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On April 3, the Business Women Network (BWN) in Shanghai had a fun while thought-provoking lunch session. Organized by Sara Jones, co-general manager of presales China, the lunch session was a meal to the stomach and the mind as well.

Two senior women leaders, Diane Fanelli and Angelique de Vries, were invited to share their stories and offer suggestions and insights on some of the common challenges that women colleagues face.

 

Diane Fanelli: COO of Platform Solutions Group (PSG),

Angelique de Vries: Head of Global Presales and Customer Experience

 

Copy of Copy of IMG_1033 - Copy.jpg

Being introduced to the group by Michelle Bai, I was lucky to get the final-minute invitation to the meeting. It was an hour well spent! Just as healthy was the lunch, fruit and chicken salad, the stories of Diane and Angelique provided some wholesome insights into our personal and career development.

 

Why Not’s

 

In Angelique’s words, “at SAP, there are always opportunities”. She started reminiscing about an important step she took in her career: moving to a sales role at SAP Netherlands. “Why not?” is what Angelique was thinking when she was making that decision. Angelique believed that it’s always up to us to make the best out of what we do.

 

Several years later, Angelique found herself asking herself  “why not” again. This time, she was asked to be the Managing Director of SAP Netherlands. As anyone else who has a decision to make, Angelique could say no. But, instead, she said to herself, “Why not? Let me have a try!”

Similar with Angelique’s case, Diane also changed a couple of roles which marked the steady growth of personal and career development. Learning from these two great leaders, every woman professional should never turn away from opportunities, changes, or challenges. Open the eyes and the mind. So if you feel like there is something you might like doing, don’t be stalled by the uncertainties and fear. Go and have a try!

 

Develop Ourselves

 

Diane Fanelli attributed her success to one of her traits as a constant and fast learner. She suggested that we should never stop learning; otherwise we will find ourselves restricted in the next step we would like to take. She advised us to pick an area we are interested in, either a solution or a particular market; try to think and learn more.

 

One other thing we could think about is to find a mentor who we can talk to and who will provide coaching for us. Diane Fanelli also mentioned the important role a sponsor can play in our career development. Different from a mentor, a sponsor is someone who talks about us, to advertise about us:  how excellent we are, what we can do, and what role we can take.

 

For me, this is very interesting. Keep learning, do our best, get sponsoring, these three things are indispensable from success and complementary to each other. Only when we have equipped with the knowledge and skills that are needed, can we do our job well, and only if we do our job really well, can we get sponsoring and recognition.

 

Play the Game

 

Now imagine we are ready to take a next step and we have found a role that that we are interested in and are able to develop into. As a female, we tend to have strong self-awareness. Facing new opportunities, we might fall into the trap of thinking like this: I could do this new job, but I have to do this and that of my current job and so on. Diane pointed out that sometimes we are not as adamant and confident as our male counterparts. In this sense, the self-awareness can be a detriment for us.

 

"It is a men’s world, and we have to play the game.” It might sound like a joke, but it is true. Be more confident, fight for what we want.

I am part of the 11-person multi-national SAP Social Sabbatical team working for four weeks with social entrepreneurs and non-for-profits in Porto Alegre, Brazil. We call ourselves Team Transformers and our Twitter hash tag is #teamBrazilCSR. We are divided into 4 teams of 2-3 people and each team has a different client.

 

Along with two other SAP colleagues, Justin Molloy (USA) and Laura Hankalin (Finland), I am helping the Convention and Visitor Bureau in its mission to develop the tourism sector of Porto Alegre and the surrounding metropolitan area through prospection, creation and support of events. Our project objective is to create a marketing plan to drive sustainable growth of events and tourism – through improved branding, promoting attractions, communication, and a single digital experience to help visitors discover Porto Alegre.

 

Porto Alegre is the capital of Rio Grande de Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil. It is one of the most culturally rich states:

  • it has a strong Gaúcho tradition – an equivalent of the North American "cowboys". Gauchos are very proud of their identity.
  • its culture was greatly influenced by settlers from Germany and Italy who moved here in the 19th century.
  • it is the largest wine producer in Brazil.

