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VMware Foundation Giving Network

At VMware, we believe that each one of us has something to contribute.  As such, giving back is about more than writing a check; it’s about service and community. We call this Citizen Philanthropy.

We invite you to check out the VMware Foundation’s 2014 Year in Review to see the giving network that VMware people across the globe are building. This dynamic ecosystem of giving is powered by Citizen Philanthropy.VMwareFoundation2014GivingNetwork

Citizen Philanthropy is about the power of choice. The choice of how and where to contribute. The choice to give more to each other. The choice to learn and grow through service. It’s also about the power of collective impact –– about combining individual efforts to create thriving ecosystems of giving throughout the world.

“A whole network –– dozens of us –– have lived and breathed this project for so many months. While we’re helping communities grow better futures, they’re helping us grow, too,” the VMware Hi5 team in Singapore shares what they’ve gained through rebuilding Gawad Kalinga’s IT infrastructure.

The VMware Foundation exists to amplify personal passions, not dictate them. The way we see it, when people contribute to causes close to their hearts, they give from a place of gratitude. As a result, our actions connect from a place of meaning. From Service Learning to Social Investments, all of our programs are a platform for people to contribute in ways that reflect their values.

“Donating time and helping others is part of my philosophy in life,” shares Lothar Haenle, Sr. Marketing Director in Unterschleissheim, Germany.

According to James Holmes, “I give back to CSS –– Canadian Cancer Center –– because my father, mother, father-in-law, and both grandfathers have all been affected by cancer. VMware inspires me to do what I can to make a difference.”

At VMware, service isn’t a buzzword we trot out once a year. Giving more to our community is a value we live every day. We know our individual actions matter because we’re all Citizen Philanthropists –– people around the world who serve, learn and inspire. Stay tuned as we share the service stories of VMware people over the coming weeks.

This is our giving network.

 

 

Visit the VMware Foundation Site to learn more about Citizen Philanthropy at VMware.

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Creating Moments of Growth through Service

Paying it forward goes beyond creating joy for others. It creates opportunities to challenge the status quo for all. Meet Arjun, Senior Manager, IT at VMware Bangalore and unearth the opportunities to forge change by being empowered to wonder.

  

Arjun_Basu_3Name: Arjun Basu

Role: Senior Manager, IT

Office Location: Bangalore, India

Years at VMware: 6 months

 

What does paying it forward mean to you?

Some of us are fortunate to have careers like the exciting ones at VMware. It feels great to receive a thank you at work or cool collectibles (“swag”) at a company event. For me, paying it forward means passing on some of that happiness to someone else to make their day just a bit brighter. It could be a colleague, a neighbor, or even a random person that you come across in the community. VMware’s Service Learning program provides many opportunities for my colleagues and I to pay it forward to the community around us. Just imagine, a whole week to pass on random acts of kindness every single year. With thousands of employees joining in, this could be a start of a chain reaction much bigger than that in the Kevin Spacey movie. Come, join in – and be part of the revolution.Young bird watcher

What does the quote, “Wisdom begins in wonder.” from the VMware Foundation’s Service Learning campaign mean to you?

I believe that knowledge cannot be found by simply trying to commit vast amounts of factual information to memory. True knowledge comes from curiosity in the things around us, how they look and work and interact with us. As the Greek philosophers realized eons ago, it is this childlike wonder that is the true source of wisdom. This wonder and passion is what drives people at VMware to question the status quo, imagine the future of digital enterprises, and try to make it a reality, today.

How do you instill this value in your child children?

Sometimes it seems that my daughters (aged eight and two) are teaching me about the joys of learning and wonder rather than the other way around! We’ve tried to expose them to multiple experiences – whether it is staying in a wildlife sanctuary, participating in the Earth Day celebrations in our local community, or learning a new language. Sometimes it does lead to unexpected consequences like seeing a wall covered with eco slogans and sketches in their room – but overall we believe it prepares them to be better global citizens.SL_Campaign_Arjun

Please reflect on having your child featured in the campaign. What does it mean to you and your family?

