Chapter 4: Heart of a Warrior

By definition, a warrior is a courageous person engaged in battle; a soldier. A warrior perseveres to the end, fearless and relentless in their pursuit of victory. Over the past 5 months, I’ve had the opportunity to work with such champions…whether it was an EDCI staff member, loving parent in the community, or a child with fiery ambition in their eyes.  In turn, this experience has completely transformed my way of thinking and how I approach life – personally and professionally.

In this blog, I will share an article I recently wrote for GSK, along with a collection of video testimonials and interviews from my assignment.

Be the change you wish to see…

For a number of years, I have been drawn to the PULSE skills-based volunteer program and its three-fold mission to create sustainable change for community, self and GSK.  I was particularly interested in a local assignment as this would allow me to serve my local community, complete a stretch assignment, and ultimately bring fresh, innovative ideas back to GSK.

I’m currently completing a local six month assignment at East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI) as an Internal and External Branding Consultant.  This was a stretch for me as I have worked in internal communications for a number of years, with limited external experience.  Through evaluation of their current branding strategy, problem solving with internal and external clients, and various ADP tools, the organization developed a new internal branding strategy and revised their current external marketing plan.  Together, we partnered to bring EDCI’s mission and values to life through a new look and feel, along with increasing external visibility among the community, partners and funders.  I also worked with the team on employee engagement.  One of the most rewarding accomplishments was allowing other GSK employees to participate in my journey.  Through my local assignment, 80+ GSK employees used their Orange Days to volunteer at my organization and create sustainable change.

My PULSE assignment has been exceptional and I have grown as an individual.  By stepping outside of my role and comfort zone into a new environment, I had to quickly adapt to the changing world around me, identify existing issues, and put a plan in place to drive improvements – in a short period of time.  What did I learn?  Use problem solving techniques to identify the correct root cause and identify 2 – 3 clear objectives, with ASMART goals and a clear action plan.  Also, relationship building and effective communication are important elements to drive and sustain change.  In addition to further expanding my capability, it is a worthy cause to partner with organizations and solve health care issues in the community.  This experience is rewarding, both personally and professionally.

I encourage all GSK employees who have an opportunity to apply for this program and be the change they wish to see in the world!

Here are a few examples of GSK employees volunteering their time and skills during my assignment:

  • US Community Partnership/ Communications Team (Internal Branding Project)
  • Neil Rock, GSK Sales Deployment Director and Greg Grazen, Resilience Manager (Personal Resilience Workshop for EDCI Leadership Team)
  • Heather Johnson, GPS Practitioner (Project Management Workshop for EDCI Community Engagement Team)
  • Melanie Szydlik-Hawkes, EHS Director and Jesse Parker, Supplier Quality Lead (Cherry Grove Park Project)

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