 

The main symbols of the Gaúcho culture are chimarrão, churrasco, and the traditional dance.

  • Chimarrão is a type of mate, a traditional South American tea made from the Yerba mate plant.

  • Churrasco is a meat barbecue made on sword-like skewers grilled over burning charcoal. Due to affordable high quality meat, locals do it very regularly and almost every house is built with a churrasco grill like the one shown below.

chimas.jpg  churrasco.jpg

 

Porto Alegre is a 2014 FIFA World Cup host city with a population of 1.5 million people.

P1160831.JPG

 

The city has its unique character:

  • one of the safest and cleanest cities in the countries
  • over 50 museums, many of which are free
  • a diverse nightlife
  • two great soccer teams - Grêmio and Internacional. The rivalry is very heated and many fans get tattoos of team symbols.
  • the greenest city in the country with more that 1.5 million trees on its streets (excluding parks!) This is about one tree per resident.

P1160716.JPG  P1160738.JPG

It also has the most beautiful street of the world:

Most Beautiful Street - POA - 2.jpg

 

We will be working here for another two weeks and will be giving the final presentation on April 25 at SAP Labs in the nearby city of São Leopoldo.

IMG_4107.JPG

I have just completed the first week of my SAP Social Sabbatical assignment in Nairobi, Kenya. I am living this great experience with other 11 SAP employees from the most diverse backgrounds, areas and locations. We are divided in 4 groups and each group is working in different companies that are making the difference for the economy progress and life quality in the country.

 

Pyxera Global and SAP have made an amazing job in preparing us for this journey. During the 8 weeks prior to our departure we´ve had weekly meetings to get to know each other, our destination and the companies where we would be working in. Upon our arrival we had a full day of team building activities and, in addition, some informal chats and dinners.

 

My team´s scope of work consists in building a CRM strategy for a company named Open Capital. Our customer is a consulting firm that supports high impact businesses in East Africa to raise capital and grow their companies. We are using Design Thinking Methodology to understand the needs of our customer and I have been learning a lot along the process.

 

On last Saturday, April 12th, we visited an orphanage in Nairobi. For me it was the best experience so far. They support 137 children, from which 45 actually live in the orphanage. The team who runs the place showed us the facilities and talked about how things work there, the difficulties and plans for the future. Although living in very hard conditions the children showed all the time an inspiring hope in their eyes and happiness in their smiles. This experience made me feel thankful for all the opportunities I have and also to desire to make more to assure that children like them also have good opportunities in their lives.

 

During these days I have also noticed some general interesting facts in the city, one of them is about how chaotic the traffic can be. No one respects the traffic lights or other traffic signs and people drive on the roadside on an attempt to escape from the traffic jam.

 

I am very excited to start the second of my four weeks here, hope to have a lot of good news and learnings to share on my next blog!

 

Cheers, Andreia.

National Volunteer Week begins today!

 

My love affair with volunteering started while in high school, when a friend of mine told me she wanted to go to McDonald's for lunch because she only got to go for Thanksgiving and Christmas (Yes, that’s right, THANKSGIVING and CHRISTMAS!). It could also have been when I had to break up a fight between two girls because one had insulted the other over her lack of the latest backpack at the start of the school year. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment it hit me, but I knew there was something more I should be doing than watching as the world’s unjustness played out in front of my teenage eyes.

 

Friends and family were never particularly excited about the idea; they couldn’t understand why I would wake up at 7am on a Sunday or travel to obscure countries for weeks at a time with Habitat for Humanity. Some of my friends still just don’t get it! The way I look at it, just as other people have their hobbies, volunteering is mine. I always have a great time volunteering and for me the reward I feel afterwards far outweighs a night of little sleep.

 

Please don’t get me wrong. I am no saint, and far from holy, but I’ve come to the realization that we can all complain about how messed up certain situations are. However, it’s a shame to waste time and skills on complaining instead of helping to figure out a solution. I choose to be part of the solution even if the only way I can help is by spending two hours of my Sunday at a homeless shelter. The goal is simple: help someone. If there's even a chance that I can inspire one person to pay it forward, to realize that he or she can do something to help out, that’s what I'd call a success.

 

Today, April 6th, marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week. For those of you wondering what this is, the first National Volunteer Week was created in 1974 by President Nixon as a way to inspire, recognize and encourage people to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to others that by working together, we have the dedication necessary to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals. This year will mark the 40th anniversary of National Volunteer Week.

 

The beauty of volunteerism is that there are many different ways to do it. Furthermore, technological advances in the past decade have made it possible to volunteer even from the comfort of your own home.  One can virtually tutor or mentor a student/young adult without ever having to leave their living room.

Some people prefer the more traditional type of volunteering when all they have to give is one day and they use it either cleaning up a local park or serving food at a local soup kitchen. Regardless of the type of volunteering you choose to do, all these acts deserve to be commended.

 

SAP encourages their employees to engage in meaningful volunteer activities ranging from traditional to skills based. Our efforts are not limited to Month of Service, but rather we feature ongoing opportunities year round to suit everyone’s interests and preferences.

 

Opportunities to volunteer next week include:

 

·         April 8th:NFTE Boston Business Plan Coaching

·         April 9th:Junior Achievement Job Shadow Day in South SF

·         April 11th:KIPP Job Shadow Day -Dublin Campus

·         April 12th:SAP at Mountain View Bike Exchange

·         April 12th:New York Cares Spring Volunteer Day

·         April 12th-April 13th: Tech Museum Tech Challenge at San Jose

 

So as we look to the coming week, let's recognize those who give themselves to help others. Let's motivate others to join the effort. And let's stay focused on how volunteerism can continue to evolve to bring maximum value to our communities. To view all upcoming opportunities please click here. (Please note access to this link is only available to SAP Americas employees) How will you give back this week?

Love SAP’s game changer story for professional soccer, as shown recently to Angela Merkel and David Cameron at CeBit’14:

SAP HANA shows itself from the best side at SAP's CeBIT stand. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron team up with SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe and Brand Ambassador Oliver Bierhoff’.

Funny thing is, even if HANA would be enable retakes for English penalty kicks, it would not solve a systemic problem of the England squad


MerkelCo_SAPTV.jpg

 

I’d like to add a viewpoint in the context of Soccer and Sustainability from the ‘not so IT-savvy’ part of the world.

 

My last visit to South Africa was in 2010 during the FIFA World Cup with my friend Michael. In between soccer games we visited the famous Kruger National Park outskirts, where Michaels cousin worked as a game ranger.

Soccer was on everybody’s mind during that period, so the camp staff invited us to an early morning round of soccer. Getting up early to get ready, we approached the sand pitch behind the camp, and ……bailed ! I don’t know about you, but for us this was a ‘no go’. The picture below shows why:



Kimberely Soccer Field.jpg

 

But one thing I recognized was that from several soccer balls in the nearby shed, only one had still air in it. Either the lions had an appetite for soccer balls, or the thorn bushes around the pitch were the culprits.

Because of this experience I was intrigued by the ‘One World Futbol’ project, where Tim Jahningen teamed up with rock star ‘Sting’. A soccer ball designed immune to lion bites, thorn bushes and barb wire for people who live in harsh environments around the world, including refugee camps, UN hot spots, conflict zones, inner-cities, and poor communities worldwide. Read here how to participate in theBuy One Give One’ initiative. My kids love it, and its literally indestructible.

Untitled.png

 

But its gets better. As an early investor in the project, I am proud to be the owner of one of the first SOCCKET balls. Check out the little ‘commercial’ my daughter Leila produced to learn more about the SOCCKET ball:

(Note: Apologize upfront that you have to watch my rusty soccer skills, but we could not get the funding for Lionel Messi in time )

 

Our Soccket Movie on Vimeo

 

Kick a ball, power a light, empower a people—welcome to the wonderful world of SOCCKET --> http://www.unchartedplay.com/

Here are some additional movies about the SOCCKET experience:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeQ-OrkUTII

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5nfKvW9itA (President Obama playing the SOCCKET…..his skills are ‘more rusty’ then mine )

It most definitely is not in the usual places where you think it is.....  take a look at the excellent article below.

