YCI » Overview

 

Young innovators in the culture and arts sector are providing some of the most imaginative new impulses for social improvement and sustainable development around the world today. They change the way we see and interact with each other. Young artists, creative entrepreneurs and  cultural leaders demonstrate  the  creative  vision,  talent, and  energy  that  our  societies  so  desperately  need  to  meet  the challenges of the 21st century.

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI) is a ten-year project launched by Salzburg Global Seminar in 2014 to engage fifty of the world's most dynamic young creative changemakers every year.

The young cultural innovators join the annual Forum in Salzburg from “YCI hubs” in six regions of the world to help them develop the dynamic vision, entrepreneurial skills, and global networks needed to advance their organizations, their causes and their communities. The YCI Forum represents a major commitment by Salzburg Global Seminar to fostering creative innovation and entrepreneurship worldwide with the intention of building a more vibrant and resilient arts sector and of advancing sustainable economic development, positive social change agendas, and urban transformation worldwide. 

Upcoming Session in 2017:

Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators IV
October 14 to 19, 2017

Peter Jenkinson and Shelagh Wright
in conversation about the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators


 

 


Felipe Buitrago: “We are in an age of innovation”
Felipe Buitrago: “We are in an age of innovation”
Oscar Tollast 
Sitting in the finely decorated Chinese Room at Schloss Leopoldskron, Felipe Buitrago’s reason for being at Salzburg Global is simple. “I am at the Salzburg Global Seminar because I want to make the world economy a more creative economy.” Mr Buitrago is consultant of the Division of Cultural Affairs, Solidarity and Creativity at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C, where he leads the Cultural and Creative Economy Lab. He found himself, among other leading thinkers, at Salzburg Global earlier this month for a strategy session entitled ‘Promoting the Next Generation of Cultural Entrepreneurs: Planning for Success’. The aim of the session was to help evolve the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum into a 10-year program. “There’s a partnership that is starting to make an innovative approach, which at the same time returns to its roots,” said Mr Buitrago, describing the significance of the session. “The cultural sector in particular is way behind in many of the strategic discussions at a global level. It’s very important that it’s included here now and focused on young cultural entrepreneurs. “We are in an age of innovation and the fact that [cultural entrepreneurs] are taking the risk to try new formats [and] involve people in a different way is very important.” For over 11 years, Mr Buitrago has worked in creative economy development on behalf of the Colombian Ministry of Culture, the British Council, the Ibero-American Observatory of Copyright (ODAI), and separately as an independent consultant and university professor. He described the strategy session’s topic as very important and relevant to the work being conducted at the Inter-American Development Bank. The bank is aiming to improve the communication tools for cultural entrepreneurs in the Latin American and Caribbean region. It aims to reaffirm the relevance of the creative and cultural industries for regional economic development. Speaking during the session, Mr Buitrago said, “Being here, meeting these very interesting people from all over the world helps me understand better what I’m doing. With that I can actually improve my ability to communicate and reach out for the similar leaders across the region.” Mr Buitrago would like to see more opportunities given to young people, to help develop their skills and provide employment. However, he suggested the world was in the middle of a large economic transition. Past economic disruptions have been caused by developments in agriculture and the industrial revolution. Mr Buitrago suggested the latest disturbance was being caused by digitization. “The new generation is coming through with new skills [and] has a different relationship with technology, but the people managing the economies are not aware how it works. “It’s our job to try and help people, especially the people in charge right now to understand what’s coming next so they can start preparing the ground for them.” Mr Buitrago has experience in research, international negotiations, design and evaluation of policy and development programs in more than a dozen countries around the world. He has collaborated on a number of publications, including ‘Creative Lebanon’ and ‘A Tanzania for the Creatives,’ both published in 2009. His latest publication is entitled, ‘The Orange Economy’. On the first evening of the strategy session, Mr Buitrago attempted to convey his latest book’s main arguments to the rest of the participants. “In this book, we are trying to communicate the statistics behind the creative economy, in particular to help the policymakers make decisions about it. “We provide some tools to understand the nature of this: how this ecology works; how there’s one supply side and a demand side but also an institutional side; and how you have to look at this in a multidimensional way in order to cover it.” In order to provide for this multidimensional approach, Mr Buitrago said his team had come up with "the seven Is” for the development of the Orange Economy. These include: information, institutions, industry, infrastructure, integration, inclusion, and inspiration. Mr Buitrago argued information is needed in order to make informed decisions, adding institutions and industry needed to be developed to combine creative talent with entrepreneurial spirit and risk-taking capitalists. This can be improved by providing greater access for cultural artists through infrastructure. The experienced consultant suggested creative activities played a significant role in terms of inclusion. “Creative activities have shown an incredible potential to help solve the social, economic, political and inclusion gaps in terms of diversity of gender, sexual orientation and political differences.” But for progress to be made, Mr Buitrago said one factor could not be prioritized over another. In his eyes, it’s a process that starts and ends with the individual. He concluded the interview by saying, “It has to be all worked together and integrated in order to be effective."
