Saying YEES! to the SAP Social Sabbatical: A Journey of Self-discovery + Accelerating Social Impact
I just finished 4 weeks of my ‘SAP Social Sabbatical.’ It’s been a whirlwind of experiences, adventures, discoveries, shared moments and a lifetime of memories.
In case you were wondering what I am rambling about, the SAP Social Sabbatical is one of SAP’s many Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs where 12 SAP employees do pro bono consulting work for a period of four weeks for four different non-profits or social enterprises. PYXERA Global, a world-renowned NGO helps SAP in identifying and shortlisting these social sector organizations.
Myself along with two other SAP consultants were fortunate to be chosen for the program to work with YEES!, an entrepreneurial education startup in Puerto Rico. It has been an experience like no other. During the first week, a colleague of mine said, “We will take back more from this experience than we will give.” Truer words have never been spoken.
I thought I was here to help an organization run better, but in turn this experience has helped me become a better person. Somewhere along the chaotic hustle and bustle of daily tasks and chores with self-defined boundaries, we can forget to challenge ourselves, take risks, and enjoy the simple moments. But here I was with a small team of passionate and crazy startup entrepreneurs who were putting their all in, risking their future because their belief in a better tomorrow is bigger than the blanket of a simple, secure and mundane life.
“You give a man a fish you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”-Maimonides
Accelerating Social Impact with YEES!
Let me pause for a moment and share more about our customer YEES!. YEES!’s vision is to help tens of thousands of kids in Puerto Rico from K2-12th develop an entrepreneurial mindset to increase the potential of students starting their own businesses. The organization does this through unique study materials, courses, and games.
Now, you might wonder what is so great about this. Allow me to explain. Puerto Rico, for the past 10 years, has received one setback after another including things like, but not limited to, the lifting of tax breaks which led to multinationals moving out leaving many unemployed or hurricane Maria which led to multiple businesses closing and approximately 250,000 Puerto Ricans moving to the mainland US.
YEES!’ chairman Carlos Jimenez strongly believes that for Puerto Rico to become a self-sustaining economy they need to become a start-up hub and not one dependent on outside help for generating employment. In their own way, YEES!’s focus on developing this positive mindset and skillset for entrepreneurship is a step towards that goal. I do hope our minor contribution to this amazing journey of YEES! helps them reach new heights.
In case you want to read a bit more about YEES! and the work that they do in Puerto Rico, do visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/yeespr/
SAP Social Sabbatical and self-discovery
The other key contributors to my self-discovery came from my 11 awesome SAP colleagues from all over the world. These individuals from different backgrounds, nationalities, with their own personal stories and aspirations helped me test a lot of limits that I wouldn’t even have thought of crossing. My friends who know me, would clearly know that I would choose lazing around on the beach over any activity that involves any form of physical activity. But, here I was motivated by crazy ideas from the team; going on hikes in a rainforest, kayaking in pitch darkness, walking through abandoned trails in a forest which supposedly has 7 varieties of snakes (information received post the hike!!), walking through caves with bats, ate octopus and the most adventurous of all had to be walking through the multiple aisles of Walgreens and CVS whiling away those beautiful evening hours. We worked together. We played together. We learned from one another.
As I head back home to my family, I carry back with me a fistful of experiences, lasting friendships, and a lifetime of memories. Thank you to the team at YEES!, my SAP social sabbatical colleagues, PYXERA and the SAP CSR team for making this an experience to remember!