Her Corner: Making the world a better place with Rona

Rona is an active global citizen with the ambition to make a difference in a complex world. She works in 8 different countries with large businesses, NGOs and international organisations in China, Australia and the United States. Always attracted by the cross-over of business and development she undertook on the ground development projects in Cambodia, China and Myanmar. In 2017 she was selected as German Youth delegate to the G7, where she was able to make the voice of youth heard by world leaders. In 2017 she started GrowbeYOUnd, connecting and advising young individuals on global careers.


RoundTheCorner: As always, I start my interviews with a simple question “Who is Rona”?

Rona: I would say that is a simple, but yet very, very complicated question! I was born and raised in Germany but left the country after completing high school. Since, I have lived in 8 different countries and would identify more as a ‘global citizen’. I love to immerse in different cultures and get to know whole new ways of thinking and doing things. I am interested in innovation and people that ‘think big and bold’. I would say I am a ‘do-er’, I like taking risks and I am an advocate for women’s rights and equal access to education.

Growing up I have learnt about injustices in this world

When did you realise you wanted to make a change in other people’s lives?

When I was 11 years old my mother traveled to Haiti with me. I was completely overwhelmed by the hardship and poverty, since I had never been exposed to another environment than Europe. I will never forget driving on the back of a motorbike through one of the slums in the pouring rain. That moment I grasped for the first time that I was so fortunate (without ever having done anything for it) – I had a safe home, access to education, healthcare, nutritious food and clean water. All things the 11-year-old me had never thought about before. That summer I realized that there are very different realities for people on this planet and that I wanted to have a positive impact and make a difference. Growing up and learning more about the injustices in this world I have become particularly passionate about women’s rights.

What impact a consultant can have on a student’s future work-life?

I believe a consultant can help students to develop a clearer vision on what they really want and can do, support them to overcome fear and confusion. Especially towards the end of university I find a lot of students are overwhelmed with the ‘choice’, the influence of parents and peers and the anxiety that their decision could have a ‘negative impact’ on their future. I think a consultant can bring some clarity in this situation, empower the student and also give inspiration.

Explain more about your company

At GrowbeYOUnd we mentor, guide and encourage young people to go beyond their limits, expand their horizons and find out what is within them. We provide coaching and career consulting services for young people from Europe that want to start an international career. We aim to empower them to leave their comfort zone, while developing the skills required by the labour market. Currently, we have built a network in 15 countries with young entrepreneurs and employees that share their knowledge and insights from the respective job market. We work with universities where we provide workshops and seminars on ‘how to build a global career’ and analyse the best international opportunities for the students. We also offer webinars, podcasts and online consultations.

Would you say you have the Wanderlust gene?

For sure! I am in the same city now since almost 2 years. I have not lived for so long in the same place since 10 years – I feel like it is time to move on. The world is so big and there are so many different cultures, countries and ways of living to explore and so many wonderful people to meet and learn from.

Rona Van Der Zander

What advice would you give to your 18 years old self?

Probably the advice I give many of the students now – Don’t worry too much! If you work hard and try your best, everything will fall into place. Or with N.V. Peale’s words “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”


If you are interested or want to find out more:

www.growbeyound.com or contact Rona under rona@growbeyound.com

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