I passed by this boat on my walk along the River Brent, going from the hotel to GSK House in London, on my first day of PULSE orientation in May….I couldn’t help but feel it was aptly named… and not a coincidence. Literally, it’s now or never for me to embark on this life changing journey that we here at GSK know as the PULSE program. A program designed to change communities, change ourselves and ultimately, change GSK. The time finally seemed right, after years of thinking about PULSE, since it’s inception 10 years ago, implemented by the visionary, Sir Andrew Witty, former CEO at GSK (and thankfully, continued by Emma Walmsley, our current CEO). The PULSE Volunteer Partnership is GSK’s skills-based volunteering initiative. It’s an opportunity where employees are matched with an NGO (non-government organization) for up to 6 months, full-time. Through PULSE, our employees devote their time and skills to create positive change in communities around the world
The process, for me, began last summer as I sought approval to apply, then in December, I started the application ….the most in-depth, personal, thought-provoking application of my life. It took me weeks to complete and I was content that even if I did not make the cut to the interview phase, I had already gained invaluable growth, just by completing the application. I did make it to the interview process and then finally to the “matching” phase of the PULSE process. When you agree to join the PULSE program, you have no idea where you will be assigned. Getting comfortable with that uncertainty offers another opportunity for personal development. Those who have the “PULSE gene” are more interested in the unique opportunity to step out of their current role (and comfort zone!) and serve others on behalf of GSK….wherever that need may be.
I was matched to the SeriousFun Children’s Network, Bator Tabor Camp, in Budapest, Hungary. I am honored, humbled and excited to work with this amazing organization that provides life-changing experiences, strength and tools for seriously ill children and their families at their free, therapeutic recreation camps. My role as a skilled volunteer will be to assist in grant writing and fund-raising and will primarily be an administrative one. I will, however, be attending a camp session in late August as a Cimbora or volunteer ….stay tuned!
I get a lot of questions about why the assignment needs to be so long….and so far away. Part of the purpose of PULSE is to make a lasting, positive impact on an organization and community… that simply cannot be accomplished in a few weeks or even months, in some cases. Opening our minds…and hearts…to gain new perspectives and skills, sometimes means leaving where you are, in order to return with fresh insights and new ideas to share…. it’s now or never.
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