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A Social Sabbatical in Argentina – Getting Ready…

“You cannot be human in isolation; you are human only in relationships.” – Desmond Tutu

This is not a typical week. And that’s a good thing. On the cusp of leaving my wife, kids, peers and team for a full 30 days there’s quite a bit racing through my brain, and beyond the pure excitement of the experience to come, it feels strange and uncomfortable at times – and that’s precisely the point.

In the rare instances when we are thrust out of our daily routine into a new experience, with people we will both work with and meet for the very first time, in places we have yet to visit, all sharing a common goal of positively impacting society…well that’s when real learning gets seared into your life experience. And I can’t wait.

This Friday, eleven colleagues and I depart from all parts of the globe to unite in Buenos Aires Argentina to begin a 4-week consulting engagement organized as part of SAP’s 2015/16 Social Sabbatical program.

One of 10 SAP teams off to all sorts of fascinating locations, our team has been divided into groups of three each and begin our work on April 5th for four distant organizations in Buenos Aires that share a common thread of positively impacting the region through education, inspiration and opportunity: Junior Achievement Argentina, (k-12 workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy org), Enseña Por Argentina (improving education opportunities for children and youth), Socialab (an incubator of high-impact social enterprises) and my team’s assignment – Puerta 18, an educational youth center geared to 13-24 olds to inspire their educational growth with the use of technology.

Launched in 2012, SAP’s Social Sabbatical program is a unique corporate volunteer program where SAP employees leave the daily routine of their job to work in international, cross-functional teams to solve business challenges for entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises in emerging markets. Participants get the unique opportunity to turn SAP’s vision of “helping the world run better and improving people’s lives” into a personal reality and for me, that is just awesome. Check out more on SAP program here.

Our team has the pleasure to work with the leaders of Puerta 18, an innovative nonprofit that offers a variety of free technology courses, encouraging vocational learning, providing networking opportunities, and fostering artistic expression for highly diverse youth from different socio-cultural backgrounds. Our goal in the four weeks is to help design a sustainable business model and roadmap for Puerta 18 to franchise their successful model of delivering technological education to young people across Buenos Aires.

Much more to come on our project and the overall experience as it unfolds, and then afterwards as I reflect. 

PS: And what a time to visit Argentina: President Obama just visited last week, welcomed by Mauricio Macri, their new pro-business president elected just this past December ending years of left-wing governments and wasting no time reforming the economy and opening Argentina back up to world markets. I look forward to being there during this time of great change, and hope.

Hasta pronto,


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      Author's profile photo Mindy Davis
      Mindy Davis

      So exciting, Rob!  Can't wait to hear all the details and share our experiences as I head to Chengdu, China the very same day you are to leave for Argentina.

      Here's to a wild ride!!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Mindy, likewise!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Good luck Rob and Mindy!!

      Author's profile photo Florian Wagner
      Florian Wagner

      Exciting times ahead indeed - have a great time and we look forward to having you back richer in experiences!

      Author's profile photo Koert Breebaart
      Koert Breebaart

      See you there Rob!

      Author's profile photo Clara Villanueva
      Clara Villanueva

      Wow, Rob! It sounds like you're about to embark on an incredible journey both personally and professionally. Good luck to you and Mindy, and I look forward to reading about all of your adventures!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      very cool!  can't wait to hear all about it!

      Author's profile photo Sarah-Jane Hamlyn
      Sarah-Jane Hamlyn

      Good luck! I look forward to hearing all about it!

      Author's profile photo Susan St. Ores
      Susan St. Ores

      What a wonderful experience! Congratulations on being selected. Looking forward to your blogs, as well as your and Mindy's safe return! Enjoy!!!!

      Author's profile photo Alexandra van der Ploeg
      Alexandra van der Ploeg

      hope you arrived safe & sound. Am looking forward to reading more:).

      Best, Alex