MEGHANN Blog Header

There is no question Davos is more than a magic mountain, a boys club, and an annual meeting. Something unique happens in that town each year, and I am not sure if I can do it justice here on the blog. I will, however, try to share my lessons learned, insights, and highlights!

Early on, I kept hearing that it’s the serendipitous moments that occur in Davos that make it so special:

Just let them happen. Don’t over-plan or over exhaust yourself. Let the week happen, and take it in–Davos will do the rest.

Now back in Charlotte, digesting all that transpired is almost harder than the week itself. While in Davos, my goal was to take it all in and to experience as much as possible. Now my challenge is to do something of value in response; act; as Ghandi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”



People have asked, “What was your ‘Davos Moment’??” It’s hard to say, really. So many moments are frozen in time, emblazoned in my brain. It will have a lasting flame that will continue to challenge me, inspire me, and encourage me that I can be part of the change in the word.


Image courtesy of and belongs to World Economic Forum’s Photostream

With this said, there are plenty of insane/surreal snippets worth sharing! For example, running into Bill Gates as I left a Microsoft reception and thanking him for daring to be different; sitting down for lunch with Jeffrey Sachs talking about Development Partnerships, asking, “How do we spur innovation?”. Professor Sachs sat there in conversation with not just me but also Kofi Annan and Muhammad Yunus. They are in agreement: technology will positive effect illiteracy, education, and healthcare. Achievement and effective partnerships require a multilateral approach. They gave the example of The Global Fund and GAVI Alliance as organizations doing it right, making it very clear that the private sector cannot do it alone. The government needs a stake as well. Mark Dybul from The Global Fund spoke on homegrown solutions and innovation that stems from a local level. It brought me back to what The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame said, “Africa’s story has been written by others; we need to own our problems and solutions and write our story.”



Image courtesy of and belongs to World Economic Forum’s Photostream

We also constantly discussed the Future Role of Civil Society. At a breakfast I attended, hosted at the World Food Program tent with KPMG, we focused on civil society crossing boundaries, about civil society being the glue, the voice of the unheard and powerless. We also concluded that no government can take care of their people in total; presidents and prime ministers alike stood in the room agreeing. We looked at social media and the role it plays in civil society by giving people a voice. Someone spoke on how there is no real democracy without real participation and that voice brings trust.

The need to tackle the youth unemployment issue around the world was consistent throughout many conversations. At a breakfast hosted by Barclay’s Chief Executive, Antony Jenkins, we talked about young professionals and our unique situation. Rajeep Dey, a YGL and founder of StartUp Britain, pointed to small and medium size enterprises and startups as the solution. We see how entrepreneurship can play a role but also considered how youth unemployment is changing the nature of work globally. The CEOs in the room and the head of corporate citizenship from KPMG challenged everyone to personally take on the cause, to use their leverage to influence governments, and to bring this conversation to the “Corridors of Power” that is Davos. They highlighted the need and understand the urgency of its effect on the sustainability of a company. Again, technology plays a big part of the solution here. UNICEF’s use of The Digital Drum to bring mobile connection to rural areas in Africa was one example of a sustainable solution to increase access to information for youth and their communities. About 10% of Ugandans currently use the Internet, and a majority live in rural settings with little to no access to information across areas of health, education, job training, and protection from violence and abuse.


Image courtesy of and belongs to World Economic Forum’s Photostream

The Global Education Imperative was by far one of my favorite sessions, which is not surprising, really. UN General Secretary Ban Ki- Moon opened by saying education is his priority in his 2nd term. He wants to build global citizens and to improve the quality of learning. “As a boy, I studied in the dirt. There was no classroom. Education made me what I am, it made my dream come true… I shared my message with refugee children: Don’t lose hope, study hard. I did it, you can do it too,” he urged. Jim Yong Kim from the World Bank wants to be a “solutions bank.” Helle ThorningSchmidt, Denmark’s Prime Minister believes education is a public good but more importantly a long term investment. The entire panel spoke on how the private sector needs to support and engage in this area. Gordon Brown coming from government, looks at himself as an education advocate and is proud of it. The Western Union CEO, Hikmet Ersek, looked at education as a positive for shareholders because the youth are the next generation of customers. With 15 million kids not in school around the globe, the Minister of Technology from Nigeria, Omobola Johnson, talked about how ICT can compliment classroom. The panel spoke on increasing access to online teachers training to reach more people. Queen Rania of Jordon said earlier in the week, “Good teachers teach. Great teachers transform,” and TFFT is also resolute in this belief. The panel correlated education with economic growth indicating, according to Kim from the World Bank, that “for every year of education a child gets, there is 6% in economic growth for that country.”

The main challenge was also clear, however, and that is the science of delivery (going to scale). Jim Yong Kim stated the social sector hasn’t focused on science of delivery, and this poses a problem. The bottom line is that education is key to everything from better health system to stronger corporations. Education harnesses potential, leads to growth, and stimulates change.

Surreal was a word we used constantly last week. If I had to boil everything down to one surreal moment, it was probably sitting in the speakers lounge with Gordon Brown, Ban Ki-Moon, Muhtar KentMukesh Ambani, Hikmet Ersek and Klauss Schwab. However, my “Davos Moment” had to be when I was walking from the Belvedere to the Congress Center. A man behind me was whistling a tune, and I turned to thank him for his entertainment. We got to talking, and it turns out he is a YGL from London running a hedge fund. I told him what I do both as a Global Shaper and professionally, running The Foundation For Tomorrow.

He handed me his card and told me he had a fund to invest in social issues in Tanzania, and he would love to see how he could help me. I think that pretty much sums up what Davos can do. People are there to close deals, collaborate, and change the state of this world. Everyone is engaged, excited, and inclusive. I am humbled to be a part of this community of influential people doing great work. It is truly a community wiling to use their wealth and notoriety to push the causes they believe in forward. It takes all types to make the world go round, and this past week proved that to me!

While a blog can’t nearly describe all lessons learned or what the experience can mean to you, these videos and snippets from last week might get you thinking. I hope they inspire you as they have me and that they spark an interest you’ve never had before. ENJOY!!

To hear more about The Global Agenda take a moment to watch this video: The Global Agenda

To hear what Bill Gates, MIT Pres etc think about education and technology watch the public session here: – Philanthropic Roundtable

To learn about NGOs being new models for the 21st century watch this session:

De-risking Africa:

The Global Development Outlook:

Future of Higher Education:

Women in Economic Decision Making:

The session I contributed on regarding Meeting Millennial Expectations

Shaping post-2015 development Agenda:

The session I contributed on with regards to how Millennials are changing business and society:

Smart Girls: