We Are Citizen Philanthropists: Learning Through Pro Bono Service

Every waterfall begins with a single drop of water. That’s the idea behind VMware’s Citizen Philanthropy approach to giving—that VMware’s waterfall of impact is the result of the collective actions of VMware people.

Core to our ethos is the belief that we can all learn and grow through service, and that is why all VMware people are able to contribute their time and talent to nonprofits with 40 hours of paid Service Learning each year.  “Pro Bono Service Learning” creates mutual value where nonprofits receive the support they need and people have the opportunity to apply their professional skills in new and meaningful ways. Research shows that pro bono Service Learning is an avenue to practice inclusive leadership by diversifying and broadening our perspectives, which in turn helps us innovate in our day jobs.

This month we checked in with VMware’s Chief Technology Officer, Greg Lavender to hear how he cultivates lifelong learning and innovation through pro bono service, here’s what he had to say…

Greg Lavender: “For the past 16 years, I have been contributing my professional expertise by serving as a pro bono technology adviser to the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, which leads several archaeological excavations in Greece.

Through my Service Learning, I have been inspired by John Camp and Bruce Hartzler’s contributions to the field. As Camp says, ‘Nothing has changed since antiquity except the technology.’ There are so many fields that are information-rich and technology-poor; archaeology being one of those fields of study.

As a technologist, it can be very gratifying to use one’s technical knowledge and experience in other fields of human endeavor, which can greatly benefit from using more advanced technology.

Perpetual innovation is the lifeblood of a technology company. When I think about fostering a culture of innovation on a large scale at VMware, we focus on how to create the space for VMware people to try new things. My Service Learning with the American School of Classical Studies is that avenue to bring together diverse perspectives and deep expertise to ultimately co-create a valuable solution for positive social impact.”

You can learn more about VMware’s culture of Innovation in Greg’s recent blog post, and see more stories about VMware Citizen Philanthropists’ culture of service here.


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