In honor of International Volunteer Day this week we are featuring a “Sustainability Spotlight” series, highlighting employees across Symantec who incorporate aspects of corporate responsibility (CR) and sustainability into their day jobs. This series will focus on volunteering and highlight some of the extraordinary efforts employees are making in their communities that last year helped Symantec increase volunteer hours by 41 percent. Yesterday we took a look back at our first Sustainability Spotlight employee, Claire Scull. Today we feature Peter Hancock, Sr. Director, Technical Sales Organization, who was just honored for his volunteer work with non-profit NPower, receiving the organization’s Volunteer of the Year Award.
”It takes a village to raise a child” – African Proverb
Everyone has the potential to contribute and make a difference in the lives of our young adults, our veterans, and non-profits across the globe. But sometimes finding the time, or the passion, to take that first step can be hard.
Today, I’m happy to share my story of volunteering through one of Symantec’s non-profit partners NPower. I was honored to be awarded NPower’s Volunteer of the Year Award at their recent gala. Through this partnership with Symantec I’ve found a cause whose mission has become part of my lifestyle and everyday work to the point where I do not even consider my work to be volunteering.
What is NPower?
NPower’s goal is to harness technology for social good. In addition to connecting highly skilled tech professionals to the projects where they can make the greatest impact, NPower delivers its own educational programs. From veterans in Dallas to underserved young adults in Harlem and Brooklyn, the organization builds brighter futures with free IT training, professional skills, mentoring, internships and job placement. To do this, NPower relies on skilled tech volunteers to provide inspiration, advice and direction.
My journey with NPower began on a crisp spring morning in May of 2010 at an event where NPower CEO Stephanie Cuskley introduced the organization’s strategic go-forward vision to a group of interested corporate parties. As I was already volunteering my tech skills at Easter Seals, the idea of being part of a larger “tech for good” mission clicked with me and I got engaged.
My first visit to NPower was as a guest lecturer for NPower’s Technology Service Corps program. TSC is a 22-week intensive training program that builds brighter futures for underserved young adults and veterans helping them pursue STEM related careers by providing free professional training and job placement services.
It surprised me that as I waited in the lobby of the classroom, I actually had butterflies in my stomach. But that feeling didn’t last beyond meeting more than 25 young, energetic men and women with a desire to learn about technology and pursue careers in IT. Technology Service Corps was their path to a brighter future for themselves, their families and their communities.
Fast forward to today where I’ve had the pleasure of visiting nearly every NPower classroom in New York, serve as co-Chairman of the Tech Service Corps advisory board and play a key role in advising NPower’s future expansion. Along the way it has been great to see so many Symantec employees join me, hosting site visits so students can gain ‘real-world’ experience, serving as guest lecturers and more.
It has also been inspiring to see Symantec increase its corporate support – as a volunteer I was passionate about NPower and raised awareness at Symantec forming a volunteer group to support TSC. Today, through this partnership Symantec is now one of the largest donors of equipment and software and becoming a National Corporate Underwriter of NPower.
As I look back today on the time I’ve spent mentoring NPower students, I am reminded that every part of it was rewarding. In those few hours every day, my ‘normal’ business day is put into perspective. I am able to use my skills and expertise to help build a future for youth, and also build a stronger future workforce for our industry.
To NPower I thank you very much for the opportunity to make a difference in your students’ futures.
To everyone, one person can make an impact, but you must start somewhere. I did, and I hope after reading this you will feel empowered to do the same.
Peter Hancock is Senior Director of Symantec's Technical Sales Organization.