Enabling Digital Resilience for Young Enterprise

Avanade and Junior Achievement (JA) have collaborated through a close partnership to prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders, since signing an agreement with JA Europe in 2016, and renewing with JA Worldwide in 2018. Avanade’s support goes beyond JA’s core activities, such as success skills development and design thinking-led innovation camps, to mentoring and coaching initiatives. Avanade is also represented on JA Boards at local, regional and global levels. And, as the organization’s Global Technology Partner, Avanade advises JA on its future strategy as it seeks to drive digital transformation across its network.

However, as with most organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic led JA Europe and Young Enterprise in the UK to shift its priority focus to remote working and remote delivery of programs. Just four days into the lock-down in the UK, Avanade leveraged Microsoft Teams to conduct remote working training for the entire Young Enterprise team. Here from Young Enterprise CEO, Sharon Davies and Junior Achievement Europe CEO, Salvatore Nigro, about the work that have been able to continue to deliver to young people in the UK, thanks to the implementation of digital technologies.

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Lise af Ekenstan 

Lise af Ekenstan
European Marketing Director, and Tech for Social Good Global Program Lead, Avanade

Lise af Ekenstam is a strategic marketing professional with 20+ years’ experience in running high performing marketing programs, driving strategic change and marketing performance improvement initiatives in the IT/Professional services industry. She currently leads Europe Marketing and oversees the Global Demand and Campaign Centre at Avanade. Furthermore, she is the Programme Lead for Avanade’s Tech for Social Good initiative. Lise has an international career and education, being a Norwegian/USA national and having worked and studied in the USA, Italy, France, the UK and Norway. She has a Masters in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, an MBA from SDA Bocconi University and a BA in Economics from Brown University.

Featured Guests

Sharon Davies 

Sharon Davies,
CEO, Young Enterprise

Sharon’s professional background is youth work, latterly over the last 10 years in the charity sector. With strengths and skills covering negotiation, change management, culture and strategy. Sharon is an MBA qualified director with a strong track record in the planning and implementation of successful organizational change within not for profit organizations.

She is a qualified youth worker and experienced in the delivery of informal education in a range of settings, including detached and outdoor based youth work. Sharon is passionate about access of provision of opportunity for young people, having benefited first-hand from opportunities that have made a huge difference to her own life. The importance of making such opportunities available to all, regardless of their starting point is an area of work that has been of keen personal interest for over 25 years.

Sharon is a graduate of Liverpool John Moore’s University and a post graduate of Leicester University.

Salvatore Nigro 

Salvatore Nigro
CEO, Junior Achievement Europe

Salvatore Nigro dedicates his energy and passion to preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. He specialises in multi-stakeholder partnerships, workforce development and entrepreneurship programmes.

Salvatore joined JA Europe in February 2020 after having spent twelve years at Education for Employment (EFE). As CEO of EFE-Europe and Vice-President of EFE-Global, Salvatore led EFE’s business development, partnership and programme management in Europe to support operations in the Middle East and North Africa. He previously was Director of the International Partnerships and Advocacy Department of the Glocal Forum and worked at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Of Italian origin, Salvatore holds an MBA from the University of Malta, an MA in International Strategic and Military Studies, and a MA in International Political Science from LUISS University.

Andy Gillette 

Andy Gillette
General Manager, Avanade UK & Ireland

I joined Avanade to lead the UKI business in 2018. It is a great privilege to be part of such a fantastic business and to help to lead and shape the Avanade family.

Avanade globally are a team of 30,000+ professionals working together to deliver innovative solutions through the power of people and the Microsoft ecosystem.

Prior to Avanade I had the most amazing 26 years in Accenture with many interesting roles including Technology lead for CMT UKI, running the Media & Entertainment business and running sales for CMT UKI.

I have an Engineering degree and masters from Manchester University. I am married with two boys and when I’m not working you will find me on the touch line or helping to coach various sports. The boys both ski race, which gives me the excuse I need to escape to the mountains as often as possible, ideally in the backcountry making fresh tracks!

Avanade are delighted to be working so closely with Young Enterprise. Our work creating and running the student training sessions and participation in the judging panels has provided our people with a fantastic opportunity to give something back and to share their skills and experience. We look forward to watching the future success of all of the participants in this year’s process.

Junior Achievement

Avanade and JA teach young people about the world of technology, leadership and entrepreneurship.

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