July 04

My Volunteeting Journey

By Zina BARRADA – Communication for Child Protection Associate @ UNICEF Ivory Coast

Who am I?

My name is Zina and I am Global Trade/Tender Capability Lead at GSK. I am as well GSK Job Plus Coach and Mindfulness Trainer. So, my complete job title can include ‘Mindful Facilitator Job Plus Coach’, and I like the sound of it!

I started working in pharma because my parents have not been saved from a double cancer and a stroke. They both passed away quite young, but I consider myself privileged to have family/friends loving me, to have studied, to have an excellent job, to be healthy and wealthy.

Since my early childhood, I spent time in orphanages with my mother and grand-mother. Today associative work is fully part of my personal life.

I donate part of my earnings to various NGOs and I financially support families in precarious situation in Morocco.

I’ve also co-founded ALL Moroccan Chapter, an independent affiliate All Ladies League in India.

Regarding my hobbies, I am a travel lover (40+ countries) and I practice scuba and sky diving.

I am in a phase of my life where I want to “give back” what has supported me in challenging times and transition periods, and my current job is 100% reflecting this mindset.

To join the dots between my personal and professional engagement, my objective is to impact communities at a large scale through my work, and PULSE – GSK Volunteering Partnership Program – is the perfect initiative to help me achieve this.

In the future, my ambition is to influence programs to make sure people in precarious situation benefit from our medicines/vaccines and capabilities at a larger scale, starting with my home country (Morocco).

Why volunteering?

Since my childhood, I have been really interested in and involved with different NGOs supporting various causes:

– When I was little girl, for years, I spent every Wednesday afternoon in Princess Lalla Meriem orphanage in Casablanca with my mother and grand-mother.

I still remember a 1-year beautiful baby girl Maria, born out of wedlock, placed in this orphanage. Maria’s mum was visiting her on weekly basis and Maria fell in love with my mum. I was 6/7 years old and I still have a clear image in my mind of this little girl with a shining face, big brown eyes and contagious smile with her first teeth’s when we were arriving holding out her arms to my mother asking for hugs and love.

– When I was student in France, I worked for the French Red Cross managing a fund-raising project for Paris the 4th district delegation

– I am an active member of Ana Hunna (which means “I’m here” in Arabic) – EconoWin initiative, acting on Economic Integration of Women in MENA region – by mentoring young female students.

– In 2015, I’ve co-founded ALL Moroccan Chapter, an independent affiliate of ALL (All Ladies League – Parent association in India), mainly acting on professional training and rehabilitation of women prisoners.

Being raised and grow up in a culture and a family where contributing to the community was a duty, playing my part to improve my society is fully engraved in my DNA.

When I first joined GSK 6 years ago, I was amazed by PULSE Volunteering Initiative. Since then it has been my ambition to become a PULSE Volunteer and I’ve included it into my career plan to enable me continue learning and growing by volunteering and immersing myself fully in communities with a different background than my own The PULSE experience will probably offer me a bigger and different view of the world.

I am convinced that my PULSE mission at UNICEF ivory Coast will strengthen my professional and personal development with a volunteering position that cannot be duplicated with another experience in my career, and be an additional invaluable learning opportunity to grow, strengthen my perspectives and respect for others.

Beyond that…

By working in pharmaceuticals for 10+ years, I realize that poorest people do not have access to health care and the latest medicines all over the world.

Since I was born, my nanny Mryama who is asthmatic uses Ventolin.

GSK is leader in respiratory and have developed much more effective medicines than Ventolin (Seretide, Anoro, Nucala, Trelegy). And I know that she’ll never access those advanced treatments because she cannot afford them.

How many asthmatic patients are facing the same situation worldwide? Millions!

Once I am back to work, thanks to the exposure to a very different external environment, I expect to bring back fresh ideas to strongest innovative problem solving: how to influence programs to make GSK medicines/vaccines available to impact communities at a large scale.

Beyond helping financially those in precarious situation, my dream is to develop a program to have a global impact, touching millions of people around the world. I want Mryama, Lahcen, Lakshmi, Rodrigo, Erika to create healthier habits, access the best treatments, increase their life expectancy, helping them living better and longer thanks to GSK R&D.

And beyond that, most importantly, I want to bring back to my future team the sense of purpose of our modern organization.

Have you volunteered before & why?