Every waterfall begins with a single drop of water. That’s the idea behind VMware’s Citizen Philanthropy approach to giving—VMware’s impact in the community is the result of the collective actions of VMware people. At the core of this approach is our Service Learning program, which provides forty paid hours annually to employees around the world to contribute their time and talents to the community. We intentionally call this program “Service Learning” because we believe that when you serve with a mindset to learn, there is a powerful, two-way exchange of value.
This month, we spoke with Nandita Ray, Digital Platform Specialist in Bangalore, to see how she has been serving her community recently.
Nandita: We Are Your Voice is an initiative that connects employers and people with disabilities looking to begin their careers. Each year, We Are Your Voice hosts a job fair exclusively for people with disabilities seeking new opportunities. This event relies heavily on volunteers to partner with the candidates to assist in navigating the event as they visit each of the employers’ tables.
I was very nervous at the start of the day because I wanted to take good care of each candidate with whom I was paired. There are many “state languages” in India, each of which is spoken differently and uses their own writing style. I’m fluent in Hindi and English; however, the job fair featured many different state languages, which added more pressure. Luckily, I was able to learn on the spot from the more experienced volunteers and served at my best.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire Service Learning activity, and I was quite tired after ten hours of guiding candidates around the career fair. It was worth it, in order to ensure that all 1,500 attendees were able to visit every employers’ table. In the process of learning more about my partner job candidates, I also learned a lot about myself. The initial pressure I felt to interact with new people was eased as I started to initiate conversations and successfully communicate despite the language barrier.
I believe the community is always giving us more than what we give back. Through my service with We Are Your Voices, I have also improved my communication, networking, and leadership skills.
Apart from my contributions in my day-to-day role at VMware, Service Learning is an opportunity for me to do something different for society. I feel fortunate to be supported and inspired by VMware to do more for others – serving the causes that I am interested in and connecting with nonprofits in my community.