As I stood at the copier in Save the Children International’s London Office during my last week, I noticed this little packet on the store cupboard shelf labelled ‘NRG-5’. It was a reminder that staff at Save the Children are always ready and poised to help children in need at the time of a global humanitarian crisis. It also triggered a little train of thought …

Things are not always what they seem

lucuzade nrgThe first time I encountered the letters N.R.G. was in the early nineties. On my way to work, I kept driving past an advertising poster for Lucozade (incidentally, it was owned by SmithKline Beecham at the time). I couldn’t work it out (see, I never had a TV back then and I didn’t have the benefit of hearing the ads).  After a few days scratching my head, I asked my other half “what does N.R.G. stand for?” Realisation dawned as I said it out loud …. ‘OOOHH…. En-ar-gee! Now I get it’ (feeling a little foolish). Ever since then whenever we feel tired, drained or just lazy, in our house we say we’ve got no NeRGs and have a little chuckle at the memory.

The moral of this tale (as well as a key learning from my PULSE assignment), is to ensure we ‘speak it out’ in order to fully understand.  It is important not to make assumptions, listening brings new insight and talking helps build relationships as alternative perspectives are aired and shared.

Which brings me to acronyms

acronymsEven after several decades of service at GSK, I still don’t have my head around all of our acronyms.  Staff are continually kept on their toes as new ones regularly appear and duplicates abound.  Save the Children is no different, and like GSK at times seems to be paradoxically ‘proud’ of them!  At the same time it is recognised that they can present barriers for newcomers; slowing down the process of getting up-to-speed and feeling like we speak a different language.  Having just been on the receiving end of so many new acronyms for the first time in many, many years (over 50 in my first meeting!), I’m going to try and avoid them as much as I can!

That said, in my first days back at GSK, it is not lost on me that STC now has a double meaning; from ‘Save The Children’ back into ‘Science x Technology x Culture (the recently introduced R&D strategy strapline!).  I’m looking forward to whatever might be in store for STC next …

And back to energy

me final journey
Final journey into London – where did the six months go?

The start of 2019 has already seen me counting down the final days of my PULSE assignment; taking my last train journeys, tying up all the loose ends and handing over my workload with a heavy heart  … and then returning back to GSK last week; crawling on the A1M to Stevenage, navigating my way into a new group and identifying exciting new projects for the coming months.  The pace has been quite steady so far (I don’t expect that to last long!), and I’m taking the opportunity to slowly release the energy that has built up over the past 6-7 months – ensuring the rewards of my phenomenal experience on PULSE are sustained for as long as possible.

Our mission at GSK is focussed on health and wellbeing – and we are actively encouraged to ensure that applies just as much to ourselves as it does to the patients we seek to serve.  It may seem counter-intuitive that expending more energy and effort is key to increasing energy and resilience, but the opportunity to do something completely new and out of my comfort zone has quite definitely refilled me with NeRG!

Nourish yourself with a little NRG

From a personal perspective, there were quite definitely no emergency food rations needed whilst I was working in Central London!  I took advantage of the many delicious and cosmopolitan food offerings on my doorstep and now need to stick to my new year resolution to expend more physical energy to undo the damage of the past 6 months!

pret quoteThat little packet of NRG-5 by the copier was a small reminder of life’s unfairness and inequality, in distant countries as well as closer to home.  One of my regular pit-stops was PRET … and it was here, during one of my lunchtime soirees, that I crossed paths with a homeless gentleman who I regularly saw in there, seeking warmth and nourishment from the streets where he spends his nights.  In my final weeks, we struck up a conversation about the beautiful quotations he writes out to earn a few pounds to help him get by.  I learnt that his grandfather had worked at Glaxo’s Greenford site many moons ago; reminding me we are all connected in some way regardless of what life throws at us.  His humility and tenacity inspired me … as did the lovely work of art I carefully selected from his pile – which sums up PULSE just perfectly for me.


How incredibly re-energising it is to be able to give


#changeyourself #changeGSK #changecommunities #PULSE10 #iVolunteer #re-energised


  1. Congratulations Kathryn, beautifully written. You put that word in my mouth, ‘re-energized’ That’s how I feel after PULSE but couldn’t explain it when asked.

  2. Thank you for sharing “The moral of this tale (as well as a key learning from my PULSE assignment), is to ensure we ‘speak it out’ in order to fully understand.” Excellent insight!

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