. We create inspiring experiences to empower our generation and help them to reach the solutions for many of the challenges that they face.
For instance, for many companies it is hard to reach out for young talent and keep them engaged in their company. Sometimes it’s because of the existing hierarchy, or their strict processes. We launch an open call to our young community and build up a team of people who work together on giving an innovative solution to the specific challenge. With this methodology, we’ve solved changes such as: creating new products and services for our generation, adapting communication towards our generation, building new working spaces and developing new working methodologies for companies.
We believe our generation has a huge responsibility in shaping the future we want to live in.
How is Pangea different from the other organizations?
Pangea is run by the youth, for the youth. The average age of our team is 22 years old. So we know what our generation needs and expects, and we also know very well our potential. It’s true that we work with companies on solving real challenges they’re facing, but we are not consultants ourselves, our mission is to create groups of young passionate individuals in the sector to innovate in solving the challenge. That’s the main difference comparing us to Consultancy companies. We don’t organize current conferences, but we rather create experiences where a conference is designed as a festival. We aim to ensure a good time for participants while they’re learning.That’s the main difference comparing to any company or events organization.
What motivates you to work at Pangea personally?
I’m part of the youth, I felt the frustration personally, and standing for the potential of my generation really motivates me. I studied Law&Business, at the same time I studied languages and dancing, cause I love dancing. I’ve always considered myself a hard worker. I wasn’t born in a wealthy family or in an international atmosphere, so I had to start from scratch without anyone’s help. It’s very hard to find opportunities when you don’t have connections, I know how it feels. One day I met Pablo, who is today’s CEO of Pangea, and realized that i wasn’t the only one frustrated. By that time, I was working on a creative proposal for Nike, and asked Pablo to help me get in touch with the company. Before I could do it, Pablo told me his idea about Pangea and how he wanted to inspire our generation and change the rules. I got so involved with it that I forgot about Nike proposal. 2 years later, Pangea has changed a lot, we are not only focused on events organizing, we now help companies to make the most of the talent of our generation. Our young community is huge, and I see the sparks in the young people’ eyes which is amazing! It’s really exciting because I do feel we’re making an impact. Changing the world is not only about donating money to NGOs or go volunteering in Africa. I respect people who do that, and I also do it myself, but I also believe there is so much we can do in our developed countries… We also face challenges everyday, and our society has much to develop yet. We are called “developed countries” but we have so much to learn, and all the innovation that this Digital Era brings to us is a huge opportunity to do so .
Being a young person yourself and running an organization – do you face more challenges than older, more experienced people in the business?
For sure. I don’t have a mentor, there is no instructions guide to help me making decisions. I learn by making mistakes. For example, a very important thing that I learned is: expectations management. When you work with big companies, with employees (especially young energetic ones), and suppliers, there are many people’s expectations on stake. We are a small company and have little resources, that means we cannot offer high salaries and we have to work double to offer great results to our clients. So managing expectations well is essential not to disappoint anyone. I also learned how important is to say NO. We do NOT do everything at any cost. Building your own companies is a huge responsibility, and we are being told that you need to keep going at any cost. But, really, at any cost? And.. for how long? Those are very interesting questions that everybody wonders when working in a startup. And yes, I use the word “working” instead of owning. In a startup, everybody feels that they are part of the board, everybody feels their daily work has a daily impact on Pangea. I’m happy to be part of the team I belong to nowadays and even grateful for all the obstacles we went through – they only made us stronger.
What are the biggest advantages of your work?
Learning by doing. I keep growing personally and professionally day after day. I’m creating a network that most people of my age couldn’t imagine of starting. By the way, do you remember when I explained I how got involved in Pangea because I was frustrated with the lack of opportunities? Well, I found my way. Now opportunities rain everyday. So, when you work hard, sooner or later you always succeed.
Victoria Suárez and her team
Tell us more about your upcoming event, Unleash.
Unleash is one of those experiences we create to inspire and empower our generation. It’s an international conference in a format of the Festival, happening in Madrid, Spain. There are still a few days to sign up, so don’t miss your chance. There will be inspiring speakers, as well as artists of many disciplines. We believe talent exists in many ways and the world shouldn’t miss any of them. This is why we are gathering together talented people from finance, technology, fashion, music, dancing, business, human rights, and much more. 500 international attendees under 26 will enjoy this exciting 3-day experience. They will learn new trends in different sectors, will get inspired by real stories from young individuals, who are living their passion and making a difference, and they will do lot of meaningful networking too!
What is Pangea’s biggest dream and goals for the future?
Our dream is to become a reference for our generation. The platform that the youth feels they can identify with, and that helps them to find their path in life. We want to be a reference also for companies, which are struggling to attract young talents but with our assistance they would know how to work together.
Photos: From archive of Victoria Suárez
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