One of the things that attracted me to VMware was their focus on the value of community. Here I was, fairly new to the job inspired to actively participate in the Service Learning campaign. It felt great to have our youngest daughter be one of the faces of the campaign for all global employees and the wider community. Being able to see the joy and wonder on my daughter’s face upon seeing the campaign poster was something that we will treasure for a long time. And it has served as an inspiration for our older child, who wants to be featured too!

 

 

 

 

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Being Open to Change Creates Moments to Move the World

At VMware, our people are inspired to think creatively to solve thorny technological problems that will make things better for our customers, products, and each other. Meet Duncan, Chief Technologist at VMware Utrecht and learn a little bit more about how being opened to personal change awoke his eyes to the little moments that can move the world.

 

Duncan_Epping_1Name: Duncan Epping

Role: Chief Technologist

Office Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands

Years at VMware: 6

 

What does paying it forward mean to you? 

To me it means giving back in any shape or form. Whether that is through a donation or volunteering. Personally I feel that everyone should experience the act of volunteering at some point in his or her lives, even though I realize that it is not for everyone. Than again, I always felt that it wasn’t really something for me, but I did really enjoy it when I had the opportunity to join the Good Gigs Trek to Vietnam with the VMware Foundation. In Vietnam I directly experienced what a huge impact you can have by volunteering or how much can be done with relatively small donations. For those who did not follow my articles on this subject, we went to Vietnam to support an Orphan Impact with Team4Tech, which provides computer classes in orphanages. Not only does this help the kids increase the chances of finding a job at an older age, but it also allows them to connect with the outside world via things like Facebook or Google. On top of that, there is of course the whole personal touch… the attention they get from the teachers, etc. It definitely opened up my eyes!Service_Learning_Campaign_Duncan_Epping

What does the quote, “The brain is a muscle that can move the world.” From the VMware Foundation’s Service Learning campaign mean to you? 

To me it means that if you put your mind to it than there is nothing that you cannot achieve, whether that is something in sports (like the poster shows for my daughter), at work, or within the community. A lot of people tend to underestimate the difference that they can make and the impact they can halve on other people’s lives. You just need to be open for it.

How do you instill this value in your children? 

We do a couple of things. First and foremost we try to make them aware of what is going on in the rest of the world. We want to make it obvious that not everyone is as fortunate as they are in life. Secondly, we explain to them why we give back, how we have contributed, and how it has impacted the people we are serving. Thirdly, we try to have them help as well whenever they can. That can be something small from donating a couple of dollars from their savings, or asking them to donate some of their toys to less fortunate kids. Those little things actually go a long way!

Please reflect on having your child featured in the campaign. What does it mean to you and your family? 

The whole family was very proud to see the picture used, especially my daughter. We were actually all together in the VMware office recently and saw the campaign poster featuring my daughter hanging in the pantry. It was definitely special and something that my daughter will never forget.

 

 

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Knowledge Powers Laura Douglas of VMware to Pay it Forward

What empowers you to get things done? At VMware, our people are inspired to drive what’s next for technology and one another in the community because of the belief that knowledge powers change. Connect with Laura, Americas Field Planning Manager, and see how her learnings create opportunity.

 

Laura_Douglas_1Name: Laura Douglas 

Role: Americas Field Planning Manager, Real Estate & Workplace 

Office Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Years at VMware: 4

 

What does paying it forward mean to you?

The truth is, none of us can get through life alone. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the encouragement of my family and peers. I’ve gotten help along the way and have been given opportunities that not everyone has access to. Paying it forward is the act of recognizing what has been done for you and expressing your gratitude by leaving this world with more than you take.

What does the quote, “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you” from the VMware Foundation’s Service Learning campaign mean to you?

As cliché as it sounds, knowledge really is power. The more you learn, the more power you have over anything that has been holding you back, whether that is fear, circumstances, etc.Douglas_Photo

How do you instill this value in your child?

My son is 9-months old, and it amazes me how much he has learned in such a short time! We have been reading to him since the day we brought him home (and he likes to play with books, as you can see), which in my opinion is one of the most important things you can do for a child. As he gets older, we plan to introduce him to the importance of giving back by volunteering as a family.

Please reflect on having your child featured in the campaign. What does it mean to you and your family?