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Lyne Sneige: “The diversity that the seminar offers is unique”
Lyne Sneige: “The diversity that the seminar offers is unique”
Oscar Tollast 
Lyne Sneige, a freelancer and consultant on cultural affairs, has described the diversity of participants at Salzburg Global’s sessions as unique. She returned to Salzburg Global for her second visit to take part in a strategy session entitled, ‘Promoting the Next Generation of Cultural Entrepreneurs: Planning for Success’. Ms Sneige said: “You don’t get to go to many meetings with such diversity. “I think that the diversity that the seminar offers is unique [with] the fact that you are able to listen to experiences that are so diverse and to problems that are so different – different and common at the same time.” At this year’s strategy session, Ms Sneige engaged in creative idea development discussions to help design a new 10-year program to evolve from the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum. She took part in a number of brainstorming exercises, working within small groups to assist in fine-tuning components of the program. Ms Sneige, who has 17 years of experience in international development in the Middle East, described it as a huge responsibility to be a part of group designing a project with a 10-year lifespan. “It was very interesting to hear the experiences of the young cultural entrepreneurs who were here last year and that has helped us shed light on many things that we needed to know to be able to move forward. “I think the brainstorming sessions were very valuable on their own and as a process to develop the project.” On the first evening of the session, Ms Sneige spoke to participants as part of a fireside chat on global views on cultural entrepreneurship. She spoke of the multitude of countries that exist within the region, each having their own specificities. “I just wanted to highlight the shifting role of the artist within this [region] and the pivotal role they have played in actually trying to change their societies. “I wanted to show that there are still very vibrant art scenes [and] that cultural entrepreneurs are taking things in their hands more than ever before.” Ms Sneige highlighted the positive use of technology to allow projects to travel and reach more people with a click of a button. She also emphasized the powerful role of places and what they can provide to different aspects of social life and the arts and cultural sector. “We have seen in many, many countries how they have tried to occupy public spaces and to use them in a different way – to animate them – to reclaim the space. “They have done that through artistic means with dance, performance [and] participatory art. I wanted to shed light on this because that is very important in the discourse here and the role and function of the cultural entrepreneur in the bigger picture.” Ms Sneige previously attended Salzburg Global in 2010 for a session entitled ‘The Performance Arts in Lean Times: Opportunities for Reinvention'. “I was invited three years ago to attend a session performing arts in difficult financial times and that has been an eye opener for me. “I remained in touch with the fantastic network that it provided and with the core group here.” Prior to freelancing, Ms Sneige was deputy director in relation to Lebanon and regional projects manager for arts and culture for the Middle East at the British Council. She spearheaded several initiatives such as the creative economy and cultural leadership agendas in the region. It’s perhaps because of her experience she was confidently able to provide a definition of what a cultural entrepreneur was, at least in her view. “A cultural entrepreneur is somebody who is ambitious, who wants to change things in his or her environment for the better and who wants to use art and cultural tools – and mediums – to do that. “They’re people who have a lot of ambition and not enough resources. They need to think very quickly and very innovatively to be able to work with little [and] who are dreamers.”
