Life as the Young Chartered Star...

May 01, 2019

As his time as the 2018 Young Chartered Star comes to a close, Michael J. Walls, CEO of Dappr, reflects on the personal and professional opportunities that have come out of winning the competition last May.

I was on holidays in Gran Canaria when I found out that I had been selected as the Young Chartered Star (YCS). I was absolutely over the moon when the realisation had set in that I had just won an all-expenses-paid trip to represent the Institute at the prestigious One Young World (OYW) conference at The Hague. Better still, I didn’t realise that being selected as the YCS would be such a point of pride for my family.  The day that the press release was issued, my dad woke up early to go buy a copy of the newspaper so that he and mum could show it off to any visitors who popped by the house.

One Young World

The OYW conference was held at The Hague from 17 to 20 October and was attended by 1,800+ young leaders under 35, from 190+ countries. The overall aim is to inspire and empower the delegates to make a positive change in our respective communities, and to deliver on the targets set in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

While there, I had the opportunity to hear from some of the top business and political leaders in the world during the packed, three-day agenda. Other delegates also had the opportunity to speak, raising awareness about a range of topics including human rights, sexual violence, poverty, education, climate change and the environment. 

OYW ambassador

After the conference, every delegate becomes an OYW ambassador, and is part of a network of nearly 10,000 people around the world. As an OYW Ambassador, I made three commitments of which I am proud to report some progress:

  • Use my expertise as an ACA to help the business community to deliver on the UN SDGs.
    I had the privilege of attending the launch of Finance and Business 2030 in London, a partnership between CAW, OYW and the City of London, bringing together young leaders from the Finance and Business community to come up actions to help tackle the SDGs.
  • Reduce my impact on the environment. 
    Personally, I cycle to and from work, recycle more, and purchased a Keep Cup instead of using single-use coffee cups. Professionally, I am working on an initiative with CAW and the other YCSs to help better the environment that will launch in the coming months.
  • Become an LGBTQ+ role model.
    This is something that I didn’t have at the beginning of my career, and it held me back. I want to help inspire LGBTQ+ members currently completing their training or taking the first step on their Chartered journey.


Being the YCS, I have had the opportunity to speak at various events, sharing my journey and highlighting the value being an ACA has brought to my career. More recently, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to write for Accountancy Ireland about technology and how this will impact the profession, a topic of which I am very passionate.   Finally, the past 12 months have been an incredible experience. I would encourage all students to enter the YCS Competition so they can represent the Institute at this years OYW conference in London. Any Chartered Accountants Ireland student or member under 35 can apply to be the 2019 Young Chartered Star at

Five things to know before becoming the Young Chartered Star

1. You’ll write an article about your experience

Be honest when writing your article to enter the Young Chartered Star competition, and share your unique Chartered journey. What inspired you to become a Chartered Accountant and what obstacles did you have to overcome? 

2. Savvy on social media

It is expected for the YCS to share their experience of the OYW on various social media platforms (mainly Twitter, to be honest), so brush up!

3. Once in a lifetime opportunity

How often do you get the opportunity to hear from some of the top business and political leaders in the world? This year is going to be no different and, since this is the 10th year of OYW, I expect a lot of high-profile speakers in London.

4. Global networks

Not only will the YCS have the opportunity to network with Chartered Accountants from 12 different countries, but also become part of the OYW Ambassador community with members from 190+ countries.

5. Enhanced profile

Your profile as a Chartered Accountant will be raised within the Institute. The enhanced profile of being the YCS has a positive impact on job prospects, business development or community projects on which you are working.