We’re so proud that Parker’s picture is featured in the VMware Foundation’s Service Learning campaign. I love working for a company that not only encourages citizen philanthropy, but that gives its employees a chance to be involved on a whole new level such as having family members featured in the promotional materials for the summer Service Learning campaign. It’s so fun knowing that his poster is hanging in VMware offices all over the world.

 

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Hands on Learning Empowers Eric Betts of VMware to Give More

VMware people are tinkerers. They harness their curiosity to explore the impossible while bringing to life what’s next in technology. Hear from VMware Staff Program Manager, Eric Betts on how his passion to learn by doing allows him and his family to give more within the community.

 

Eric_Betts_HeadshotName: Eric Betts

Role: Staff Program Manager, Security Certifications & Compliance

Office Location: Palo Alto, CA

Years at VMware: 9

 

 

What does paying it forward mean to you?

DevynBetts-Soldering copyFor me paying it forward means to give back. Over the course of a lifetime people are gifted with the knowledge and skill of others. By taking a break from your normal routine to discover areas where you can make a difference, you are paying forward the gifts that you have received from others. The effort can be large or small, but the important point is to engage and help make someone’s life better. I am fortunate that VMware supports volunteerism through Service Learning. I have volunteered with my daughter’s school, non-profits, and STEM-based organizations. The work can be tiring at times, but I always feel better knowing that my contributions have helped improve lives and the world around me. I have seen others do the same and the collective effort can make a remarkable difference.

What does the quote, “In doing we learn.” mean to you?

BettsKidsAtMakerFare2013George Herbert’s quote focuses attention on the idea that we learn from experience. Not all learning is achieved in a classroom or from a textbook. Some of my greatest learning experiences resulted from real world challenges where there was no set plan. I learned from being hands on, open-minded, being persistent and exploring all options. Just because something doesn’t exist or hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean that it is impossible, it just means that the method, technique, or technology to bring the idea to life might not exist yet. I love how the “Maker” culture encourages prototyping ideas to invent everything from simple electronics to robots and 3D printers. Being adventurous and a constant learner are critical keys to success and satisfaction.

How do you instill this value in your children?

My wife and I have always encouraged our children to try, explore, and tinker.  There are no wrong answers through this process, only discovery and outcomes.  We’ve reiterated that you won’t know if you like (or dislike) something unless you try it (within reason of course), visit, taste, watch, or touch to experience things in life for yourself. Through this we have developed little “foodies” that cringe at the sight of a children’s menu in restaurants, and instead prefer a bowl of green-lipped mussels to a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. These days our playroom not only has toys, paper, scissors, crayons, rainbow looms and Avengers action heroes, but items such as hot glue guns, wires, duct tape, soldering irons, Lil’bits electronics kits, motors, LEDs, small computers (Arduino/Rasberry Pi), white boards and musical instruments as well. We encourage our children to not just use technology, but also research and understand how the technology works and consider ways to improve, hack, and adapt it for other uses. Anytime they say, “I wish there was something that does …”, we capture the thought and discuss it.Betts_Photo

Please reflect on having your child featured in the VMware Foundation’s Service Learning campaign. What does it mean to you and your family?

It’s been a wonderful experience. With our daughter seated next to her best friend, we’re proud to share the image with their classmates, family, friends and more importantly, share what they were working on when the picture was taken. The Service Learning campaign allowed my daughter to see herself “in action”, it’s a great visual to see what focused concentration looks like and how it has been used to inspire others.

As a parent and an employee, the VMware Service Learning campaign has been a pure blast. Watching the coverage expand from an internal newsletter, to an external campaign has been exciting and fun for our entire family!

 

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Yong Zhao of VMware Welcomes the Impossible to Creatively Power Change

How far will you go to defy the norm and create change? Questions like this are sparked within the VMware community daily. Connect with Yong, Senior Member of Technical Staff at VMware Beijing and learn a little bit more about what inspires him to make the impossible, possible.

 

Yong_Zhao_3Name: Yong Zhao

Role: Senior Member of Technical Staff

Office Location: Beijing, China

Years at VMware: 4.5 years

What does paying it forward mean to you?

Paying it forward means that people should do good deeds and help others in daily life as often as he or she can. It is important to spread this principle to others so that we all can work together to make the world a better place.Yong_Zhao_2

What does the quote, “Creativity is an act of defiance.” from the VMware Foundation’s Service Learning campaign mean to you?