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Leandro Olocco: “We can give back our perspective”
Leandro Olocco: “We can give back our perspective”
Oscar Tollast 
Leandro Olocco’s enthusiasm for Salzburg Global is boundless. Standing on the terrace of the President’s Office, the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum Fellow’s smile appears permanent. “I can’t refuse an invitation to live in a palace,” he jokes, before revealing how his decision to return to Schloss Leopoldskron was influenced by the prospect of taking part in a think-tank to devise a new program for the Seminar. Mr Olocco joined 26 other participants for a strategy session entitled, ‘Promoting the Next Generation of Cultural Entrepreneurship: Planning for Success’. A number of other Fellows from the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum were present to help assess components of a new 10-year program to evolve from the Forum. “It’s very important because we can give back our perspective from our experience and that’s going to be taken. Hopefully this will happen every year. “It’s going to get better, better and better. Being able to give back from all that I have learned in the last year, I think is kind of a duty.” Mr Olocco describes himself in the “growing stage” of his career, working as part of the general management of the Theater Complex of Buenos Aires. Hailing from a family of artistic producers, he has worked on the production of numerous festivals and concerts by international festivals. Participants spent much of this year’s strategy session brainstorming ideas for what the new program should represent, teach and provide. Discussions centered on strengths and weaknesses of the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum and how to define what a cultural entrepreneur was. “There’s a strict definition that says an entrepreneur is someone who achieves their goals no matter [of] the resources. They can go through all of the conflict and mountains but they climb them. “I see myself as a cultural entrepreneur, not only because of my work with the institution but also because of different side projects that I’m working on.” Mr Olocco has developed projects to create cultural centers and served on the technical production team of the Central Cultural España Córdoba. He describes receiving last year’s invitation to the Young Cultural Leaders Forum as an honour.“ It was a privilege to be asked to participate with a lot of young, talented people from all over the world from who I could learn a lot [from] and – hopefully – they could learn something from me.” He credits the learning process as his biggest takeaway from the session, influencing his work process thereafter. “It’s already changed the way I feel in my work, the way I approach my daily work. It’s changed my perspective of the world. “Now I know I can count on other people in similar positions and situations to get a network of knowledge where I can ask questions, get answers and give answers. You have a back-up. "Through networking at the Seminar, Mr Olocco has met several theater and festival directors and is hopeful of collaborating in the future. He’s also keen to continue his relationship with Salzburg Global in the near future. “It’s been a long-term relationship not only with the institution itself but also with the other Fellows. I use a lot of the contacts that I’ve made. “I’ve gotten a chance to use it and it’s created a bond between us. It’s getting stronger, and so in the future it will be better.”
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Jimena Lara Estrada: "It’s a privilege to participate"
Jimena Lara Estrada: "It’s a privilege to participate"
Oscar Tollast 
The director of international affairs at the National Institute of Fine Arts in Mexico has credited Salzburg Global for aiding her career. Jimena Lara Estrada attended the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum, where she joined 46 other participants from 37 countries for an intensive leadership development program. Ms Lara Estrada said: “I do think that being here and participating here was definitely something that bolstered my career.” Prior to her current role, Ms Lara Estrada was program coordinator at the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, where she coordinated grant and funding requests from Mexican artists. She also generated new programming and developed partnerships to promote Mexican culture in New York. “My responsibilities now require a broader sense of international relations in terms of culture. The skills and the participation here in the Seminar and the people that I met certainly feed my capacity of giving back to my organization.” Ms Lara Estrada was recommended Salzburg Global by a former manager. It proved to be a trustworthy endorsement, as she explained how she took away from the session a deeper perspective of the work produced by cultural leaders. “It was a very enlightening experience of understanding problems that are present in organizations throughout the world.” Alongside other participants, she shared problems and goals that helped create an atmosphere for participants to learn from others. “It gave me much more self-awareness of where I was standing and what were the next steps that I needed to take in terms of management and skills that I needed to acquire. “It did give me a set of new tools, practical tools that I think have influenced my work within a year, especially because I changed jobs from last year to this year and they were really useful in my new role.” This year, she returned to Salzburg Global to take part in a strategy session entitled, ‘Planning the Next Generation of Cultural Entrepreneurs: Planning for Success’. Ms Lara Estrada and other participants helped design a new 10-year program to evolve from the Young Cultural Leaders Forum. She revealed to Salzburg Global that she jumped at the opportunity to return to Schloss Leopoldskron. “I was grateful for the opportunity because last year was an incredible experience for me. It really helped me at that point of my career in terms of