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Preparing for the Social Sabbatical

After 7 weeks of pre-work to help the 2013 SAP Social Sabbatical Program participants get ready for our assignments, it’s time to depart for the “real thing”, our on-site work.  The pre-work helped us:

  • Explore Chinese culture, norms, etiquette, and attractions
  • Understand the challenges for social enterprises in China
  • Build rapport among our project team
  • Build excitement for the projects we will be taking on for the next 4 weeks

I felt prepared, excited, and inspired to help the growth of young, emerging entrepreneurs in the coming weeks.

So,  now it’s early Friday morning and I am on the second leg of my trip to Shanghai, a fairly long 13.5 hour flight from Chicago.  On a flight of this duration there is an abundance of time to review prep materials for the assignment, clean-up email to make room for even more that will be added over the next month, and yes, watch a movie or two, or three. 

Movie Selection #1 “42 – The Jackie Robinson Story

Not that I needed additional inspiration for the upcoming work with our client ele.me in Shanghai, but watching this movie about the first African American to play baseball in the Major League (USA) took “inspiring” to another level. It made me focus even more on the intended outcome to make a difference for these clients, and in a very short period of time. The primary correlation between this movie and our assignment was that we would be working with people in China who are looking to “break new ground” (new entrepreneurs, social enterprises) and overcome challenges to make a difference in their communities, for their employees, and to make the world a better place to live.  Maybe our project won’t have an effect as profound, broad, or mind-changing as Jackie Robinson did by breaking the “color barrier” in major league baseball, but we too would be making a difference by contributing improvements to social enterprises in a major emerging economy.

This is our opportunity to be SAP ambassadors and I do appreciate the opportunity that SAP has enabled with this program to help improve people’s lives.

P.S. As for the other movies, entertaining yes, but nothing like the motivational messages of “42”.

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