Posted by Teryll Hopper, Communications Manager for Corporate Citizenship, NetSuite
My call with Sofia Brugnini, a project manager at NetSuite in Montevideo, Uruguay, to talk about her work as a SuiteImpact Ambassador, happened less than a week after a rare and powerful tornado tore through Uruguay killing four people and leaving hundreds injured and homeless.
When I ask Sofia how she’s doing, she immediately told me of her plans to take a team of NetSuite employees to the affected area to see how they could help. She also told me about the donation drive she’s running to collect non-perishable food, toiletries and clothing, which the team of volunteers will distribute during their visit. The ‘silver lining’ following the disaster, according to Brugnini, is that it has brought the community together.
SuiteImpact Ambassadors, like Brugnini, are a passionate group of NetSuite employees who spearhead volunteer activities in their local office. Last year alone, Ambassadors helped to plan 200+ activities and mobilized close to 3,000 employees in local volunteer activities and donation drives.
It’s Brugnini’s selfless spirit, coupled with strong project management skills, that has helped her grow volunteerism in the Montevideo office, where 52 percent of employees participated in hands-on volunteerism in 2015. When you talk to her, and hear her passion for giving back, it’s hard not to want to get involved.
In her second year as an ambassador, Brugnini has established strong relationships in the community. Organizations have started to reach out to the office when they have a need, and she sees these long term partnerships as enabling the office to have the greatest impact.
When I asked her about her favorite SuiteImpact activities from last year, she told me about the day her and Montevideo employees worked at an animal rescue organization, building houses for the dogs and laying a cement floor.
“I almost adopted another dog,” she told me, laughing. “I fell in love with a puppy, but realized I already have two adopted dogs. My husband said we could absolutely not adopt another dog.”
Another favorite activity, was a poker tournament she organized to benefit a local organization that provides meals to orphaned children. In order to “buy into” the tournament, employees had to donate a bag of non-perishable food. More than 50 kilos (~110 pounds) were donated during the tournament. Brugnini recalls that the woman who runs the program was so overwhelmed by the donation that she started crying.
“I started crying too,” Brugnini said.
Beyond her passion for giving back, Brugnini says that two things have really contributed to her success leading the SuiteImpact program in Montevideo – the support of the leadership team and activities that are both charitable and fun. The support of Uruguay’s country manager Diego Terra has enabled Brugnini to present about the SuiteImpact program during “All Hands” meetings, which has been a great way for employees to learn about the 16 hours of Volunteer-Time-Off (VTO) that NetSuite gives employees each year and about upcoming events. Because employees in the Montevideo office are younger (averaging 23-25 years old, according to Brugnini), planning events that are fun has been super important to growing engagement. The poker tournament was a great example of a fun and social activity that happened to have a charitable spin.
Looking ahead into 2016, Brugnini and her co-ambassador Juan Boggia are planning to hold another poker tournament and activity with an animal rescue organization. Brand new for this year, they are planning a football tournament for charity. While they haven’t quite ironed out all the details, the plan is that employees, who are crazy about football, will be able to participate in exchange for some kind of donation. Brugnini says they also plan to invite disadvantaged kids from the local community to participate alongside employees.
Brugnini says she’s grateful that NetSuite gives employees time to volunteer, and finds that volunteering gives her a nice balance to the demands of her day job. “It shows NetSuite really cares.”
We’re grateful to Brugnini’s commitment to giving back and look forward to seeing what her, Boggia and the Urugauy team do this year.
About NetSuite’s SuiteImpact Program:
The NetSuite.org SuiteImpact program engages our employees around the world in causes that matter to them. Teams are employee-led, and therefore ensure that the volunteer events are relevant to the local area. Every NetSuite employee gets up to 16 hours of Volunteer-Time-Off (VTO) hours every calendar year for hands-on volunteer activities through SuiteImpact Team events or personal volunteering. To learn more, please visit www.netsuite.org/hands-on.
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