Working Together to Reduce Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence in Romania – My Corporate Service Corps Experience

In 2007, IBM launched the IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) program to help communities around the world solve critical problems while providing IBM employees unique leadership development opportunities. In this blog, Donald McMullin, a recent CSC participants shares his experiences and learning from his CSC experience in Romania.

The IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) is a highly competitive leadership development program that sends IBM employees to countries in emerging markets to address high-priority issues such as education, health, and economic development. This philanthropic initiative enables them to share their business expertise with not-for-profit organizations, entrepreneurs, small business owners and governmental agencies in markets globally.


By Donald McMullin

The key to success for the amazing Corporate Service Corps program is in its ability to bring IBM employees from around the world and effectively solve a wide range of challenges. In my case, 11 employees from 8 countries (Australia, Costa Rica, India, Japan, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan, and U.S.) came together as one team in Targu Mures, Romania, to work with 4 different clients. One of those challenging tasks was to support a non-governmental organization in their efforts to help women and girls who are at risk of gender-based violence and domestic violence (GBV/DV).

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Targu-Mures, Romania and Home for our Team

Our work focused on designing a mobile application, creating a roadmap for full implementation, and also providing a marketing and communication plan – all with the intent to help them meet the following objectives:

  • Provide easy and quick access to information about professional support services
  • Get help for victims of gender-based violence and domestic violence
  • Reduce the number of victims
  • Change the mentality and perception towards violence

With such an important goal of helping those at risk of violence, we had to overcome cultural barriers and working styles and quickly become a high-performing team. And here’s the amazing part, it worked! In less than 4 weeks, our team completed the work and left behind sustainable and impactful solutions for our client.

In an excellent blog by Gina Tesla and Vicki Flaherty, they called the IBM CSC experience “A Mindfulness Living Laboratory.” It really is a living laboratory of teammates who must be mindful of themselves, their teammates, and their clients, not to mention the families, friends, and co-workers they left behind for 4 weeks. We learned to communicate, to get along when it’s not easy, to amend for mistakes, to take care of each other, and of course, get the job done.

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IBM Design Thinking Workshop at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Targu Mures

When a company can bring solutions to our communities’ problems and do this is a meaningful and impactful way, then this is corporate citizenship at its best. As our client told me, IBM is no longer a distant, unreachable entity whose help they could never obtain. Instead, now they had met IBM and IBM became very human to them. IBM is no longer just a name or a brand. Now it is people and people who cared.


Don McMullin is an IBM Certified Senior Project Manager in GLobal Business Services, Public Sector. He manages teams of software developers providing custom applications and advanced analytics solutions. He has been with IBM for 7 years and is based in Colorado, USA. Don is the father of two wonderful sons, Casey and Connor, and supports his local community through faith based activities.

Take some time to read the experiences of some other IBMers during their #IBMCSC assignment across the globe here.

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