June 10

Preparing to launch

I’ve been a field-based employee for GSK in the U.S. since 2002 and have taken pride in my ability to effectively execute a successful launch. Strategic planning & preparation always led to success– whether I was launching a newly approved drug or a vaccine’s new recommendation, expanded age indication or an updated contract offer. Upon hearing about the GSK Employee Volunteering opportunity called PULSE, I aimed to join this program and approached this goal with the same enthusiasm and dedication of a well-planned launch.

It seems like such a long time ago that I went through the 14-week PULSE Volunteer application process. So much has happed since I was selected to serve in Sierra Leone as the Fundraising & Strategic Communications Consultant for Partners In Health. This took me by surprise because I was assigned to the other side world than where I had hoped. And with my family’s encouragement and support, I accepted the offer. I spent endless hours reading books, researching online, and learned on the PIH website, https://www.pih.org/ that their mission is truly aligned with my desire to make a difference in the world in an impactful and sustainable way. I also watched YouTube videos and movies to learn more about the city of Freetown and the people of Sierra Leone, but I didn’t feel completely ready…

The live training at GSK House was an exhilarating and eye-opening experience with the 2019 class of 40 volunteers from all over the world. I was humbled by the diversity of talent and passion shared by everyone as we were among the 51% of applicants that got selected to serve. The Managers, Trainers, & former Volunteers led us through the learnings. They taught us about possessing the “PULSE Gene” and how this aligns to GSK’s value of building Trust. We learned about the 3-fold impact of this program to Change Communities, Change Employees, and Change GSK which are further outlined on the Employee Volunteering Impact Report: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/gskpulsevolunteers.com/77036 It is such a privilege to take a part in the contribution that GSK has been making to the Global community which is now on the 11th year of partnership with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO/non-profits) around the world. The volunteers’ time is a gift-in-kind to our NGO partners who submit a list of positions they need filled with talent they may not otherwise be able to afford. They request volunteers with specific skill-sets to accomplish their objectives. Although I’ve had experience coordinating fundraising projects and serving in Ways & Means Committees, l didn’t feel completely ready…

There were so many tasks to be done in preparation for my deployment which include: two myLearning modules; three hours of Travel Safety Training; several conference calls; three days of Live Training in London; a visa application; four Doctor visits; a Dentist appointment; five trips to the pharmacy; countless phone calls; and eight vaccinations. Not to mention the all the shopping trips and online orders for a 6-month supply of everything from mosquito repellent to face moisturizer. Even after all that, I didn’t feel completely ready…

I recently enjoyed a warm send-off from my local GSK colleagues at happy hour and will be meeting with various friends over lunches & dinners in the next few days. I’m also looking forward to my husband’s family reunion in Amarillo and a trip to the Philippines to visit my family before I become an expatriate in West Africa from July 5th to Dec 22nd. As each interaction strengthens my courage and energizes me to feel a bit more… ready… I’ve come to terms with the reality that I may never feel completely ready for such a big change. I will just have to take a leap of faith into being the change. And with the love of my family and support of dear friends, I will cheerfully launch into changing communities, changing myself, and changing GSK.