Juozas Cernius

ME to WE

Thinking about the impact he’s seen, Juozas, said,

From my perspective, the impact of the WE programs is profound. Considering the Education Pillar, I’ve seen countless students enthusiastically and gratefully attending quality schools they previously believed they had no access to. I see the “learners,” as they are affectionately called, embracing their potential while cultivating their awareness of being connected to the world at large.

Reflecting on his experience at WE, Juozas said,

I’ve been producing photographs and videos for WE and many of their program partners for five years now. As a freelancer, I have had the privilege of witnessing the inner dynamics and dominant attitudes within numerous international organizations. With over a decade of professional experience, you could say I’ve seen a lot. Interestingly, in the landscape of development organizations, WE comes out on top in so many ways. For example, one very unique quality I see is that for WE staff, there’s a lot of independence encouraged and expected, minimizing bureaucracy and discouraging micro management. With a prevailing ethos of autonomy of thought comes an individual sense of responsibility to hold up one’s own part of the puzzle. Internal motivation is very powerful, and I’ve known WE staff to be consistently professional, creative problem solvers, and very good team players. Importantly, they can also be a real joy to work with. I’ve seen these traits in WE drivers, cleaning staff, chefs and also through to the facilitators and program managers. I believe the founders of WE have set a very good leadership examples company wide.

Thinking of what he was most proud of, Juozas recalled,

A lot of people on WE trips are visiting Africa for the first time, often from privileged backgrounds. I love to see their previously held expectations completely rearranged through their journey. I’ve seen such emotional experiences unfold, including people being humbled by such deceptively simple acts like carrying water, mixing cement on school construction sites and, perhaps most of all, meeting local people and talking with them. I’ve seen adults of all ages, children, entire families, celebrities and executives, all have their ideas of “Africa” completely transformed and consequently their global perspective dramatically enhanced. These kinds of surprises are very inspiring and act like a positive feedback loop internationally. I am honored to be a part of such remarkable global momentum.

Speaking about the most memorable impact of his work, Juozas said,

I’ve been artistically inclined since childhood. From my formative years and into my professional practice, I have been dedicated to creating work that effectively fuses compelling style and meaningful content. I am rewarded when my work promotes good ideas and causes, as well as supporting progressive organizations. When my work can encourage, highlight or inspire people to make the world a better place, then I feel I’m doing something right.

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