Creativity is an act of defiance. It will challenge or break old habitual ways of thinking and behavior patterns. Creativity is also a power to change the world and make the impossible possible.

How do you instill this value in your child?

Yong_Zhao_4I learn and grow with my child and work to be a good friend and trusted advisor for her. I encourage her on her interests and strive to teach her how to be grateful and kind to all those around her because love is spread out on the basis of feeling the love first. With a grateful heart, people will naturally spread love and treat people and things around them with respect and kindness.

Please reflect on having your child featured in the campaign. What does it mean to you and your family? 

My family and I feel very proud and honored to participate in the VMware Foundation’s 2014 summer service learning campaign. It is no doubt that through this activity we have learned a lot and improved greatly. This has been a very meaningful and valuable experience for my family. We always strive to keep the essence of the VMware Foundation: Serve. Learn. Inspire. in our minds.

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VMware’s Dexter Arver Illuminates the Power of Curiosity in Service

What ignites your curiosity to pay it forward and make a difference in the lives of others? Questions like this are sparked at VMware by the wide range of passions that our people bring to life through Service Learning. Connect with Dexter, Supervisor, Web Applications and see how his thirst for learning through service makes a difference in his home and the community.

 

Name: Dexter ArverDexter_family_photo

Role: Supervisor, Web Applications

Office Location: Palo Alto, California

Years at VMware: 8.85

 

What does “paying it forward” mean to you?

It means taking a step back and realizing how lucky you are to be in the situation you are in. And since the catalyst for your success is luck (i.e. in birth, having great parents, getting your first job, etc.), sharing some of the result of that luck with those less fortunate.

What does the quote, “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” from the VMware Foundation’s Service Learning campaign for employees mean to you? 

How about another question: how can one learn without curiosity?

Being older has made me over-estimate myself to the point that sometimes, I have this attitude that I know everything. I tend to not want to go to some new event or experience because I tell myself that I know what will happen and that its not worth the time and effort. What I’ve found is this intuitive feeling is completely wrong most of the time. This is where my kid really has taught me a lot about being curious and withholding judgment. Because allowing yourself to be curious and to go into things with an open mind will only help you grow and learn as a person.The-Wick-of-Learning

How do you instill this value in your child?

My child is very young, so I don’t really have to do much. She’s always curious about everything. The best I can do is to encourage her to keep asking questions.

Please reflect on having your child featured in the Service Learning campaign advertising. What does it mean to you and your family?

I think having the image featured meant the most to my mother-in-law. She was just so happy and proud.

As for me, I just thank VMware for the opportunity to have my daughter and picture featured in this campaign. Because you know, as a biased parent, I feel that she is the cutest kid in the world and I want to share that sentiment with everyone that ever sees this poster. I mean come on, she’s so cute!!!

 

 

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Pi Day – Celebrating Service with our Community

At VMware, Pi Day is a day we geek out over giving back. Together with our extended community, we celebrated 3.14 with a Service Learning fair, where people built connections with local causes and learned more about how they can contribute back. It was an amazing day – hard to capture in words, so we’re sharing some photos that convey the energetic vibe.

YOU INSPIRE ME

Throughout the day, we invited people to share what inspires them to serve. If you need a boost of inspiration, don’t miss our fun video. It’s guaranteed to make you smile (or whistle)!

WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE ANYTHING

Pi Day speaks to the spirit of community at VMware that recognizes our interconnectedness as citizens of the world. As such, we give back by using our time, talent and skills to create a thriving community together. Our deep gratitude to the nonprofits that joined us on Pi Day and shared ideas for how we all can spark change in our communities.

BIG THINGS HAVE SMALL BEGINNINGS

We want to hear from you. What ignites your passion to serve? Post a comment below or join us on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #iServe.

 

Looking forward to hearing what inspires you!

Pi_Day_Collage_6

 

 

 

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Joseph Viegas Literally Shines Light on the Power of Service.

At VMware, our giving is rooted in a concept, called “Citizen Philanthropy,” recognizing that we all have something we can contribute to the community. Hear from Joseph Viegas on the light that sparked his passion to give more.

