PAB#1: How It All Started…


It all begun with a drink (because as they say, no great stories started with someone eating a salad!) back in 2015 when we started to entertain the thought of exploring other roles within the organization. Well, at some point when you’re doing the same kind of stuff repeatedly you will realize that the spark starts to fade away. And maybe, learning and doing new things might help in re-igniting the passion. And while still in that bubble of thought, it was timely that one of the centre’s HR managers sent out an email blast regarding the PULSE program. Right then and there, I have marked that option within my radar.

And just like when you’re trying to get on a diet, there will always be challenges. My manager back then was trying hard convincing me to apply for a more senior role and another team opened a role that kindled my interested deeply. So, to speak, my plan that year to apply to the program was pushed down to be the last option.

To make the long story short (as the push-and-pull for my movement may deserve another story), I have decided to move to another team. New role, new team, new activities, new learning! Oh boy, I can’t wait to start my new journey back then. However, I kept my intention of applying to the program in the coming years. I can make use of the deferred years to learn new things as it can be beneficial when the time comes that I am decided to apply to the program. And in fact, I was very open to my new manager about it during our monthly (or we call it check-in now) and PDP discussions.

With all honesty, I can say that it is one of my best career decisions. Being an accountant with strong experience in different fields of accounting – be it related to academe, external auditing, general accounting and financial reporting, being able to learn about supply chain is like a whip cream to your latte or the cherry on top to your ice cream! It may sound exaggerated but it is true!

After all, it worked for my advantage. I can offer to the program my expertise either in accounting or supply chain.

AP Cx Supply Chain Hub PULSE Volunteers
With my cool and groovy teammate, Mei Yen, who is doing a home assignment with LCD.

When words don’t come easy…

A friend and colleague who is also a PULSE alumnus – shout out to Marcky, gave me a tip that I should start drafting my application as soon as it is released. But well, saying yes to him every time he reminded me of it, or making a promise to myself that I’ll do it before going to bed, or perhaps the following day if I happen to miss it out again or worse, probably saying that I’ll do it over the weekend did not really help. Blame it to one of our annoying Filipino attitudes – mańana habit! (Don’t take this so seriously. I am just trying to make a joke by blaming a thing that can’t defend itself.)  It may sound funny but that happened to me.

It was almost towards my holiday break in December when I realized that I must submit my application before going off. I guess that was one of my challenges, I didn’t realize how far I was in completing the form! Answering questions (with sub-set of questions) with a minimum of 250 words was no joke! It wasn’t just mentally draining for me but also emotionally.

So, my tip to you who wants to apply to this program anytime soon, please give time in completing the form. I am not saying that I did not spend time for mine but what I am trying to say is, it is always better not to stress out yourself! I guess when you’re being true to what you write and have good intentions, words will just come out easily especially during crunch time. The reason why I also said that it was emotionally draining to me was because I somehow felt that I am opening a part of myself when answering the questions.

Matching with The One!

With your specific expertise and skill sets, you will be matched to an NGO that need it most. Without specifying any restriction, of course with safety and security as a priority, I did not specify any limitation in choosing for my assignment country. And undergoing the matching process twice made my PULSE journey even more interesting!

A date will be agreed for an interview with your matched NGO. It is an opportunity for both parties to assess the assignment (NGO – whether you’re indeed the one that they need and the volunteer – to understand more about the assignment and decide as well whether it is really something that interests you and whether it can help you with your development plan). My interview with the first NGO went smooth and easy. We’ve come to a point where we were already discussing about the ways of living in Haiti (I will if ever be assigned there for 6 months) and how beautiful the country is! Only to find out that French was not listed in my CV as one of the languages that I can speak of. It is one of their requirements as the assignment will be in one of the rural areas of the country where people living in that area are more comfortable speaking in their mother tongue or in French. It saddened me as I knew that it will hinder my chance of getting the assignment. 

So, it was another week or two of patiently waiting for my second matching process. You know that anxious feeling back in school when we were waiting for the release of our final exams result? That was how I exactly felt especially when your other batchmates were already getting their assignment confirmation. At the same time, this was when I really appreciate my PULSE program contact – shout out to Den! She did not fail to check on me almost every day how I was feeling and gave me the assurance that the PULSE team was looking and expediting the matching process and setting schedule for the interview.

Am one of her PULSE pups!
Can’t thank you enough, Den! Your support to my PULSE journey is more than I can ask for.

I hate to say it but Haiti is not the one for me. (Wow, it rhymes!) My PULSE journey is destined to be in the Kingdom of Lesotho with the Health Financing Team of Clinton Health Access Initiative.


I am hoping that this post will create an awareness to anybody in the GSK community. That there is this kind of program for qualified employees should they want to make an impact to the society using their capabilities and set of expertise. Though we are already the 10th GSK Pulse cohorts, it is surprising to know that not everyone in the office is aware of this program.

Six months may be too short for me to right away see the result of my contribution in my assigned NGO but at least I am starting something! I dared to be a source of change and hopefully you will too soon.

All Smile!
Be the Change!



I have decided to differentiate my posts into two types: (1) PAB – PULSE Assignment-Related Blog and (2) LAB – Lesotho Adventures-Related Blog for my easy reference.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.



    1. My pleasure, Taylor! I will definitely share my experiences with CHAI Lesotho Team through the course of my assignment. And thank you for liking both of my blogs!

  1. Super Blog Alfer – and thanks for your very kind mention (and photo!) – it was a real privilege to be able to match someone with your skill and expertise to such a deserving NGO and I know you will make a real impact with CHAI. It was great to read that your journey to being a valued PULSE volunteer all started with a drink (and not a salad!!) and that I was able to meet you in person in London in May. I love your advice to others who may be thinking of applying to the program to think ahead and start planning their application now – it’s a robust and deliberately intense selection period, so not to be taken lightly which, in the end, allows us to find totally committed and wonderful people like you who are able to make a real change in the communities they serve 🙂 Here’s wishing you every success !

    1. Thank you too, Den! It was nice meeting you in person, the rest of Pulse Global Team and other volunteers as well during the workshop. I am happy to share my experiences so as to create awareness or even inspire others to do the same.

      You guys in the Global Pulse Team are actually the instruments for making this impact to the community possible! So, massive thank you to all of you!

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