Alignment

When going through the process of becoming a Pulse Volunteer, I believe that most were focused on location.  That is natural.  It could be so different from home that it causes the most anxiety.  Next was the organization we would be supporting.  I am betting that most were not concerned about the actual assignments until the first day of work in their new countries.  I can assure you that was me.  Location, organization and then distantly the actual work.  I believe it is natural and there is an internal belief that we can do a good job no matter the assignments and we will be happy to help in any way possible.

What I now believe is that in the matching week for the Pulse Global team, the assignments were vital.  The actual skill sets needed to accomplish the assignments, I believe, was top priority.  This is just my assumption of course.  Either way I do not believe the Pulse team could have matched me any better than with Path and the projects I am doing.  Here is the example that I have been trying to figure out the words for.  I hope I do it justice.

As an openly gay man, there are struggles in life.  It comes from various aspects from society and also from within.  Being an openly gay employee at GSK has not always been the easiest.  There is a lot of open bias toward me and there is even more unconscious bias towards me.  I never take offense and just hope the more people I work with that I will give them positive attitude toward more gay people.  In the end my life is pretty good and I try  not to complain.

I was matched with Path on their HIV projects in Vietnam.  Sounds worthy enough.  I was excited no matter what.  At the end of my first week, they asked me to travel to Vinh City in Central Vietnam to work with two Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) and watch a promotional meeting for a new brand of condom that I am helping create a marketing campaign for.  We work with several key populations.  One of them being MSM (men seeking sex with men).  So basically the gay population for the most part.  In Vinh City, they have already launched the brand of condom and it is being marketed to this key population.  Two of the CBO’s I am meeting with are open gay men that help distribute these condoms (don’t think for free.  These are community businesses that are trying to help their members make money to live and for advocacy projects).  My objectives for the meeting was learn what is working well, barriers and they had requested a sales training on basic sales techniques.

Of course I had an interpreter because I so don’t speak Vietnamese (I butcher English just fine thank you).  I had her start the meeting by letting them know I am MSM as well (there is no word for gay here).  I told them I was there to learn a lot from them and I hope they could learn just a tad from me.  You could tell that they were not expecting this.  That someone, me, was there and I identified with them.  That simple act of identification was so vital for the rest of my training.  I believe that the training was more impactful and they were paying more attention because of it.  What it also did was have an impact on me.  This was not just helping some no faced person in a city you don’t know.  Here I am in the field. Meeting the people that I will directly impact.  People like me.  People that want to make a difference for their kind in their country.  People that want to stop the spread of HIV.  People that want safe sex practices implemented.  People that want the latest in testing and medications.  People that are bright ,funny, intelligent and passionate.  A simple act of identifying with someone can go a long way.  I honestly never realized how far it could go.

So I want to openly thank the matching team for Pulse.  I thought this would change my life.  Now I am certain and I look forward to every change that comes.

Sincerely

Chad Morgan

12 comments

  1. Dear Chad, what a bold and courageous blog. You are unique. I am convinced that you are already making an important difference and that, to your point, there is certainly a reason why this specific assignment came to you. Being a PULSE Volunteer, I believe, will catapult us outside of not only our comfort zone but into something completely unexpected and life changing.
    Well Chad, BE the CHANGE. All the best!

    1. Well said Helene ! Such a well written & brave blog post Chad – so proud of you !! You are making a true difference 🙂 and I also will take the compliments on the “match” on behalf of the PULSE team! Thank you for recognizing us! Best, Manu.

  2. Enjoyed reading this post and I think you found the words. I hope your PULSE assignment continues as well as it sounds like it has thus far!

  3. I love this! In the brief time we spent together, it was obvious your infectious personality would serve you well on your assignment. Sounds like you’re already making an impact and I look forward to hearing about the rest of your journey!

  4. Chad you are definitely bringing us along on the journey! I couldn’t agree more with the thoughtfulness put into the matching assignment. I know you will do amazing things and will leave a lasting impact in all you do!

  5. Chad, it is so great to hear from you and the journey you are taking. Your words are filled with enthusiasm. You will do great work in this assignment…

  6. Hi Chad,

    Great post. Completely agree with what you are saying about location, organisation and then assignment. That’s exactly how I felt too.

    It’s great that you feel really connected to your work and can identify with your trainees, this will surely help you deliver on your project.

    Alex

  7. Chad, I am so inspired by what you did and the connection you felt with these community based organizations in Vietnam. I was excited for you before and even more excited now. Sending you positive vibes and I’ll look forward to hearing your next blog entry. Good luck with the marketing and advertising campaign for these new brands!

  8. I love your posts! Inspiring, funny, thoughtful and introspective. What you did was courageous and I can only imagine the thoughts and feelings going through your head as you were speaking those words. Amazing work going on there and you are in the center of it…fantastic! Can’t wait to hear more about this work. (PS Nice job with Gemba! 🙂 )

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