What a whirlwind for the Symantec Service Corps (SSC). The 10-person team started their journey in October with the initial application process. After being accepted into the program in November, they participated in weekly training sessions and invested countless hours of preparation, and now they are officially on the ground in Arequipa, Peru, hard at work.
To kick things off, the team participated in an orientation session on Saturday, February 15, followed by dinner with Pyxera Global, the non-profit partner helping to facilitate SSC Peru 2014. As a group that arrived from seven different locations—Australia, Mountain View, India, the UK, Canada, Ireland and Springfield—they enjoyed participating in numerous team-building activities learning about each other’s personalities, perspectives and work styles, including human bingo, identifying learning styles, and a scavenger hunt. Allyson Gomez, HR Project Specialist and SSC member, also facilitated a session on the Leadership Success Profile specifically focused on “How to Build Strong Teams.”
“It was great meeting everyone in person, sharing stories and exchanging ideas. We have a very strong, intelligent team. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us,” said Allyson.
Packing—what made the cut?
Of course, before even arriving in Peru, the team had to pack their suitcases for this month-long journey. What surprises did they bring?
- “My hiking boots. Joseph Ferrar and I will attempt to hike up El Misti, one of the extinct volcanos nearby at 19,000 feet, if the weather cooperates and we can find the right tour guides.” – Craig Chan, Senior Principle Pricing and License Specialist
- “A Spanish/English dictionary I have had since high school that has survived many trips abroad.” – Allyson Gomez, HR Project Specialist, Leadership and Employee Development
- “A pack of Oreos—some comfort food!” – Ashley Savageau, Community Relations Program Manager
SSC in action: A look at the three clients and projects
While the team is certainly missing their families, friends, and co-workers, the opportunity to make an impact in Peru is abundantly clear. Over the next three weeks, the group is working in teams of three-to-four people supporting the following three organizations:
- Paz Peru—Claire Dean (USA), Alicia Pereira Pimintel (Belgium), Ashley Savageau (USA), and Joseph Ferrar (UK) are helping Paz Peru conduct a market study of its competitors and clients. The team will then work to develop a marketing plan for one of their programs, including recommendations on how the plan can be executed. Paz Peru, an affiliate of the Swiss Cooperation Peace Foundation, is a non-profit that supports women and girls who suffer from domestic violence and abuse.
- Descosur—Craig Chan (USA), Chris Brown (Australia), and Kamal LaBreche (Canada) are supporting Decosur by assessing the security of the accounting systems currently in place, recommending an adequate system of information protection, and analyzing existing reporting to uncover ways to improve their financial systems and reporting. Decosur is a NGO dedicated to promoting social and economic development for marginalized and rural populations in Peru. The organization aims to increase family income and strengthen local institutions by targeting the supply chains of the local agricultural industry.
- Center of Research, Education and Development (CIED)—Allyson Gomez (USA), Marq Bauman (USA), and Prakash Pappachan (India), are analyzing the current institutional structure and resource allocation for CIED, including creating an organizational chart, change management plan, and succession planning for regional offices across Peru. For the past 40 years, CIED has worked to strengthen public and social institutions to support rural economic development. Specifically, the Arequipa office has had success implementing projects that focus on empowering youth and women in surrounding rural areas, helping them to achieve social inclusion and economic independence.
“I’m excited about working in a different culture and language. Seeing how I will adapt my skills—that I don’t even question in my regular job—to fit the needs of this new environment,” said Marq Bauman, Senior Principal IT Business Analyst, Business Solutions Enablement Services.
Follow their journey
In addition to rolling up their sleeves and partnering with these three clients, the team is immersing themselves in the Peruvian culture, from sampling the food and shopping at the local market, to speaking the local language (or at least attempting to).
Week one is almost over but there is much more in store. Join the Symantec Service Corps team on their journey by following along on their blog at http://symantecservicecorps.com/ and Twitter feed, as well as watching this space for regular updates.
Lora Phillips is Symantec's Senior Manager, Global Corporate Responsibility.