AIESEC’s Youth To Business Forum

By Irma Guardado

AIESEC San Jose, a student ran organization focused on providing an international platform for youth leadership and development by offering paid internships and other opportunities abroad, held its first Youth to Business (Y2B) forum at SJSU on Thursday, Nov. 20.

The forum aims to bridge young people and business leaders together to dialogue and discuss youth issues. The theme of the forum was Breaking Barriers.

The forum consisted of keynote speakers, a skills workshop and action/networking space. Keynote speakers and panelists included leaders from companies like Yahoo!, Cisco, GoPro and TechShop.

Here are some of the keynote speakers’ takeaways:

  • Bonita Banducci, founder of the Global Women’s Leadership Network and coach for the Women Leaders for the World Program, emphasized the importance of men and women working together, and how the number of women in a group is linked to a group’s ability to solve complex problems.
  • Maciej Kranz, Vice President, Corporate Strategic Innovation Group Cisco Systems, reminded us how we are all biased. We tend to look for people who look or act like us, especially when we pick members for our group projects. As a solution, Kranz emphasized the need to be aware of our biases and to do something about it. Be conscious of the people you reach out to and actively seek to learn about other cultures beyond the stereotypes.
  • Dariusz Paczuski, Head of Growth Communications at Yahoo! and the Founder of Rocket Vodka, reminded us that we are not perfect, but what’s important is to create the perfect team by looking at our strengths and the strengths of others.

During the skills workshop, panelists Kelly Fuson from GoPro, Keo Sar from the Lending Club, Maica Gil with the California-Spain Chamber of Commerce and Raffie Colet from TechShop, shared their experiences and how diversity in the workplace can make you feel more capable to accomplish your goals.

The forum attendees were then asked to break into small action groups. Keynote speakers and panelists joined in as well and the groups collaboratively created solutions about current youth issues.

The groups presented ideas such as developing internships, learning about others’ culture and traveling. Others shared personal experiences on how they overcame barriers, it was truly inspiring.


Irma GuardadoIrma Guardado is the marketing and communications intern at the SJSU Career Center. Irma is a third-year student majoring in public relations. Irma enjoys uncovering the needs of indiviuals to create meaningful experiences and share stories.



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