I've long appreciated the quantitative vs. qualitative question posed in Rent’s Seasons of Love. How do you measure a year? Looking back on 2012, I calculated that Brocadians volunteered the equivalent of 1.2 years at community organizations and schools through the Company's Volunteer Time-off (VTO) Program. How do you measure the impact of 617,280 minutes of volunteer time? Let me count the ways.
The VTO program is a key component of Brocade’s award winning corporate culture. We understand that when you work as hard as we do, it can be challenging to find the time to give back. We encourage employees to volunteer during the work day and while the VTO program offers 40 hours of paid volunteer time off per year, some employees take this 1-2 hours at a time, serving in schools, local food banks and other non-profits. Last year 814 employees volunteered 10,288 hours. Some employees volunteered in excess of the 40 hours by investing time during evenings and/or weekends - meaning Brocadians were very active in the communities where they live and work. Consider these examples of employees who served:
Program manager Debbie Bruce is a regular volunteer at the Santa Clara Senior Center. Active in the Center’s ‘dining out’ program, Debbie has served meals, visited with seniors during meal-time, and helped with clean-up for 3 years. She has enjoyed getting to know center members and watching them interact – even noticing their patterns, habits and unique personalities. Debbie says “it’s awesome to give back.”
Debbie Bruce serving meals at the Santa Clara Senior Center.
Jeremy Gigliotti is a lab services manager in Broomfield, CO. Together with more than 50 other volunteers Jeremy spent a week in Joplin, MO helping local families whose homes were destroyed by natural disasters. For two years in a row, he has assisted with meal preparation and delivery and rebuilding and repairing homes. Jeremy believes that everyone should consider “volunteering and supporting those in need. VTO really leaves no excuse.”
Jeremy Gigliotti volunteers with a group repairing homes in Joplin, MO.
Through Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village Program, engineer Brendan Keeley has made annual trips to work in villages around the world. From foundation preparation to roof-building his unique experiences have “vastly broadened [his] worldview, and strengthened an appreciation for other’s perspectives. It’s a life changing experience.” In addition to VTO, Brendan also contributes financially.
Brendan Keeley and Team volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.
Volunteering is not always about building homes or villages. Using his professional skills as an accounting controller, Tom Gemetti works tirelessly to build and improve the education ecosystem in Silicon Valley. Newly appointedto the Campbell Union School District Governing Board, Tom uses his VTO to spend time in classrooms working on improving student performance.
Tom Gemetti appointed to Campbell Union School District Governing Board.
Like Tom, Gouri Sridevi, a San Jose based information analyst, is passionate about education and is a regular volunteer at Niles Elementary where she reads books to students and helps with the Math Lab. Ms. Sridevi knows that teachers appreciate the help, but most importantly she witnesses “students gain math and early reading skills while enjoying the activities.” Volunteering gives her immense satisfaction in being a part of a “bigger family – our community.”
Gouri Sridevi volunteering at Niles Elementary.
By scaling the VTO program to new geographies, reaching more employees through social media and expanding relationships with partners, Brocade aims to increase VTO metrics by 25% in FY13 - meaning even great impact on our community. An important focus of the VTO strategy in the coming year will be to increase skills-based volunteerism where employees lend their professional expertise to organizations.
How do Brocadians measure a year? By the lives they have impacted, including their own.