networking, skills, and global perspectives of what we do as cultural entrepreneurs. “It’s a rare opportunity to be part of a group of such inspiring people that are so active in so many different ways with a shared passion and a shared goal in such inspiring environments.” “The level of depth and analysis of conversation is really a unique opportunity. It’s a privilege to participate.” Ms Lara Estrada joined other participants in discussing the concept of cultural entrepreneurship. She explained to Salzburg Global what it meant to her. “I think for me the word entrepreneurship tells me about motivation and passion for something in starting new things. “For me, as part of the Ministry of Culture I do see it also as public management for the arts. Even though we belong to bigger organizations that have been going on for many decades, there’s always the opportunity to start new things, to start new projects, new ideas, and new ways of doing things. “I see it as a very broad category that encompasses a large ecosystem where we all participate towards the same goal.” Whilst reflecting on her second visit to Salzburg Global Seminar, Ms Lara Estrada said she hoped to continue her positive relationship with the Seminar, which she described as giving her a “big feeling” of belonging and responsibility. “I see myself hopefully - if I have that privilege to be involved with the Seminar - to be able to give back and also to create more awareness in my country about this place, which is a unique oasis to come and think and get inspired by the things that really motivate us and move us in our everyday life with an incredible combination of people.”
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Jean-Baptiste Cuzin: "We need new schemes of innovation"
Jean-Baptiste Cuzin: "We need new schemes of innovation"
Oscar Tollast 
A unit head within the French Ministry for culture and media has praised Salzburg Global’s sessions on cultural entrepreneurship. Jean-Baptiste Cuzin, head of the international and multilateral unit within the French Ministry for culture and media, recently attended Salzburg Global for a strategy session on ‘Promoting the Next Generation of Cultural Entrepreneurs: Planning for Success’. Joining a number of leading thinkers at the Seminar, Mr Cuzin discussed the potential of young cultural leaders and the environment needed for cultural entrepreneurship to flourish. “I’m very satisfied to see after [nearly] 10 years the Salzburg Global Seminar is beginning to have a long-lasting approach on the issue of cultural entrepreneurship. “We drew conclusions that to be emerging leaders of innovative culture entrepreneurial skills for innovating and for helping the projects to come out doesn’t mean necessarily being entrepreneurial in the sense of being your own chief executive officer. “You may also be entrepreneurial, engaged, and directly working for a non-profit or commercial company in the field of culture.” Mr Cuzin previously attended Salzburg Global in 2004 for a session entitled ‘Cultural Institutions in Transition’. He joined participants at the 2004 session, which included artists, cultural entrepreneurs, and policymakers to discuss the need for cultural policies in Central and Eastern Europe to be reformed. In his position, Mr Cuzin is involved in programs allowing high level professionals in the field of culture and cultural policies to be invited to France for seminars and training courses based on peer-to-peer exchanges. He joined the French Embassy in Budapest, Hungary, in 1998 as junior officer, before moving to the Ministry for culture and media as officer in charge of European affairs. This led to his appointment as deputy head of the cooperation section of the French embassy in Bucharest, Romania, being responsible for bilateral cooperation programs in the field of public policies and managing the French cooperation network. Mr Cuzin revealed some of the discussions between participants at this year’s strategy session centered on sources of funding for the culture sector, highlighting the changing proportions of public and private financing. “In France we changed our legislation more than 10 years ago in order to give very huge incentives for companies and private philanthropies who want to invest in culture. “We already began 10 years ago to anticipate the need for having a more diverse scheme of financing for arts and creation.” Mr Cuzin suggested an approach of working from the bottom up was needed at a national and local level to ensure innovation and creativity could foster. He tied the future of innovation in the field of arts and creative industries with global issues such as justice, sustainability and economic innovation. “What’s obvious is the fact that for taking advantage of all the new opportunities for arts and creative industry in the digital age, we need new schemes of innovation. “These schemes of innovation are linked with abilities for cultural entrepreneurs who not only have technical skills, who not only have relationship skills, but also have a global overview about connections that exist between culture and global issues.” Mr Cuzin, however, reaffirmed the need for cultural entrepreneurs to have the right conditions to succeed, pointing to property law, fiscal law, and public policy. “The responsibility of the public policymakers is to understand what the cultural entrepreneurs – either independent or non-independent – need for their projects to grow.” He maintained that Salzburg Global provided two key elements of added value that promoted discussions of cultural entrepreneurship and strengthened the vision of a 10-year program evolving from the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum. Mr Cuzin suggested the idea of a 10-year program provided an opportunity for potential participants to look outside the box and learn from others on a global scale. “We already have some key elements for ensuring a new dynamic and for ensuring the possibility for incoming players – not only to network – but also to work together in an innovative way in following new schemes of reflection.”
