Passing the torch to the next generation of societal leaders

A Year of Growth: Fellows 2022 Celebrate their Graduation

Last Saturday marked a significant day for Belgium’s 40 under 40: The Fellows of the Cohort 2022, joined by Alumni, Supporters, Mentors, Coaches and the 40u40 Team, came together to celebrate their graduation from the one-year 40u40 program. It was a night of cheers and shared accomplishments, highlighting not only the Fellows’ achievement but also what is to come. The event also welcomed the Fellows of the Cohort 2023, offering them a glimpse of the journey that awaits them in the future.
The Fellows celebrate their Graduation

Celebrating Cohort 2022’s Graduation

One year ago, the Fellows of the Cohort 2022 met at TheMerode for their first Forum. During the past twelve months, they created new, meaningful connections with each other and learned about their societal impact and role as leaders in society. On their graduation day on Saturday, they celebrate their journey together.

The evening started with welcome drinks and words from the 40u40 Team before the Fellows took over the stage. First, they presented testimonials about their journey in the past year and the lessons they have learned. The Fellows then engaged the Community in a lively game, offering insights into their endeavors and key takeaways. They organized an interactive quiz, which included the most memorable quotes said during the year and showcased the highlights of the Mentorship. The Conversation Circles were praised, and insider information were shared: Did you know that meetups took place in not only office spaces, but also bars and even swimming pools!

The Fellows also presented two of their Field Works: The website How deep is your love and the conference BeClimate Hub, both projects targeting the promotion of sustainable practices. The game concluded with the most exciting question of them all: What does Laurent Coulie, CEO and Co-founder of 40u40, like the most about the program? The answer was the joyful tradition of tossing him into the air during the graduation ceremony, filling the room with laughter and cheers. Once Laurent’s feet touched the ground again, he expressed some words of gratitude for the past year and handed out the diplomas. The evening unfolded with a walking dinner and drinks.

CEO and Co-founder Laurent Coulie is being thrown in the air

Fellow’s Feedback: Conversation Circles as 40u40 Highlight

At their graduation, the Fellows shared their thoughts and feelings on the one-year program. The Conversation Circles were lauded with a lot of positive feedback. Once a month, eight Fellows would meet up with a Coach to discuss all types of topics, personal challenges, and leadership development questions. “My Circle was one of the best parts of the 40u40 program. We had a good energy and could listen, share, and support each other”, states Sherihane Bensemmane about her experience with 40u40. Marie Logé and Alexis Safarikas also applaud the Conversation Circles, with Marie describing them as a “game changer” that felt “transformative, challenging and like a safe space.” Thanks to the Conversation Circles, they learned the meaning of deep listening: “I thought I was a good listener until I joined a Conversation Circle”, Alexis Safarikas says, “The biggest lesson I gained from the 40u40 program was on the topic of ‘deep listening.’ Through the Forums, but also through the Conversation Circles and the Mentorship, I discovered how to use this listening capability in my daily life.”
Conversation Circle with their Coach Yves Poullet

It is only the beginning of the Journey

For many, the program was an opportunity to grow and learn lessons that will accompany them for their whole life, on a personal as well as professional level. Anne-Sophie Aberi-Moska states the “40u40 journey has profoundly and irreversibly contributed to impact and transform me for life. As growing in ‘being myself’, I feel today more aligned, grounded, and confident and inspired to dare embracing bold choices for my life in every sphere.” Sandro Iacovella describes 40u40 as an organization that “turns aspiring individuals towards a better tomorrow, into a more self-assured community for a better future. Sharing both setbacks and dreams openly within this group has lowered my fears and strengthened my ambitions to have a lasting impact on the people surrounding me.”

The end of the program is just the beginning of a new journey.

With the program coming to an end, there is a bittersweet feeling of goodbyes and accomplishments. However, the Fellows continue being part of the 40u40 Community as Alumni, “The end of the program is just the beginning of a new journey”, as Gregoire de Hemptinne points out. Peru Dharani shares that for him, the “40u40, just like another idealistic program, Erasmus Mundus, has and will have a lasting impact on my life. The journey has just started”.
The Fellows shared their Field Work with the Community
Closing words from the 40u40 Team
Alumni Sebastien Deletaille, Luigi Sementilli, Amaury Timmermans celebrating the graduation

Words of Gratitude

The 40u40 Team wants to take the opportunity to express appreciation and gratitude towards the Fellows. The Fellow Chanukya Patnaik expressed his gratitude to Belgium’s 40 under 40, saying he is “Grateful for all memories, meaningful/courageous conversations, and learnings. Couldn’t have asked for anything better.” The 40u40 Team reciprocates the sentiment wholeheartedly. The enthusiasm and commitment of the Cohort 2022 have been fundamental in the success of the program. The Team is truly happy to welcome the Fellows of 2022 as Alumni in the Community.
Fellows of the Cohort 2022


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