Gabriel BASSON: student and ‘Responsible Leader’ at IÉSEG

Many students at IÉSEG are committed to making a difference, each in their own way. For some, this translates into their commitment to the School’s Responsible Leaders program. They contribute directly to the School’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) strategy, by tackling environmental and social issues. Gabriel BASSON, a 3rd-year student in the Grande École program, shares his story and tells us more about his commitment as a Responsible Leader at IÉSEG.

Gabriel BASSON
Gabriel BASSON

Gabriel, what is a Responsible Leader at IÉSEG?

A Responsible Leader is a volunteer student who decides to take part in one or more missions as part of the school’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) strategy. Around 70% of these missions focus on environmental causes, such as recycling, waste reduction, environmental awareness, and ecology. Then there’s a social component that deals with disability and well-being at work or at school. We work on issues ranging from illness and disabilities to the psychology and well-being of not only students, but everyone working at the School. A Responsible Leader is therefore a student who wants to get involved in one of these areas and collaborate with IÉSEG’s Social and Environmental Impact Department to accomplish a mission and make a positive contribution to the school life but also, and more broadly, to society. There are currently around 40 Responsible Leaders at IÉSEG.

Why did you decide to become a Responsible Leader?

I chose to become a Responsible Leader because I knew that with IÉSEG’s resources and reputation, I could make a positive change, even on a small scale, in an area of interest to me. Initially, I didn’t know exactly what this entailed. So, it was also out of curiosity that I decided to get involved. It didn’t take long for me to decide to focus on the “well-being” division, which deals with disability and well-being.

©IÉSEG / Vincent CLERO

What does the role of Responsible Leader mean to you, and what kinds of activities does it entail?

As a Responsible Leader, I’m involved in the creation and implementation of disability-related projects, from A to Z, in constant contact with the School’s Environmental and Social Impact Department. My aim is to make a real difference and have an impact within IÉSEG. It gives me the feeling of being part of something bigger than my studies. For example, other leaders have created a water bottle distributed to all students when they arrive at IÉSEG, bearing the slogan “IÉSEG cares”, in order to reduce plastic waste. It’s a real achievement, and I think we can really make a difference through our involvement as Responsible Leaders. My idea was to do something that went beyond my academic journey at the School.

Do you currently have a flagship project?

With my group, and in particular my fellow student Maëlle GABRIEL who is also very involved, we’re working on the “Handicap and Business” project to learn more about the various types of disabilities, in particular the invisible ones. We will be organizing conferences for students to raise their awareness of the subject. We are already in contact with various people working in this field to make this possible. Handicap & Business’ motto is ‘Giving visibility to invisible disabilities’. Our target audience is primarily IÉSEG students, but staff are also welcome. The idea is to organize knowledge-sharing and awareness-raising events, designed by students, for students.

The first conference will take place online on Thursday November 30 at 5pm. Lali DUGELAY (author of the book ‘L’autisme est mon super-pouvoir’ (‘Autism is my superpower’), certified lecturer on disability in the workplace, autism and DYS disorders) will be speaking.

Why did you choose to focus on the topic of disability in particular?

There are in fact a majority of disabilities that are invisible, and a large proportion of these go undiagnosed. This means that there are people who have a disability and are unaware of it, and who are therefore unable to benefit from the appropriate care and follow-up they need. This generally leads to a lack of understanding of oneself and of others. In some cases, this can become dangerous for health or psychological well-being. My aim from the outset was to raise awareness among students, notably through conferences, in partnership with people interested in/working in this field. It was after talking to a friend who told me that his mom had just been diagnosed with Asperger’s autism, that I decided to launch this “handicap and business” project. After all, there’s very little communication about autism in France, and I realized that I knew very little about it, apart from the stereotypes associated with it. So, even for my own sake, I wanted to find out more, to understand and be able to react and communicate appropriately, without letting myself be ” influenced ” by preconceived ideas.

How do you become a Responsible Leader ?

To become a Responsible Leader, you need to be a student at IÉSEG, whether you’re in your first, second or third year, or even a Master’s degree – it doesn’t matter! Then, the selection process is essentially based on motivation. You must apply at the beginning of the academic year, and then undergo an interview. We are asked why we want to become a Responsible Leader and what we would bring to the program. If you already have ideas on a particular topic, don’t hesitate to present them. We need to show our willingness to get involved in a project, whether for environmental or social reasons, or both. There are no specific criteria, but it’s essential to be willing to make a difference and contribute to the life of the school and, more generally, to society!

Some projects carried out by Responsible Leaders in recent years:

  • Mental Health Day: for the past two years, Responsible Leaders have set up a booth on the IÉSEG campus during World Mental Health Day on October 10 to raise awareness of mental health and well-being issues.
  • Creation of the Sustainability Certificate
  • Redesign of signage on waste sorting garbage containers in Paris, to improve the percentage of plastic, paper and glass recycled.
  • And many more!
IÉSEG's 60th Anniversary Badge