Our Force for Good series meets you with the people at VMware passionate about volunteering. They share the lessons learned in the process and the special moments from their volunteering journey that they cherish. Meet Severina Mangusheva, Senior Business Analyst.
Hi Severina! Tell us about the cause you were involved in.
Our team initiated collaboration with Sofia University – one of the leading universities in. The goal was to show the students a practical application of their theoretical knowledge – bridging the gap between the academic and the business approach.
We created a 2-day course leading the students through all stages of a real-life project. They had the opportunity to develop their own project within the course – to come up with the right questions, plan the resources, build the dataset, build data models and develop data visualization that conveys their message and solution. The course was part of the Master’s Degree programs in “Accounting and Big Data Modeling” and “Business Analytics and Big Data Modeling” and it featured the following topics led by my colleagues.
- Design Thinking – Elena Stoyanova & Kalin Hristov
- Project Management – Yordan Ivanov & Georgi Ivanov
- Data Architecture – Ivan Ivanov
- Data Science – Hristo Hristov
- Data Visualization – Severina Mangusheva & Kalin Hristov
During the first part of each session, we shared our knowledge while the second part was dedicated to group work on implementing the knowledge. The course had both theoretical and hands-on experience, to put the students into the shoes of professionals.
The topic was COVID-19 and vaccination process. The students had to build an analysis for Bulgaria in worldwide/ EU/ Balkans region context through answering some of the following questions:
- Which countries are at similar stage of the COVID-19 crisis? Which countries can we group together?
- What’s our new COVID-19 cases prediction for the upcoming month?
- Which countries are in worst COVID-19 crisis (per capita) so far?
- Which is the darkest COVID-19 day so far worldwide and in Bulgaria?
- What’s the correlation between vaccination rates and new cases worldwide and in Bulgaria? How about Israel?
The final result was a very insightful and well organized COVID-19 analysis and more importantly – inspired students and university professors. The course is planned to become a regular class in the program’s curriculum.
What is volunteering for you? What motivates you to do this?
I find volunteering especially in educational context to be extremely rewarding. Many of us have wondered how the academic knowledge translates into professional development. Getting this kind of feedback from professionals is a very comforting step for many students and their gratitude is priceless.
My firm belief is that the more engaging the learning process is the more engaged and inspired the students are.
I also think that the professional knowledge and experience we have gained at VMware is among the most attractive reasons one would choose career as Data Analyst.
How do you find time for volunteering?
Good planning and clear vision of tasks and priorities has always been key for me.
What did you learn about yourself while helping the causes?
Sharing my knowledge and investing myself into someone’s development goals is a very rewarding process. I try to put myself into the students’ shoes and realize how important it is to have true ally – and then do my best to be this ally. Through teaching and mentorship, I co-live a success story, a victory, while learning to give what my mentees mostly need, not what I think they need.
Being a volunteering in education makes me a more understanding, compassionate, devoted, and empathetic person.
As a VMware employee, how does our culture of service impact you?
Service Learning brings so much color to the company. It offers a broader perspective on life beyond professional obligations and empowers creativity. This attitude of the company to communities in need is truly a mirror of the attitude of the company towards the employees as well.
Tell us about the people you met on this journey.
I worked in collaboration with 7 colleagues from VMware, which once again reminded me how lucky I am to have them as colleagues – knowledgeable, hard-working, positive, and yet humble.
The students were also so passionate and devoted, which was encouraging for us. They all gave their best in the program and were able to grasp the details in so many different subjects we had prepared for them. Their gratitude and kind words at the end of the program were so touching!
What would you say to someone who has never been a volunteer, would like to become one, but doesn’t know where to start from.
Before VMware I haven’t participated in that many volunteering events, but based my experience here I would recommend two things:
Ask around! There are so many initiatives within VMware led by our colleagues that it would be hard not to choose one once you raise the question. Service Learning is also excellent team building.
Try different things! I have participated in various Service Learning initiatives and with time I noticed which ones I gravitate towards. Don’t give up if your first experience is not your best.