AHA! met Judith Batea at a Skåne StartUp event for female entrepreneurs, at MindPark, Helsingborg. Judith’s background made her the ultimate Challenge Mentor at our Hackathon for Youth: The Future of Education is Now, September 10-13.
Her story is really interesting and captivating.
“Hej, hello, hola! My name is Judith Baeta and I’m born and raised in sunny Barcelona, Spain, but since a few years back I like to consider myself a global citizen. I’m currently completing a Master’s in Innovation and Global Sustainable Development at Lund University in Sweden which I combine with working remotely as a freelance Sustainability Consultant in Barcelona.
Discovering my new passion for hiking this summer in the North of Spain
My “story” as a global citizen started, of course, with my Erasmus International experience during my Bachelor’s studies when I had the opportunity to spend one semester at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States. This was most certainly a life-changing experience that pushed me outside of my comfort zone in many aspects. Academically, it exposed me to a different way of learning in which, compared to the system I was used to in Spain, it encouraged me to think more critically and to use my voice to share my opinions. Personally, it sparked a new sense of curiosity within me, it showed me a world full of possibilities and I started to allow myself to dream big.
Attending an on campus event with Michelle Obama for the 2016 US Presidential Campaign at the University of Pittsburgh
Fast forward, after graduating, I decided to move to Australia searching for new adventures and new career opportunities (talking about dreaming big…). I was fortunate enough to land a job in an EdTech startup in Melbourne called Paddl Co. where I worked as a Customer Success and Community Manager for two years. Something I definitely realised soon is that in “startupland” you have to be ready to wear many different hats and be ready to continuously adapt to changes of plans! Paddl is a community of lifelong learners and part of our mission was to help emerging talent unlock their full potential and for companies to realise that the world is changing fast and so is the way the future of work is gaining “professional” experience. I believe that every life experience, whether it is an internship or the volunteer work you did during a gap year, will matter for whom you become as an individual and as a professional. One alternative way we were able to create valuable experience was through hosting hackathons which connected university students with real businesses to work on real challenges. Students gained real-life work experience, businesses had the opportunity to tap into a pool of amazing talent and everyone benefited from inclusive innovation!
Ready to take on another hackathon weekend with my team at Paddl Co. in Tasmania, Australia
At the same time, living in Australia brought me closer to nature and I not only found my love for surfing but I became increasingly concerned about issues of environmental sustainability and of social justice. I started to get involved in community initiatives such as beach clean-ups, but I also saw the potential for combining my passion for innovation and technology as a tool to accelerate change. As I’m an “actions” kind of person, I started to actively participate in open innovation challenges and hackathons “for purpose”. For example, I collaborated with Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK), a global community of technologists and changemakers who are ‘hacking for good”. This not only allowed me to help with my skills in a variety of projects — from an NGO working towards women empowerment in Nepal, to a social enterprise using big data to stop gender harassment and an e-commerce platform exclusively focused on local, ethical sustainable products — and learn many new ones, but it connected me to a super diverse network of people who, like me, are willing to challenge the status quo and believe in a better future for humanity and the planet.
Sorting marine plastic debris after a clean up event in Fraser Island, Australia
Learning coding skills during a hackathon at a RHoK event in Melbourne
Now that I’m back in Academia studying my Master’s, I see first hand how the future of education (still) needs some “shaking”. My main motivation to go back to university was to further my education in sustainability science so that I can better contribute with my skills to contribute to driving the urgent change that is needed, influencing from grassroots movements to perhaps at the higher policy level. However, I sometimes feel that we’re still too hung up on textbooks and we don’t spend enough time looking at (or for) solutions. For me, the future of education encourages “learning” over “studying”, it reflects the complexity of the world we live in by embracing trial-and-error and encourages learners to think critically and ALWAYS ask themselves (or to other people) “WHY?”.
Thank you Judith for all the support you offered, you are truly a multi-talented person!