Volunteer Feature: GSK Pulse Program


As part of National Volunteer Week, we are profiling some of our volunteers each day this week. Our story today focuses on GSK Pulse Program.

In 2009, GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals (GSK), a long-time corporate product supporter of Direct Relief, launched the PULSE employee volunteering initiative. Employees are given an opportunity to use their professional skills and knowledge during a three- or six-month immersion experience. Through their contributions, PULSE Volunteers have helped create positive, sustainable change in the organization and, ultimately, helped improve health for people in underserved communities.

Direct Relief has been honored to host 16 skilled professionals at our offices in Santa Barbara and South Africa, as well as at partner organizations in Kenya and the U.S. who have served over 25,000 hours.

One of those volunteers was Katie Nordstrom, who came to Direct Relief last fall for six-months. With her business and project management background, she helped the entire organization – finance, accounting, corporate relations, fund raising and development, disaster preparedness and response, programmatic design and delivery, operations, marketing and communications.

She began by understanding the challenges our teams faced with implementation and integration of SAP with business process; the structure, function, and the gaps. Katie drove improvements within the SAP business intelligence reporting framework, integrated reporting across the board and developed training materials which she used to train every employee (who all left smiling at the end of the two hour class!).

Katie became a natural part of Direct Relief; attending (and volunteering at) events, staff meetings and sitting at the employee lunch table. Says Katie of her time, “This was an outstanding experience that provided me the opportunity to grow tremendously both personally and professionally. I was inspired by Direct Relief’s mission, the people behind it, the ways of working, the leadership vision, and the constant focus on patients and helping people.”

Thank you Katie, we were inspired by you, too!

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