UNITE 2030- Just the Beginning
An Interview with Founder and CEO of UNITE2030, Alyssa Chassman
You founded Unite2030 in 2016 – as I know so far. What was your motivation for creating this program, and why did you want to make it come true?
Alyssa Chassman:“I started Unite2030 at the end of 2016 because I was working in the development space and I felt really lost as a young person, and I thought that my voice was not really being heard. I was working for a couple of organizations around that time – I was working for an International Women’s Organization for example and I felt that they were very dominated by older folks. Even though they had experience and they had wisdom I had the feeling that my voice was being barriered. I was working in development, because I liked to see the impact of my work. At that time I wasn’t satisfied since I had not experienced that I did something important for the world. So I started Camp2030, with the idea of connecting people who were working in the sector and experienced the same thing and felt that different kinds of franchises were operating in the same way. So I was asking – why don’t we get together and make an impact together on the world? My intention was not to start a business – basically we were starting from this point. I just wanted to start a conversation with people who had experienced the same thing that I had.”
And it is going very well! How did you build this up? What were the challenges at the beginning? How did it start?
Chassman:“I had never seen myself as an entrepreneur, however I came from a family where both of my parents were those. My dad actually did something very similar to United2030, however it didn’t work with the global goals. He was just working, young inspiring entrepreneurs in Chicago whilst my mother is a therapist who runs her own business as well. I was always surrounded by entrepreneurship, however it was really hard to think in this kind of business minded – you do have to think about the numbers for example and it wasn’t really my intention to set up the organization, however I did see an opportunity as to what I could start for business. So I talked a lot to my dad and he was really motivating. Thus I had to learn not to think with my heart but think with my mind – I want more people to access to our work.”
Why did you decide to work with the sustainable development goals?
Chassman:“I don’t really know- it is a really good concept however we cannot really get people to work on it- and I think SDGs are not extremely necessary. It is just part of the business in order to achieve the higher level of our goals.”
The first event was 4 years ago- what did you learn from that and what would you like to develop further?
Chassman:“The first big thing we ever did was the Youth Delegate Programme, which was a year long programme. I learnt a lot about people and about how people operate. People need to be motivated both from the outside and in- they might want to do good for others but also they need to be motivated by themselves. And there are plenty of inner motivational factors that you can rely on. For example, somebody would like to do everything against poverty to make the world a better place. You need to be motivated also from inside – from honest or selfish reasons. Some people are motivated by glory or winning, some people are motivated by having a title in their resume- or having a certificate- and some people are motivated to have some leadership skills. It is really important to find what people are motivated by. Support them and help people achieve what they would like to achieve. I wish from my first Youth Delegate Programme that I had listened more to what the delegates needed and why they are motivated to be apart of the programme. I think a lot of people felt that they lost their way and they really don’t know how they fit into the programme, because I did not set it up early on.”
This interview was conducted in September 2020, and is the first part of a series of dialogues- stay tuned in the next edition for part two with Alyssa Chassman. UNITE 2030 is a global forum for young leaders taking action to eliminate poverty, inequality, and climate change by 2030. More information can be found at: https://www.unite2030.com/
— Anna Viola Hornyik is a Masters student of International Relations, currently studying at the University of Szeged —