Jacinda Ardern – a special guest of ABSL Summit 2024

Luc Williams

ABSL Summit is one of the most important events in the business services sector in Europe. Each year, it hosts approximately 1,400 business leaders from the largest companies, representatives of the public sector, media and experts, analyzing global trends and their impact on economic and social development.

The organizer of all editions of the ABSL Summit, including this year's one, which will take place on June 3-5, is the Association of Business Service Sector Leaders (ABSL). It brings together 260 of the world's largest companies representing the industry that currently employs over 435,000 people in Poland. people. They work in 1.8 thousand service centers located in over 80 locations, thus creating a vibrant sector supporting economic development, among others. thanks to innovative solutions implemented by international corporations.

In previous years, there was no shortage of unique speakers at the ABSL Summit – they shared their knowledge, experience, observations, and sometimes also forecasts and concerns with congress participants, including: Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State in Bill Clinton's administration, and Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister. Guests at one of the previous ABSL Summits included former US President Bill Clinton and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO in 2009–2014. Therefore, the appearance at the congress this year of Jacinda Ardern, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, the person who largely defined what modern, inclusive leadership should look like today, is not surprising.

A modern leader for a new era

We look at leaders – obviously and most importantly – through the prism of their achievements. In the case of Jacinda Ardern, they were considerable, but more on that in a moment. Often, in the case of the best leaders, we try to remember their words, we look for statements that tell us who they are, what they strive for, and how they see the world. It is worth quoting Ardern twice in this context.

– Showing empathy requires courage and strength. I proudly strive to be an empathetic and compassionate leader. I'm trying to forge a different path. I know this brings criticism, but I have no other choice. In performing such a socially important function, I must be faithful to the form of leadership I believe in, she said at the height of her political career and when some criticized her for being too nice.

Unnecessarily. In Ardern's case, being nice had absolutely no conflict with bravely making difficult decisions and passionate comments reminding her of what was really important.

– He was looking for many things in his act of terror. One was notoriety, and that's why you'll never hear me mention his name. He is a terrorist. Criminal. Extremist. He will be nameless and I beg others to speak the names of those who died, not the names of the man who took them, said the Prime Minister of New Zealand after another attack by a mass shooter in her country.

Jacinda Ardern became Prime Minister of New Zealand at the age of 37 – when she was first elected as the head of the New Zealand government in autumn 2017, she was the youngest person to hold this position since 1856. Seven weeks earlier, she had become leader of the New Zealand Labor Party after three terms in opposition.

In the pre-election campaign, she focused on programs to reduce social inequalities, including social housing, reducing child poverty, energy transformation, raising the minimum wage, increasing spending on health care and free studies. These threads and problems often returned during her rule. Ardern extended, for example, paid parental leave, introduced weekly benefits for low- and middle-income families with small children, and increased family tax relief, orphans' benefit, housing allowance and foster care allowance. Her government also began implementing a pilot school lunch program in 2019 to help reduce childhood poverty – this assistance was then expanded to support 200,000 people. kids.

Jacinda Ardern has also faced powerful, unexpected challenges, such as a terrorist attack on New Zealand's Muslim community that was broadcast live on social media that killed 51 people, the eruption of the Whakaari volcano that killed more than 20 tourists, and the pandemic COVID-19. In the latter case, for example, “pragmatic idealism” of putting people and kindness at the center resulted in New Zealand recording one of the lowest death toll rates from the pandemic among developed countries.

The Prime Minister also pushed through a ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines for these weapons, and created the Christchurch Call initiative to eliminate violent extremism from the internet.

Jacinda Ardern has consistently supported women's equality and empowerment. During her term as Prime Minister of New Zealand, women took half of the seats in parliament and government. There was also the decriminalization of abortion and changes in favor of equal pay. Jacinda Ardern achieved these achievements, in the process becoming the second woman in history to give birth while in power. After giving birth, she took six weeks of maternity leave, during which she was replaced by the Deputy Prime Minister as head of government, and later she more than once showed the world how to combine work and motherhood. The symbol of this was her participation with her child in the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2018 – her daughter was three months old then.

Ardern is an active climate protection activist. Shortly after taking office, she banned oil and gas exploration in New Zealand's territorial seas. She later became a board member of The Earthshot Prize, where she works on climate change solutions. He is also an Arnhold Distinguished Fellow of Conservation International, where he works to promote solutions that stop the greenhouse effect.

During ABSL Summit 2024, Jacinda Ardern will talk about her vision of bold leadership, also implemented with the interests of future generations in mind. She will tell us what her path to becoming one of the most influential leaders in the world was like. She will discuss how she dealt with the challenges of being in power at a young age and what impact the fresh perspective introduced by young generations has on politics. Ardern will also reiterate the importance of taking bold action on the biggest challenges facing society today, in particular climate change.

– Jacinda Ardern represents a new generation of leaders who understand that traditional ways of doing politics do not fit contemporary challenges that require new solutions and questioning the status quo – says Janusz Dziurzyński, president of ABSL. In his opinion, the example of New Zealand, led by progressive leaders, shows that a new era of politics is coming – focusing on people and care for the environment.

Election year

This year's ABSL Summit 2024 will take place at a special time. This year, more than half of the world's population has already or will go to the polls in 76 countries. Often, the importance of their decisions was or will be huge. For example, in Slovakia, pro-Kremlin populists came to power at the beginning of the year after the parliamentary and presidential elections. In the United States, Trump and Biden will fight for the presidency in late autumn. In June, approximately 400 million voters from 27 countries will elect the new European Parliament.

Soon, new authorities will also be established in Great Britain, where after 14 years the Labor Party has a good chance of winning, and in April, month-long elections began in India – the world's largest democracy. This year, at the ballot boxes, there will also be, among others: almost 100 million Mexicans, in January almost 120 million inhabitants of Bangladesh did so, and in Africa about one third of the entire population has made or will make the electoral decision.

– Jacinda Ardern's experience – as Janusz Dziurzyński says – in conducting dialogue with various recipient groups is especially inspiring now, in 2024 – an election year for 76 countries.

ABSL Summit 2024 will take place in a special year for Poland. On the one hand, during a political change brought about by a series of elections of several types, which will end with next year's presidential elections. On the other hand, in a country that has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis 20 years after joining the European Union. Suffice it to say that when Poland joined the European Union in 2004, its GDP per capita calculated according to purchasing power parity was at the level of 51.5%. EU average – it was the third lowest result in the entire EU at that time. Last year it was 79.7%. EU average.

The business services sector has changed incredibly, evolving from simple transaction processes to advanced knowledge-based tasks that influence key decisions of enterprises as well as their growth trajectories.

There will be a lot to talk about in Krakow at ABSL Summit 2024.



Luc's expertise lies in assisting students from a myriad of disciplines to refine and enhance their thesis work with clarity and impact. His methodical approach and the knack for simplifying complex information make him an invaluable ally for any thesis writer.