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Lidia Varbanova: "It's about the exchange of ideas"
Lidia Varbanova: "It's about the exchange of ideas"
Oscar Tollast 
“It’s a great topic,” said Lidia Varbanova, overlooking the gardens of Schloss Leopoldskron. “I find it very important for the cultural sector worldwide, which is about promoting the future generation of cultural entrepreneurs.” Dr Varbanova, a lecturer, consultant, researcher, and writer in the areas of cultural policy, strategic management, and entrepreneurship, was at Salzburg Global for a strategy session convened on ‘Promoting the Next Generation of Cultural Entrepreneurs: Planning for Success’. She was happy to return to the Seminar, helping to devise a new program to evolve from the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum. Dr Varbanova had previously attended sessions on 'Cultural Institutions in Transition' in 2002, 2003 and 2004. She is currently an associated researcher at the David O’Brien Center for Sustainable Enterprise at Concordia University, and lecturer at Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. “I’ve been here several times and I find this is a very unusual, unique place where people get together to discuss issues of global concern. It’s a space where we can open our minds and can come up with great collaborative ideas.” Participants were tasked to find ways to promote the next generation of cultural entrepreneurs, looking at who the partners could be and what models could be adopted. Dr Varbanova pointed to the overall scarcity of funding worldwide for the cultural sector as a concern. “Money coming from government, sponsors, foundations, [and] international donors is getting less and less. Therefore artists and cultural managers require strategic entrepreneurial thinking and actions.” She suggested that professionals in the cultural sector needed to have a business acumen to survive – one of the competences to become a cultural entrepreneur. But how did Dr Varbanova define what a cultural entrepreneur was? “A person who has a passion, never gives up, loves the arts, doesn’t have initial resources but has a great idea that he or she knows step-by-step how to turn into a business opportunity, considering also the added value for the society.” It was a question that caused much debate among the participants during the session’s brainstorming exercises. Dr Varbanova, however, praised the diversity of the group, suggesting it allowed for a greater learning experience. “The plus that I see is the active engagement of the participants. Everybody is very much a leader in his or her own field. “I was impressed that my colleagues have a lot of experience in their own country and region, which I think is a great treasury for all of us to share.” Dr Varbanova also complimented Salzburg Global’s open atmosphere and the process that allows for creative thinking. “It’s about the exchange of ideas and experiences, which hopefully are going to bring us to the next level of provoking entrepreneurial thinking and actions in the cultural sector.” Leading thinkers, including those returning from the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum, were invited to reflect on last year's Forum’s strengths and weaknesses. Dr Varbanova was keen for the new program and network to adapt to rapidly changing global trends. “Hopefully this is going to give us a very good background for looking at how we can encourage and promote cultural entrepreneurship in the next 10 years in a way to become better and better. “What should be the next step so that we can keep this network of young leaders alive internationally – I would even say – globally? It's a question of how we're going to make sure that this network will be sustainable in a strategic framework in the next years to come." Dr Varbanova spoke to the group about Central and Eastern Europe on the first evening of the session, as part of a fireside chat on global views on cultural entrepreneurship. She outlined the vast political, social and economic diversity between the 29 countries in this region and the challenges cultural entrepreneurship face within them. “These countries have a lot of differences in how cultural policies are formulated and implemented, as well as what the cultural sector looks like. Hence, there are some common issues and concerns on both policy and organizational level.  “Many countries still don’t have a very well-developed legislation in supporting cultural entrepreneurship and start-up companies in the creative industries sector. At an organizational level, many cultural organizations in the region are still managed in an old ineffective style, with heavily administrated structures and little flexibility. "There is a strong need to start implementing elements of intrapreneurship as this is a proven effective way to motivate organizational innovations in the arts." But for artists and cultural managers to succeed, Dr Varbanova believed action needed to be taken at an individual level, too. “There are loads of ideas and incredibly talented people in many of these countries. “The region is very well known for its old traditions in the field of training and education in different art forms, but the business thinking is still not there. “Many artists and art managers are still scared when they see Excel sheets, balance sheets, figures, finances [and] financial figures.” Despite these challenges, Dr Varbanova appeared keen to face them head on and help build a bridge between creativity and business through cultural projects, considering also the importance of social innovation in the arts. “I’m definitely committed to promoting the next generation of cultural entrepreneurs worldwide, helping them to think beyond the box, to be much more innovative and to do things differently than others.”
