December 5, 2018 | Written by: Heidi Kraemer
Categorized: IBM Volunteers
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On United Nations International Volunteer Day (IVD), we celebrate the global community of individuals and groups who put themselves on the line – often in harm’s way – in service to others. IVD 2018 (#IVD2018) focuses on “local community volunteers… who contribute to making their communities more resilient against natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks… [with special] appreciation of local volunteers, including the marginalized groups and women, who make up nearly 60 per cent of volunteers worldwide, and their impact on building resilient communities.”
IBMers know a thing or two about volunteering, as our active and retired employees have contributed nearly 1.3 million hours of volunteer service over the last year – most recently supporting community resilience after hurricanes Florence and Michael, and the wildfires in Northern and Southern California. But IBM doesn’t stop there.
Citizenship and service are key components of our overall business strategy, and our methodologies and protocols for service mirror our approaches to commercial client support. Accordingly, as IBM reinvents itself for the era of AI and cloud, we continue to evolve and refine the ways we use technology to drive social impact. For volunteering, that means cross-enterprise coordination of campaigns, individual service, and opportunities for monetary giving – all enabled (and encouraged!) using our leading technologies.
But the points of contact between IBM’s capabilities and those we serve will always be our people. Below are some brief profiles of a few of the many IBMers whose commitment to volunteer service stands apart.
- While emergencies and crises may fade from the headlines, restoring resilience to a damaged community requires long-term commitment. The 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami left nearly 4.5 million homes without power, and 1.5 million homes without water. In response, IBMer Kaori Namba co-founded Team Tasuki – a group of employees that coordinated individual talents and skills in service to Great East Japan disaster survivors. Kaori’s team calls upon IBM’s technologies and their professional expertise to continue to serve, for seven years and counting.
- Inspired by the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP20) to be held in Lima, IBM Volunteers Daniel Flores, Francisco Elera and Sergio Zarate embarked on what would become a multi-year effort to elevate Peruvians’ awareness of the imminent threats of climate change. Connecting with Peru’s Minister of the Environment, the IBMers developed and ran a digital campaign to obtain positive environmental sustainability commitments from one million citizens in advance of COP20. Subsequently, Daniel, Francisco and Sergio worked to demonstrate the efficacy of IBM Cloud solutions in environmental management, and continued to influence national communications on the topic – garnering global recognition, and setting the standard for subsequent United Nations COP summits.
- Since retiring, Melody Gayeski has applied her former IBM Global Services expertise to managing disaster relief logistics, and providing project management training, for the American Red Cross in Austin, Texas (USA). Experienced with running large-scale projects, Melody typically deploys as an Assistant Director of Operations or Job Director on assignments where she both leads and mentors others. Melody credits her IBM experience with preparing her for people management, crisis decision making, creative problem solving and management of diverse teams.
Volunteerism at IBM has a distinguished past and promising future. Built on the foundation of our company’s position as the world’s responsible steward of technology, IBM’s culture of service continues to attract, inspire and retain employees dedicated to improving the lives of others.
Heidi Kraemer manages IBM Corporate Citizenship’s global volunteer efforts. Use the hashtags #IVD2018 and #ResilientCommunities to follow this year’s U.N. International Volunteer Day conversation Twitter.
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