 

Joseph V's headName: Joseph Viegas

Title: Technical Support Manager, Infrastructure Escalation Engineer team

Office Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Years at VMware: 3

 

How would you describe what you do at VMware?

I lead a team of highly skilled and tenured technical support engineers who diagnose and resolve the most complex issues faced by our customers. As corny as it might sound, I am sometimes reminded of the line from Ghostbusters: “If there is something strange in your neighborhood…If there is something weird and it don’t look good….who you going to call….” Beyond supporting our customers on the phone and online, my team is regularly asked to drop everything and fly out to critical customer sites to ensure that fast effective problem resolutions are delivered along with best-practice plans to avoid future situations. With some of the worlds most critical systems and applications running on VMware software, we take our job very seriously.

In 2013, you participated in a Service Learning activity. Can you share how you contributed back to the community and what you learned through that experience?

In the spring of 2013, I took part in a Service Learning opportunity with Solar Energy International in Costa Rica. The project involved learning about and installing rudimentary solar systems for remote homes in the Costa Rican rain forest. The change that these systems brought about in the lives of the individuals we helped was just astounding.Joseph_Viegas_SL_2

With no local electrical source, families in these remote areas are obligated to charge their cell phones at a charging location in town while a second phone is in use around their homes. Each week a member of the family has to swap out the dead cell phone for the other phone that has been charging in town all week. Our service project allowed us to install a cell phone charger along with the electrical system. The smile on the homeowner’s face when he turned on the lights in his home for the first time was a ‘thank you’ in itself. But the look on his wife’s face when she realized that she did not have to complete the weekly trek into town for the cell phone swap was just priceless. This experience opened my eyes and showed me how people can fundamentally change the way people live their lives.

What advice would you give to people who have the intention to volunteer, but just can’t find the time?

Every little bit helps. Start small and know that opportunities exist everywhere, so what ever you contribute will make a difference. Chat with others when looking for ways to give back. Look at volunteering as food for the soul.

Now in 2014, can you share what’s next for you, your team or VMware?

I am always on the lookout for amazing stories of people doing small things that make a big difference in the lives of others. I recently watched a documentary series entitled, Why Poverty?, that is aimed at getting people to talk about the topic of poverty itself. One film struck a cord with me called Solar Mamas. The work being done by the Barefoot College in Tilonia, a village in the Ajmer district in Rajasthan, India, showed me how much could be achieved with so little.Joseph_Viegas_SL_3

The Solar Mamas project empowers illiterate women from all over the developing world to learn a skill (solar energy in this case) that allows them to go back to their homes and in-turn make a difference in their corner of the world. I was so moved by this documentary that I was inspired to visit the Barefoot College during a recent trip to India. No words can describe the work being done there. Illiterate men and women from all over the world are being taught to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors so that they can make a difference in their villages.

Because of these experiences, my next project is to find a way to get involved with the Barefoot College. Thanks to the support of VMware and the generosity of the VMware Foundation, which empowers employees with 40 paid hours each year to give back, I know that I can. That’s what so awesome about working at VMware – there’s Food (resources and people) for all parts of your professional and personal (soul) development.

 

 

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10 VMware People Embark on a Journey of Service and Return Changed by a Community Inspired to Grow

At VMware, our giving is rooted in a concept, called “Citizen Philanthropy,” recognizing that we all have something we can contribute to the community. Connect with members of the VMware ASEAN Citizen Council, as they share their service learning contribution with GK1World.

 

Group: ASEAN Citizen Council

Purpose: VMware Foundation liaison in South East Asia

Office Location: Singapore, but we enjoy connecting with our offices in the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Years at VMware: Our team has been bringing energy to the business for 3 years!

Favorite quote or motto: “We define development not in terms of money. We define development in terms of restoration of human dignity and quality of life”. – Tony Meloto – Gawad Kalinga Founder

 

How would you describe what the ASEAN Citizen Council does at VMware?

Through the ASEAN Citizen Council, we look to increase engagement and people-led giving initiatives around our region in collaboration with the VMware Foundation. The Academy of Management Journal (2008) discovered that the ‘Opportunity to give increases commitment to a company.’ We want to give that opportunity to our employees and make VMware a great place to learn and grow. Our team brings happiness to the community and to our coworkers through the empowerment of individuals who lead beautiful initiatives that change the world.

