Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Be the Change

Come October, I’ll be moving to Ghana for 6 months as a volunteer in the GSK PULSE Program. This story begins with an announcement from our CEO at GlaxoSmithKline, Andrew Witty, in the internal end-of-year broadcast in December 2008. Here’s how our corporate PR folks summarize the program that Witty created: “Launched in April 2009, PULSE is GSK’s new initiative that empowers employees to make a significant difference in impoverished communities, at home or abroad. Transformational change can happen when employees use, share and pass on their professional skills and knowledge during a 3 or 6 month immersion experience within a non-profit or non-governmental organisation (NGO). Volunteers address a clear NGO need whilst developing their own leadership capabilities.”

The overview of my assignment:
“The Millennium Cities Initiative is involved in a partnership with Ericsson and Zain, the global communications firms, to connect junior high schools in Kumasi, Ghana, and soon, in Accra, Ghana, to the Internet. The City of Kumasi is donating the computers, and the communications firms are setting up the Internet connections and carrying out basic training with the teachers at the participating schools. MCI, together with Teachers College, is developing and furnishing a curriculum focused on the uses of the Internet to strengthen instruction in science, math, technology, literacy and issues of global interest.”

We're still working out exactly what I'll be doing, but the idea of this assignment is a great fit for my many years of involvement in promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career paths to middle and high school students, especially underrepresented groups.

If you’d like more details on the PULSE program, there’s information at http://www.gsk.com/community/employee_involvement.htm and http://www.gsk.com/responsibility/our-people/developing-our-people.htm
and a video at http://www.gsk.com/careers/pulse.htm.

I'll keep posting in the months leading up to my assignment, as well as when I'm overseas.

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