In January 2022, Dialectica partnered with the non-profit organization, The Tipping Point (TTP), to launch “Unexplored Futures”, a program designed to help 500+ students explore new careers and navigate undiscovered routes. Today, Amalia Konstantakopoulou, Co-Founder & Director of the TTP takes us through the organization’s journey, its mission and parts of her personal story and experience.
Hi Amalia! Can you share some information about yourself and The Tipping Point?
I would like to share a short story; I grew up in a village, Evinochori in mainland Greece. As it was the only one with a functioning school in the area, children from nearby villages covered great distances in order to attend and discover new educational outlets and prospects.
After finishing school, I moved to Athens to study at the university, as other classmates did, looking for more educational opportunities. Post-graduate, I worked in communications, public relations, marketing and fashion. This rather non-linear career eventually led to the realization that almost every choice in my life was made by chance. A few years back, I started noticing that my story wasn’t unique, quite the opposite actually; many people shared similar paths, dictated by uninformed decisions. And, more often than not, there were people who along the way had inspired and motivated them, changed their way of thinking and led them down a certain path. I joined forces with some of them to create something we wish we could have had available when we were growing up – especially during our high school years when we were required to make important career decisions.
The Tipping Point was co-founded in 2016 to help students make informed career decisions, and meet inspiring people from all over the world and from many sectors. In practice, schools use our platform to virtually meet professionals from a wide variety of sectors via 20 or 30-minute live sessions, where students pose questions and receive answers, while being motivated by the personal stories of these professionals, our mentors. The conversations are also extended to one-on-one discussions via our platform’s app, where students can ask questions, receive answers and follow-up questions by different mentors, who also evaluate the students’ questions based on specific soft skills: creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. This way, these interactions create “threads” that help students learn how to ask meaningful and to-the-point questions while exercising their skills at their own personal pace.
What practical issues does TTP address? What’s TTP’s mission?
TTP was created in order to operate as a window to the world for students across Greece. Many schools in the country are situated in remote or secluded areas, with very limited access to people and stimuli. Students lack information both on studies’ options and the market they will eventually enter, which, more often than not, leads them to uninformed decisions about their future. Our mission is to offer them the opportunity to meet people and broaden their horizons and prepare them for the workplace of tomorrow, while cultivating those skills required for their future, all with the use of cutting edge technology. The result? Prepared and informed young people!
What factors influence students’ ability to make an informed decision about their professional future?
To begin with, valid and multi-sourced information plays a major role in making informed decisions. Gaining information from different people and mindsets creates stimuli, thus an open mind that takes into consideration multiple aspects of an option. Emotional support and lack of pressure from one’s environment can also contribute to their decision-making ability. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to each individual; their values, their personality, their risk-taking and their ability to deal with the fact that a decision might not work out and hence adapt accordingly. The Tipping Point contributes to both these groups of factors. Information, for sure, but also inspiration through other people’s experience and stories.
What are the tools used to empower today’s high school students, tomorrow’s leaders to find their path in career and life?
From my perspective, school sets the basis, there are many initiatives that promote creativity, exchange of opinions and challenge students to move and think forward. Adding personal research and participation in projects, programs and events to the mixture can lead to astonishing results. In our days, information is abundant and available to everyone. The most important tools, in my opinion, are those very skills that stay with us and help us look for the right thing and in the right places. That’s why we have focused on the development of these skills.
A few months ago, Dialectica and TTP formed a partnership, launching “Unexplored Futures”. Why this program now? Can you tell us what makes it so relevant today?
The business market has expanded dramatically over the past decades. New sectors, specializations and positions are emerging, creating a fast-paced professional world, which requires quick adaptation. Although there are endless options and opportunities, students are unaware of this abundance or how to enter these unknown sectors. The “Unexplored Futures” project brings these undiscovered career paths and their respective representatives into students’ classrooms, broadening their understanding of the opportunities available. A single person, sector, phrase can open new windows in students’ minds and lead them to a direction they might not have otherwise pursued. What makes it extremely relevant today? Students are empowered to keep up with the super fast pace of the professional world.
What is your advice for students and young professionals on the verge of making a career-related decision?
No decision is final. Discover your strengths, your talents and what you love to do, and pave a way towards reaching your goals. It takes time, persistence, courage and willpower, but every dream is achievable, one decision at a time.
The new school year signals the start of the second phase of “Unexplored Futures”. This school season, even more students will explore new careers and navigate undiscovered routes to future success, with the help of the Dialectica and TTP mentors.