When I was first introduced to the idea of Cultural Intelligence or CQ, I didn’t quite understand it. The Global Leader Experience (GLE) in New York helped me gain an understanding of CQ and its relevance. I was, therefore, able to incorporate CQ not only in this year’s challenge question, but also in my interactions with my team members at the programme. One of the aspects of GLE which I enjoyed - and cemented my understanding of CQ - was learning about core and flex. I learnt how my values may or may not overlap with others. This made me appreciate how diverse our group was.

Each person in the programme had amazing experiences to share.  I was blown away by the creative solutions my team members brought to the table during the brainstorm sessions for the final project. My group was incredibly dynamic, with many passionate voices sharing their past experiences as well as things they recently learnt. However, I did feel a little intimidated at first to pitch in my thoughts since there were so many ideas being shared. But I felt more comfortable to contribute as we grew closer as a team.

I am naturally introverted but this experience truly opened my eyes in that it showed me how leaders are not defined by how extroverted or introverted they are. While contributing and listening are important, respecting others’ opinions one does not agree with, is equally important. I am grateful for taking part in the Common Purpose programme. It has given me many life lessons, and an opportunity to bond with talented individuals. The programme also helped me recognize values I cherish and why they make me unique.