June 14

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An adventure of a lifetime begins…

When I was a little girl, I used to change my mind daily about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Amongst the many options I considered (such as a teacher, stewardess, doctor), there was always a common theme “to help people”. During my 12 years as a scientist working on molecular pathways, I felt I was too far away from the action – where I could feel the impact of my work. So, I moved to GSK to be able to see how the company I work for was making a difference in the world and helping people.  I have been so proud of working for GSK for the last 11 years, not least because it is an Innovative company  (with several billion investment in R&D every year and helping billions of patients and consumers do more, feel better, live longer in many countries globally).

However, that childhood desire to help people and see my individual impact has never been stronger. So, imagine my joy at being told that GSK was going to support me to do exactly what I had dreamt of.  GSK is the only employer in the world that provides this unique opportunity to take 6 months fully-paid to work with an NGO and make a direct impact in the world. This skills-based volunteering opportunity is a chance to use my skills in a broader context than any role I have been involved in to date.

Today is my last day at GSK, before my PULSE assignment commences next week. I am proud to be part of the PULSE10 Cohort, a group of 67 volunteers setting out on a journey of a lifetime. This is the 10th year anniversary since this programme commenced.

My assignment is with Malaria No More (MNM) UK that has a mission to eliminate malaria. This year it has already raised the profile of malaria by organising a malaria Summit.  The Summit was attended by Commonwealth Heads of Government as well as other key partners in the fight against malaria, such as Bill Gates, Prince Charles, Luc Debruyne (President, GSK Vaccines), etc.  This event generated £2.9billion in funding for malaria and laid the groundwork for a historic Commonwealth commitment to halve cases and deaths by 2023, which if achieved will save 650,000 lives and protect over 300 million more.  MNM are at a critical juncture to leverage their position as an advocacy group, to set up collaborations across Europe with other NGOs, Academics, Pharma, and Government agencies.  My role as a European Strategy Consultant is to identify areas where partnerships can be set up to “pool resources” and work together to eliminate malaria.  As I embark on this adventure, I am sad to be leaving behind the familiar environment of the GSK community and my friends.  However, I am also excited to see how this adventure unfolds.

Please continue to follow PULSE10 if you have dreamt of changing the world.#ivolunteer #PULSE10