What’s the difference between your company’s footprint and its hand print? I contemplated this deep thought (from Bo Miller at Dow Chemical) and many others today at the inspiring Catalyzing Growth in Emerging Markets event in Washington, DC produced by PYXERA Global.
Like Dow, Intel has a long history of improving its operational performance, and continues to innovate in this area today (see this Fast Company article about Intel’s recent commitment on conflict minerals). But we’ve also made great progress on how we empower people well beyond our direct sphere of employees, customers, suppliers and end users.
Wendy Hawkins, Executive Director of the Intel Foundation, participated on an excellent panel today with Deborah Holmes of Ernst & Young and Amini Kajunju from the Africa America Institute, moderated by Nina Easton of Fortune Magazine. Nina asked Wendy how Intel got involved in the work that we do to improve people’s livelihoods. Wendy talked about how Intel decided to start making investments to help create the kind of future we’d like to see. For example, by training 10 million teachers worldwide. For our next chapter, Wendy previewed the 43% gender gap in Africa between boys/men and girls/women when it comes to accessing the internet. Intel aims to make a serious dent in this problem as well.
Wendy also talked about Intel’s volunteerism efforts (around 40% of Intel employees volunteer, and typically we give more than one million hours of our team each year). She mentioned how our volunteers bring benefits to their community, but how this engagement benefits the employees personally, sometimes even more.
I agree with that sentiment 100%. During a break in the panels today, PYXERA showed a video featuring Jane, a teacher in Kenya who I had the pleasure of working with during an Intel Education Service Corps (IESC) assignment in 2012. Our team provided Jane and her colleagues with training on how to introduce purpose-built education laptops to students with software that teaches early reading skills. While it’s true that this experience may have benefited me perhaps even more than it helped Jane, the video showed how a year later, Jane had the opportunity to train some of the teachers who taught her when she was a girl. “That was a great moment for me,” Jane recalled.
The day was rounded out with discussions of innovation in public health, corporate diplomacy, and how the public, private and NGO sectors can partner more effectively. Did you know that an Argentinian auto mechanic invented a tool to help with obstructed labor after thinking about how a cork is pulled from a wine bottle, with funding from a USAID Grand Challenge to develop his product? If you didn’t know that, consider attending PYXERA’s excellent conference next year!