What is meaningful about your group’s work?

As a Citizen Council, we get to work on projects that are close to our hearts. We have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with organizations that change the lives of people in our communities – it’s rewarding to be part of that change. The excitement and interest around the VMware Foundation and the work of the Citizen Council from new and tenured employees makes our roles all the more special. The most rewarding aspect about our work is the direct engagement with the communities in which we work and live and being able to bring positive changes to these communities’ lives.

In 2013, you all participated in a Service Learning activity. Can you share how your group contributed back to the community and what everyone learned through that experience?

In July of 2013, 10 VMware employees from our Singapore and Philippines sites embarked on a journey to the Philippines that changed our lives forever. Planning for the trip started about a month in advance. We wanted to leverage the five days that VMware employees are granted each year to contribute something back to a local community in our region. From the beginning, our goal was to live with the community so that we could understand it better and build sustainable things together. After a couple of weeks spent on research, we engaged with GK1World, which is widely known in the Philippines for its philanthropic work. Even though the rainy season was in full swing and with no other dates to choose from, we decided to go for it!

The GK site was 40km south of Manila, had 47 families living there and plans for 160 new houses, a school and communal area. In order for each family to obtain the right to move into one of the homes, they need to spend 1,000 hours working on the overall construction and a total of 2,500 hours of contribution to own it. After reaching 1,000 hours, a family can draw a key from one of the ready built houses to find out which one will belong to them. The model of not knowing which home will be yours helps to make sure everybody is motivated to do quality work while building each of the houses.

Immediately after arrival to the site, we received a warm welcome and got to know our host families over the next five days. Our daily life started with the sunrise when most of the village was waking up. From there we went and retrieved water from the well to take bucket showers, had a quick morning chat with the families through broken English-Tagalog conversations and played with the most adorable kids. After short breakfasts we were ready to work. We aided the construction by mixing cement, plastering, and digging holes for the foundation of the houses. Occupied by hours of sweat and a couple of blisters, we were able to achieve a visible impact through the completion of several floors, walls and the foundation. This could not have been possible without the guidance of several patient local builders.

The first part of each day was concluded with a delicious lunch served in huge amounts. Chicken adobo was one of our favorite meals. During the second part of the day we spent time with the local kids and participated in a variety of activities including crafts, blowing bubbles, balloon fights, kites and playing with balls. One of the biggest attractions was a Polaroid camera that we took with us in a last minute decision. Since there are no mirrors in the village, you could tell from kids’ expressions that for some of them this was the first time to see what they look like. It was simply priceless to witness this moment. Our days were finished with supper and a sharing session during which we could reflect on the daily activities and share our thoughts and emotions experienced during the day.

Throughout our short stay, most of us did not realize how fast we got used to the basic conditions of living and appreciating simple things in life like sharing a meal. We were able to share our happiness and help improve the living conditions, bring hope and smiles to people’s faces. At the same time we realized again how important it is to give back and spend quality time with people around us by working and having fun together. The last day came sooner then most of us expected and by mid Friday we had to say an emotional goodbye or rather ‘see you soon’ since most of us felt like we were at home there and wanted to visit again.

This experience will stay in our hearts and minds for a long time. We would like to thank VMware and Gawad Kalinga for giving us the opportunity to make it happen as well as special thanks to Olga Specjalska for organizing this activity.

What advice would you give to people who have the intention to volunteer, but just can’t find the time?

If you have the intention – just make it happen. There are many different ways in which you can contribute. Our first suggestion would be to plan early. We are all busy and our calendars fill up pretty quickly, but if you plan ahead and commit some time in advance for volunteering you will most likely make it happen. Secondly, if you really can’t find time, you can choose projects that would allow you to contribute in a different form – researching, preparing communications, getting supporters for an idea or donating items. Another option is to enable organizations that are already doing a great job on the ground through donations. If you really don’t have any time to volunteer, making a monetary donation is a great way to enable other’s to spend time on hands-on activities.

Now in 2014, can you share what’s next for you, your team or VMware?

We want to bring communities together and showcase the value that virtualization can give to the world.

 

 

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