By Jan Pecenak
IBM in Czech Republic recently ran a special evening event with our partner organization called “Social Impact Night – Outthink the Difference.” The main purpose of the event was to connect people from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and startups, focused on helping people, with IBMers who are willing to volunteer in this area. It was organized in a startup “mash up” style, where presenters had three-minute sales pitches to cover their stories. Entrepreneurs spoke about how they were giving back knowledge and energy to the community. To our surprise, participants were very diverse – people with various life stories focused on helping others.
Topics varied greatly. During the presentation, we heard a woman in a wheel chair speak about her trip to Africa – by tractor! There were also presentations about a GPS application for the visually impaired; an organization that manufactures clips used to make hearing aids for children; and even new stylish pants for people using wheel chairs.
We also had a chance to network with a lot of interesting people. We met a lady who runs an NGO that manufactures chocolates in the shape of sign language symbols; this aims to teach people how to better interact with others. And there was another inspiring individual who helps autistic children, while also teaching companies suitable ways to integrate them within their teams.
We were proud to be among those who presented, giving us the opportunity to share our individual stories and perspectives. IBM representatives spoke about the community of volunteers inside IBM and the many possible ways to help. A colleague also shared how she felt about participating in the event.
I am proud that I could represent the IBM Brno Volunteering team and their contribution to the community around us.
The community accomplished a lot in 2015 – mentally, physically, and even in terms of getting financial support from IBMers and IBM. In 2016, we will continue to encourage our volunteering community to spread more goodness around – to engage with our hands, heads and hearts. After all, this is what volunteering is all about.
What did we get out of this? For one thing we got the inspiration to help. IBMers who participated had a chance to meet people and organizations who need our volunteering support. IBM as an organization helped with the development of apps and infrastructure. We also learned that building a community of volunteers is powerful and that we can impact lives when we outthink the difference.
As a part of the HR team I often ask people what they like about working for IBM, or what it is that keeps them here. The answer is the same almost every time: People & Drive. Yes. It is all about people willing to invest their time and effort to organize activities for communities, volunteer in projects with impact, and staying positive all the time.
This is IBM Client Innovation Centre Brno, Czech Republic. I’m glad to be a part of it!
Jan Pecenak is IBM Recruitment & Employer Branding Specialist, IBM Client Innovation Centre Central Europe
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