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Lilli Geissendorfer: "It's always eye-opening"
Lilli Geissendorfer: "It's always eye-opening"
Oscar Tollast 
A Salzburg Fellow of the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum says she hopes to have a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Seminar. Lilli Geissendorfer, general manager at the Almeida Theatre in London, returned to the Seminar to take part in the recent strategy session entitled, 'Promoting the Next Generation of Cultural Entrepreneurs: Planning for Success'. She was one of 11 Fellows of the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum to be invited back to help design a new program to evolve from the Forum. Speaking to Salzburg Global, Ms Geissendorfer said: "I hope that I'll be able to continue to contribute in the real world and online to the ideas that are generated here and in some way continue to spread the message of Salzburg." Alongside 27 other leading thinkers, Ms Geissendorfer contributed to brainstorming sessions to assess the components of a new program and to build upon the work of the 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum. Discussing the productivity of the sessions, she said: "They've been really interesting as ever - just so many brilliant brains. "I have to kind of remind myself that we are actually doing work for Salzburg Global this time, and they've asked us to come back and help them. But it doesn't feel like work. It's always eye-opening." Whilst Ms Geissendorfer admitted she found the term, "cultural entrepreneur", problematic to adopt, she recognized similar skills she used in her day-to-day work. Ms Geissendorfer has experience of running cultural events and activities. She produced the first HighTide Festival in 2007 and ran the film and theater production company Strawberry Vale Productions. Whilst acting as a relationship manager for theater at the Arts Council England, she managed a £2.3 million portfolio and developed environmental sustainability policies. More recently, she co-founded Londoners on Bikes, a pop-up cycle safety campaign for the London 2012 Mayoral election. Ms Geissendorfer said: "In the theater world, I'm a producer and that has similar tones of someone who starts something up, kicks it off, goes from having no resources to creating something from scratch. "We were debating how appropriate it is as a term, how much understanding there might be both within the sector and from the outside of what a cultural entrepreneur is and whether that's useful, helpful, or whether another term might be better." The 2012 Young Cultural Leaders Forum brought together 47 young cultural leaders from 37 countries around the world for an intensive leadership development program. Ms Geissendorfer described receiving her invitation last year as "magical", having arrived completely out of the blue. She received training in communications, change management and innovation. These were skills she was able to apply to her work. "I had just started this job when I came last year. I'd been in it for two weeks. I'd just gotten to know my new team. I was managing five people and it enabled me to go back with some clear strategies for how I wanted my first 100 days to go. It was really, really useful. "I've stayed in touch probably mostly with those who work in the performance arts across the world, only because we keep looking for opportunities to take work across continents and produce projects together." The success of last year's Forum held significant sway over her decision to return to Salzburg Global. Ms Geissendorfer said: "I just made the most amazing connections with people last year. "When I saw who had been invited back I was immediately inspired to make the trip and convince my boss that it was time well-spent and that I would bring back a lot of new skills to share and ideas to implement."  
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