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Universe

Chapter 13: Stepping Up, Never Back - Staying True to the THU Mission

Universe

Let’s travel back to December 31, 2019. Remember New Year's eve? The raised glasses, the fireworks, and the shiny promise of a new beginning. 366 blank pages ahead to fill with plans and goals.

2020 began as a year of transformation for us. THU Japan was marked on our calendars for May, and the Main Event was getting ready to take place at a new location. It would be a tough year with a lot of work ahead, but we were looking forward to using everything we learned during 2019 and taking the Tribe to new heights. 

On a personal level, hosting the event in Japan would be my dream come true, since it’s one of my favorite places in the world. After going back to the venue, in Kaga, in January, I was officially in love with the city and in countdown for the moment where I could share this place with all of you and create an experience from scratch. 

Eight years ago, I wouldn’t even dare to think any of this would be possible. I make a point to look back every once in a while, only to understand how many challenges we overcame and how many great memories and accomplishments we have made along the way. It may feel nostalgic, but it never fails to help me realize how much is still waiting ahead for all of us. 

Now, fast forward to March. The pandemic took over the world, and all our plans changed. We quickly realized that it wouldn’t be fair to replicate our events digitally because it would never do it justice, and the indescribable feeling of magic would simply not be there. 

But, at times like these, doing nothing was also not an option. We knew we needed to do something that could make a difference, listen to the community, and help the creative industry. 

Understanding the best way to do this was a challenging process, and we had to take a moment to stop and reflect on what is important for us. One thing that I understood clearly since the beginning was that this was a time where THU had to come forward and have a clear voice. It was time to step up to our values and beliefs and make them even louder. 

The internal search for why we do this and what we stand for lead us to the answer: the unavoidable cliché of wanting to make the world a better place and making a difference in people's lives. Who doesn’t want to change the world? It’s such a big ambition, and yet, it sounds so empty when we hear others saying it. That’s why taking action is so important. Our work already inspires and changes people’s lives, with each THU experience bringing new stories of success that never fail to remind us why we started. But we need to keep going. And we want to do more. 

The creative industries have the power to improve local economies and a giant impact on society. We want to help maximize that impact, starting with our community, which keeps getting bigger and stronger. We were always proud of having a community (the Tribe) where everyone is inclusive, helps each other, and is hard-working. Seeing that these values still stand even through difficult times of adversities and challenges has been a truly inspiring and humbling experience for me. 

To do more and do it better, we needed to change the way we were used to doing things without compromising our purpose of empowering the community. As the founder of this project, this was a defining moment for me. It was something I’ve been waiting for, and that would never be possible without the help and support of everyone who believes in my vision and doesn’t dismiss it as craziness even though, in all fairness, it sometimes can be. 

Over the last few months, we have been revealing some of the solutions the team created as a response to the things that were missing and our new mindset: Kanpai Live and, of course, the Sony Talent League by THU

Last week, we also introduced another huge initiative called the THU Career Camp by Lenovo. The Career Camp was created after we received numerous messages from community members who were struggling in their career paths. It was important for me to involve the Tribe, as well as the companies, in the process since the beginning, making something with them and for them. Together, we built an online event that will ultimately help everyone find new jobs and develop their careers (for free!). We are working to humanize this experience as much as possible, to overcome digital barriers and create a strong sense of unity and hope. We are giving companies and recruiters the spotlight, and are happy to see that it’s possible to unite, join our strengths, and speak with one voice to help creators.

For us, the Career Camp is also a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to promoting inclusion and diversity in the industry because it’s such an incredible opportunity to support under-represented communities. Since it’s online, geographical boundaries, travel costs, and visas are not an issue, allowing us to reach even more people that can benefit from this experience. We are making the most of this opportunity to bring new talent to our Tribe, and will keep working with Cross Roads as well as other organizations to create opportunities.  We hope this initiative brings you hope and unlocks the new path that you’ve been waiting for.

Before I end this chapter, I want to thank the amazing people at Lenovo and Sony. They worked tirelessly with our team to find solutions that could help our community, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their dedication to the Tribe. 

As for the THU team, we will be here, right by the Tribe’s side, trying our best to make our industry a better place and, of course, embracing the unavoidable and indispensable cliché of changing the world through the power of dreams.

Andre Luis