International Corporate Volunteering: Experiential Learning Advances Diversity And Communications
“In spite of there having been a translator to help facilitate conversations, I have never been so keenly alert to my client’s body language and every nuance of expression, as well as my own,” explained Susan E. Wedge, partner, IBM’s Global Business Services Public Sector, about her experience as a member of a pro bono consulting team deployed by IBM to help Bucharest, Romania’s civic government to create a Smarter City.
"When you are working with people who speak a different language and live in a different culture than you do, your sensitivity to communication is heightened in new ways," she added. "That is a learning experience that you bring back to your own more familiar work environment. It changes you.”
Wedge's IBM team included five executives from three countries who spent three weeks in Bucharest after preparing for more than two months. Wedge participated on a panel that I moderated at CDC Development Solutions' International Corporate Volunteerism (ICV) Conference 2012 in Washington, D.C., last week. Wedge’s three fellow panelists wholeheartedly agreed with her insights.
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