Job Shadowing in USA

From 9th to 20th of September 2022 Rääma Noorte Ühing Noorus workers Uudo and Kaie Laane visited Orbis Institute in Denver, United States of America. They stayed in the premises of Orbis house together with fellows who taked part in Fellowship program for young professionals.

Shortly about Orbis Institute and Fellows

Orbis Institute was founded in 1996 by David A. French. After decades working in the business and non-profit sectors, David set out to build an organization that would effectively realize his vision for globally minded leadership development. He understood that the systemic challenges of the 21st century were both local and global, and the next generation of leaders would need to build and engage community at both levels. Orbis Fellows are young adults pursuing impact-driven work. Fellows are typically working professionals and students who live together in an intentional community with other entrepreneurs, creatives, activists, and organizers, all making a positive impact in the world. During their residency, each Fellow develops a Commitment To Action (C2A). Fellows have conducted research, launched new projects at work, and built new organizations. In addition to their individual C2A, each cohort makes a collective commitment to help build community around each others work. Orbis Workshops are an opportunity to develop and critically examine Commitments To Action.

Current workshop topics include: Designing Your Impact, Systems Practice, Community Organizing, and Strategic Planning. Fellows have the opportunity to lead additional workshops or recommend outside facilitators. In addition workshops Fellows organize leadership dinners and community events. Fellows periodically receive travel funding through the European Union to participate in programs connecting them with other community leaders around the world. Fellows have participated in programs focussing on areas of human rights, education, technology, and gamification. Fellow participation in the program is completely voluntary and grants are not guaranteed for every Fellow.

Job shadowing

We found several similarities between our organisations. The first guide for us was Adam Itzkovits who is leading the Orbis Institute. He found for us time and was explaning the structure and work of Orbis Institute. We also met in evenings with founder of Orbis Institute David French. He was really interesting person. He is veteran of Vietnam War, travelled in more than 60 countries. Despite his 78 years of age, he was very active, youthful and curious. Those evenings together with him give us understanding why he created the Orbis Institute and why it is so popular today. This year they receive hundreds of applications, but they can host only 7 Fellows on time.

We meet with Smit Naik, who was in the house in evenings. We spend together good time and he spoke about his projects. We also met Jessica. She’s main goal is to keep his family away from drugs, to ensure their well-being and development. She was busy decorating the desk for her daughter’s  who is going to school.

Life is good! This is the slogan of Orbis house. It could be seen and heard moving around the community house and interact with people. The most important thing we learned from being job shadowers is the courage to stand up for our principles and to say them publicly and loudly. Unlike in Europe, in USA you could find a sign confirming your beliefs on almost every building. We believe: Black lives matter; Love is love; Feminism is for everyone; Science is real; Be kind to all.

In conclusion, being job shadowers worked for us. We learned more open communication and the importance of caring for each other. Standing up for human rights is a natural part of life and we should not be afraid to speak about our principles.


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