Yesterday’s “opening ceremonies” of sorts was such a wonderful moment for me, for my team, and for our company. I’m so fortunate to work with an incredible group of people in Symantec’s Corporate Responsibility department who always stayed abreast of new ways to keep the company on the leading edge of the field. To that end, in April 2013 I went to The International Corporate Volunteerism Conference in Washington, DC to learn about how other companies manage programs like Symantec Service Corps. At the time, this program was still but a twinkle in our eyes and yet to be named. The other companies who presented at the conference told us about how their programs increased employee engagement and retention, developed leadership, professional, and teaming skills, and even helped innovate new products–all while significantly contributing to improving lives around the world. I returned home with stars in my eyes about what a program like this could do for our company.
In June, Symantec took its first step by funding for a pilot and began working to make that a reality. Launching something so novel involved a lot of collaboration with many departments across the company–Human Resources, Global Security, Travel, Procurement, Communications, our Latin American team and more. In every meeting, I was amazed and encouraged by the enthusiastic support the proram has received by all of my cooleages across Symanec.
In October we announced the program internally and opened up the application process. In less than two weeks we had over 200 applications. I’m so proud of all of the managers throughout Symantec who recognized what an opportunity this was for their employees and the company as a whole. It is not easy for any team to absorb a four week absence, and huge thanks also go out to our participants’ peers who are taking on extra duties in their absence.
This pilot program would not be possible without the support of our non-profit implementation partner, PYXERA Global (particularly Eric Schroeder and Sara Faragalla). PYXERA Global recommended a location among our list of priority countries, helped us identify NGOs who fit our mission and could successfully leverage a month’s worth of pro-bono volunteerism, and set up logistics for the program. After meeting the three NGOs yesterday, I’m thrilled to see the results in four short weeks.
The team spent the 8 weeks prior to departure preparing for the trip with weekly coursework and training calls (sometimes in the middle of the night) to ensure we wasted no time upon arrival. I know that journey that began 8 months and 4,956 miles away at our corporate headquarters in Mountain View, CA was only the beginning for the many people that will be touched by the program.
It’s been one amazing trip that I hope continues well beyond our departure March 14th!