I’ve been in the U.S. for about 4 months now, with each passing day bringing unique (some unexpected) experiences. From families with dogs smiling at you while passing by to people who’re happy to speak with absolute strangers on a road crossing: at the expense of sounding cliched, it feels home away from home!
Talking about home, I’ve been observing the role volunteerism (co-incidently that’s another home away from home) plays in the society here in DC. Quick analysis: It seems heavily engrained. From traditional volunteering to more skills based volunteering, there’s something for everyone if one looks for it. My random conversations on metro stations with employees from two strategy consulting firms confirm my belief about the thriving corporate pro bono consulting environment here. It was encouraging to hear their stories and how eagerly they’ve wanted to participate in those programs (but in many instances couldn’t due to the competitive nature).
Very recently, I attended the Social Enterprise Conference at Harvard and the Chevron Global Development Forum to have a similar experience meeting various corporate leaders reverberating the role of pro bono consulting in today’s business world, especially when it comes to leadership development and business innovation in the emerging markets.
Finding business solutions to social problems is close to my heart. Through my own personal experience, I believe that the private sector is a great way to build skills and experiences that generally go a long way when transferred to the social sector. Through that experience in the private sector I also know that there are 100s, if not 1000s, of professionals who want to contribute to the society but don’t want to quit their day jobs. Corporate pro bono volunteering programs are one out of the many solutions, and for now I’m excited to see how they develop further in the coming years as more and more companies adopt them as part of their business strategies.