Fun First at The Franklin Institute

You know that special ripple of positive energy that washes over the office when you hear the unexpectedly quick pace of a visiting toddlers’ footsteps zipping past the conference room? Well, multiply that by two thousand kids, and it almost comes close to a day working at the Franklin Institute (TFI) in Philadelphia. Their joy infuses the serious daily work on The Franklin Institute’s mission to inspire a passion for learning about science and technology.

I work for GSK, currently serving on special local assignment with PULSE at The Franklin Institute. The goal of the PULSE Volunteer Partnership is to set off a ripple effect as well; to empower change in myself, and my community, and at GSK upon my return. I will share my change journey in this blog with colleagues and friends I meet along the way.

Here are some highlights of fun during my first two weeks at TFI:

The construction on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway crosswalk finished just in time for my new commute: a flip-flop facilitated quick walk to work here in my hometown of Philadelphia.

On my first day, the volunteer team at TFI pulled back the curtain, and brought me backstage, behind the exhibit spotlights, and introduced me to the dozens of vivacious volunteers who bring science to life for guests daily. So many different paths brought them together; I’m looking forward to listening to their stories.

I’ve been at GSK 9+ years. It’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a rookie. I’m so grateful for the refreshed perspective of a new-starter. HR colleagues and team leaders take note:

  1. A scavenger hunt is a super-fun way to learn the layout of your new workspace, and who works where. It’s an experiential approach to providing organizational context that gives a new joiner permission and purpose to explore more broadly, and to interact with others beyond the core team, right from the start.
  2. Pastry-based pleasantries are perhaps my favorite way to start a new day on a new team.

I’m very grateful for the warm welcome from my TFI colleagues; what a dedicated, thoughtful, generous, hard working group. My goal these first few weeks is to listen to their stories, understand their challenges, and identify some opportunities to offer my service where it will be most impactful and sustainable.

I welcome your questions and suggestions.


  1. Hi MB. Sounds like you are off to a great start at the TFI. Hopefully you can bring the pastry routine back to the NY. The healthy version of course. Keep blogging…..BJ

  2. Hi, it is energizing to be in a new space and able to discover different thinking and reflect on how some of the experiences/challenges are the same. Love the scavenger hunt as a way to learn – though I like to do it on a team – use that diverse thinking:). Jealous that you are walking to work in flip flops and spending time with toddlers (so cute in how they see the world).

  3. Hi Mary Beth! I’ve been thinking of you! I hope your new adventures are going well. All the best,

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