Global Shapers Provides Opportunities

Mackenzie Loewen (Pedersen)

Mackenzie Loewen (Pedersen)

Alumna (Class of 2019)

This article is part of Das Tor’s collaboration with Phoenix Global Shapers. The Global Shapers Community is a World Economic Forum initiative that encourages global-minded individuals to make a positive impact in their local communities. Over the next weeks, Das Tor will be featuring T-birds making a difference in Global Shapers. Thunderbird students are highly encouraged to apply for membership at the Phoenix hub here. 

I received my Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with a minor in History from Arizona State University thanks to the Starbucks College Achievement Program. During my undergraduate program, I had the opportunity to embark on a study abroad trip to Florence, Italy, where I learned Etruscan, Greek, and Roman history as well as participated in a 3-week archeological dig in Fiesole, which is just north of Florence. That trip was my first taste of international travel. Nearing the end of my bachelor’s, I became an AmeriCorps VISTA for the City of Avondale, where I took on the role of Community Engagement Specialist and launched my nonprofit career. During my service, I engaged with local schools and spoke to students regarding the importance of Civic Service and Engagement as well as managed over 5 environmental clean-up events around Avondale.

Following my service as a VISTA, I embarked on my adventure with the Thunderbird School of Global Management, where I received my Master of Arts in Global Affairs and Management in May of 2019. My class spent its first year at the Glendale campus and its last year in the transition to downtown Phoenix. During my time there, I led several clubs, including Net Impact and Habitat for Humanity, and was a journalist for Das Tor during my first year. In my second semester, I gained experience as a Chapter Advancement Intern with Make-A-Wish America in Phoenix and was lucky enough to secure a summer opportunity as a Program Intern with Net Impact in Oakland, California.

My second year of Thunderbird, I was able to leverage my extracurricular courses and worked on one of Professor Gibbon’s consulting teams to deliver marketing/branding solutions to a local client, learn about CSR from Professor Sully De Luque (who has become a dear friend), and gained data and marketing insights from Professor Sainam. More so, I had the opportunity to get an on-campus job as a student worker for the Career Management Center (which I highly recommend) and as a Teaching Assistant for Professor Gamso. As I heard Professor Moffett say once, “The best way to learn something is to teach it,” so I did just that with Gamso’s Data/Methodologies course. My two years at Thunderbird, while a tribulation, were an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. 

Upon graduating, I played an integral part in an “Agile Transformation” at Freeport-McMoRan as a PMO Analyst by developing training documentation and change management strategies to ensure the adaptation and success of IT project managers. Following that, I returned to Thunderbird’s Career Management Center as a Sr. Specialist focused on Employer Relations on the day lockdown hit due to the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, I had been a regular volunteer for The Phoenix Zoo, and a few months into lockdown, I needed an outlet, so I started my research. 

Through my connections with another T-bird, I investigated The Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations (PCFR). Since joining in July 2020, I’ve become the Co-Chair of the Public Affairs Committee at PCFR. In my role, I assist with curating marketing campaign strategies, developing press releases, etc. While that had begun to engage my desire to volunteer, it wasn’t quite enough, and the zoo wasn’t bringing back the volunteers anytime soon, so the search continued.

I was perusing LinkedIn when I stumbled on a post stating that Phoenix Global Shapers applications were open. Using my nifty networking skills, I connected with a Global Shaper from the Tucson Chapter to inquire about her experience. I was so excited about what possibilities were available, so I submitted my application. I knew about the tie between Global Shapers and The World Economic Forum and was eager to engage with like minded individuals who wanted to have a global impact in their local market. With my application in, I eagerly awaited the follow-up, which took the form of an email to set up a phone interview that was fairly casual. Primarily, the interview discussed my background, what types of projects I might be interested in pursuing, and also to inform me about Global Shapers as an organization. This is also when I found out that a T-bird I knew was one of the leaders of the local chapter, reinforcing the idea that Global Shapers is a great place for T-birds to create impact together. Shortly thereafter, I got the confirmation that I had been accepted into Global Shapers!

With the start of this year, 2022, I had the opportunity to advance a series of volunteer opportunities for our members to participate in that would give our Shapers that chance to learn about the different organizations around Phoenix. Additionally, Shapers get to work together, get out into the community, and discover the needs of Phoenicians to be able to identify larger projects they want to create and/or work on. Our first event was with United Food Bank on Saturday, February 26th. Six Shapers, along with over ten volunteers from other groups, packed 975 Emergency Food Bags for United Food Bank to provide to its partners all over the state of Arizona. It was such a wonderful experience that allowed us to understand the impact that we were having that morning, connect with one another, and learn more about United Food Bank. Our next volunteer event is scheduled with Nourish PHX on March 19th from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m., during which we will be helping in their community gardens. If you’re interested in joining as part of the Global Shapers group, please reach out to me at

Beyond having the opportunity to volunteer, Global Shapers offers the chance to develop, launch, and manage a project that aligns with any of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This provides valuable skills for future leaders as well as creates impact in Phoenix. More so, there are leadership opportunities, travel opportunities, and an entire network of Global Shapers at your fingertips through the use of our web platform, TopLink, that you gain access to after becoming a member. TopLink is one of the World Economic Forum’s platforms and offers a myriad of features, including interacting with other members, investigating articles, and attending virtual events hosted by various World Economic Forum professionals. For those who are interested in joining, you must be: 

  • Between 18-27 years old
  • A resident of or live close to the hub city
  • Committed to working with peers to improve your community
  • Interested in developing your leadership potential
  • Willing to support fellow Shapers in their personal and professional development
  • Ready to engage in the community and follow our Community Charter

You can apply here to be a Global Shaper. As mentioned, you will have the chance to manage or work on high impact projects, and some of the main focus areas include: Protect the Planet, Reskill for the Future, Strengthen Civic Engagement, Create Inclusive Communities, Improve Health and Well-Being, and Deliver Basic Needs. If you have a project around any of these areas, I highly encourage you to apply!

Beyond being a Global Shaper, I am a Sr. Manager of Business Solutions at Per Scholas, a national nonprofit that works with companies to increase their diversity in tech by creating talent pipelines of trained professionals. More so, I’m an avid coffee lover and am always happy to connect, so if you’d like to discuss anything Global Shapers, Thunderbird, etc., feel free to connect with me

Related Posts

Epilogue: Graduation

Read a final reflection from Jae Won Song about graduation, his time at Thunderbird, and how we all should pursue our dreams

Epilogue: Graduation

Read a final reflection from Jae Won Song about graduation, his time at Thunderbird, and how we all should pursue our dreams