People of the Dialogue: Gabriel Ganev Keubgen
A legend within the WBD community, this week we present Gabriel Ganev Keubgen in the newest edition of our “People of the Dialogue”-series. He attended the World Business Dialogue four times in a row and will tell you about some of his favorite memories today. To make your own memories of the Dialogue, apply today!
What is your favorite memory from the World Business Dialogue so far?
My favorite WBD memory of all times is easy. In 2017, at the end of the first dialogue day two or three, people kept asking me as a local where we could go after. All I said was “Don’t worry. It will be great but it’s a surprise.” Half an hour later people kept asking me “Where are we going?” When the event ended and the place emptied, I left the building and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There were people EVERYWHERE! I mean seriously everywhere. All waiting for me to bring them to that mysterious party. After overcoming my amazement of the power of the word of mouth in the WBD community, I shouted out to gather everyone and lead their way. Along the way I kept looking back in disbelief of what was happening. Despite having the abilities of a light house I was not able to see the end of the train of people. I can tell you it was quite a challenge keeping all these people together. Once we reached the Club (Veedels Klub) I walked up to the bouncer and asked him if it is crowded inside and if there’s space because we are a “bigger group”. Naively, he responded “Sure no problem!”. I insisted “I am serious, we are a huge group, are you sure there’s enough space?” Looking at his counter, he responded “Sure don’t worry. There are only 75 people inside. How many people are you?” And I started laughing and pointed to the right towards a line of people filling up the entire street and more people crossing the street. All he was able to say was “Where did all these people come from?” To make sure everyone gets in without trouble I was hired as the bouncer’s assistant for the next half an hour and got paid in drinks. Switching between Spanish and English, I explained to the delegates where to pay the entry fee, where to find the wardrobe and to go all the way to the end to the dance floor and have a good time. When everyone was inside the counter was near 200 people. We more than doubled the amount of people inside the club. In all the years I’ve been to the WBD this was the year with a huge group of Latinos. So this Latino party was the perfect place for us to go. I
amount of people inside the club. In all the years I’ve been to the WBD this was the year with a huge group of Latinos. So this Latino party was the perfect place for us to go. I probably should not go into too many details but the party was incredible. I am sure that those who have been there and are reading this right now have a lot of memories popping up in their minds. Many of the people I talked to after said it was one of their highlights of WBD2017. So many nations celebrated together as one crowd. In our hearts, we were all Latinos that night. And since then, it has become a tradition on Thursdays to go to the “Latino Night”.
“So many nations celebrated together as a crowd.“
Are you still in contact with others from the conference – what’s your connection to them?
Through WBD I have build up an incredible network of friends from all
parts the world. Not only does it help me to better understand other
perspectives but it also gives me, as a traveler, a network to see a place
through the eyes of a friend. As an example, last year I travelled to Benin,
Togo, and Ghana. I visited Ghana for three months in 2011 and have
friends from Togo but I had never been to Benin nor did I know anyone
who has ever been there. So, I wrote a Facebook post hoping to find
someone who could help me out with recommendations. But, people
only commented on Ghana and Togo. Then, I remembered that during
WBD I had a great conversation with Appolinaire and I had this feeling he
was from Benin. As it turned out, he actually was from Benin,
recommended numerous places and also introduced me to his friends –
one for every single place that I should visit. He was not able to be there
because he studies abroad but his childhood friend gave me a walking
tour through Porto Novo, the capital. His other friend brought me to
several bars and restaurants in Cotonou. And on top of that, his cousin
Felix hosted me, let me sleep in his own bed, showed me around Lomé
and gave me an unforgettable time. I could go on and on with stories
about the hostility of WBD participants. The friends I made through WBD
are the most valuable asset that comes with participating. This is one of
the main reasons I keep coming back over and over again.
“The friends I made through WBD are the most valuable asset that comes with participating. This is one of the main reasons I keep coming back over and over again.”
Has the conference impacted your career path?
Meeting all these amazing people with their incredible career plans and aspirations had a huge impact on the way I believe in myself. Seeing these inspiring personalities helped me to push the boundaries and limits of what I am able to achieve in my professional career.
Meeting all these amazing people with their incredible career plans and aspirations had a huge impact on the way I believe in myself. Seeing these inspiring personalities helped me to push the boundaries and limits of what I am able to achieve in my professional career. In November 2018 I started my own consulting company and my dream is to have the most diverse team any company has ever seen. And one part of that are international young minds who bring their very own culture and perspective to the table.
“Seeing these inspiring personalities helped me to push the boundaries and limits of what I am able to achieve in my professional career.”
What are you currently doing?
In 2015, I graduated in Industrial Engineering at the Cologne University of
Applied Sciences. Since then, I have been working in the automotive
industry and at OSCAR the sister company of WBD. In November 2018, I
started my own consulting company wanting to reinvent the way
consulting is done in four main aspects: Purpose-driven consulting,
collaboration with the clients, creativity and interaction and diversified
teams. And the result is Sustainable Change Consulting. As of today, I am
working on acquiring my first project in data analytics in the automotive
Apart from that, I am a very passionate traveler who tries to learn local
languages and seeks for inspiring moments with individuals where ever it
may be trying to learn from their perspectives.
Author: Gabriel Ganev Keubgen
Gabriel has a degree in Industrial Engineering, worked for our sister company OSCAR and has since founded his own consulting company. But what makes him special is that he attended the World Business Dialogue for four years in a row and is rooted in the WBD community like hardly anyone else.