 

http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/01/energy-efficiency-largest-source-energy/

 

For those of you that haven't gone to the link - let me save you some time..... It wasn’t coal, oil, nuclear, hydro, solar or even renewable energy.

 

If we all put in a bit of effort, the largest source of energy could well be energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency contributed 63 exajoules (EJ) of avoided energy use in 2010 - that’s larger than the supply of oil (43 EJ), electricity or natural gas (22 EJ each), said a first- ever “Energy Efficiency Market report.” This was not an overnight achievement, but the benefit of investments made by 11 countries in consciously being more energy efficient since 1973.

So, solving the world problems of depleting energy sources and more environmentally hazardous way of extracting oil seems quite simple today: energy saved is like energy produced.

Now that's real progressive thinking.  Pushing this and educating the consumers is the easiest and cheapest form

of obtaining "new energy". 

 

It doesn't take a lot to make a HUGE difference.

 

(with thanks to Sean T. Dugan - FMP,PEM)

Interested in taking your partnership with SAP to new heights?  We’re excited to present a partnership opportunity with SAP that not only benefits your employees and your brand, butalso allows you to directly impact the country’s most important audience – ourkids.

  

SAP’sCorporate Social Responsibility team is looking for members of our ecosystem topartner with us in our 25th KaBOOM playground build in Philadelphia
in October.  K
aBOOM is a national non-profit dedicated to building playspaces for underserved communities, and through its playground-in-a-day
builds develops one of the largest and most-rewarding volunteer opportunities in the US. Check out SAP’s Philadelphia build
video in 2012, where customers, partners, employees, members of Congress, along with the local media, joined to make it one of our most memorable events.

 

 

SAP has been partnering with KaBOOM for more than 7 years, building playgrounds with 200+ volunteers acrossmultiple cities and impacting hundreds of thousands of underprivileged children and families during our October’s Month of Service in just this one event. Itis by far our most popular, high-impact, high-energy service project, in which we pair up with a co-sponsor to develop.  In 2013, we teamed up with Adobe and HP for builds in the Bay Area and Chicago respectively.  You can find HP’s video of that event here.

  

As a partner of the build, your organization can not only invite employees, families, business partners andcustomers to participate in this unique etworking event, but also take advantage of the press and branding opportunities, social media exposure and access to government officials in attendance to fully leverage the sponsorship.

 

Interested partners should send an email to Jackie Montesinos, head of Corporate Social Responsibility for SA PNorth America, at Jackie.montesinos.suarez@sap.com to learn more.  The build is fully managed by the resources at KaBOOM and the end results last for decades, since the average life expectancy of the playgrounds is 15-20 yeas.  For more stats and information on KaBOOM, check out their site.

By Shreya Datta


During Women’s History Month, the Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) of Greater Philadelphia hosted a luncheon at the Independence Blue Cross Building in downtown Philadelphia. Interested Newtown Square BWN members were given a free admission to this event through our strong relationship with the WLF. They had the opportunity to meet and network with fellow female professionals from a plethora of industries in the area.

 

A little background on this organization - 10 years ago, the WLF began with a panel discussion organized by some very passionate women from companies in the Greater Philadelphia region. Since then, this forum celebrated the Women’s History Month each year with a wide range of programs. Every event has been about providing women with professional insights for successful careers, be it from being political savvy, to being resilient, to managing your brand. All of these events also place a strong emphasis on networking, because we know that's a big key to our success. SAP Newtown Square is one of the champions and proud sponsor of this incredible organization. Our very own Dorothee Andermann is the current president of this organization.

 

The mission of the Women’s Leadership Forum of Greater Philadelphia is to advance the development, growth and sustainability of women’s networks and initiatives in companies throughout the Greater Philadelphia region by sharing their professional insight, supporting other networks, and influencing the companies on diverse issues.

 

Charter

  • Leverage best practices across major companies in the Greater Philadelphia region
  • Create local networking opportunities across industries to exchange information, ideas and resources
  • Strengthen and extend the professional networks of women in the Greater Philadelphia region by building mutually beneficial relationships among members
  • Promote the advancement of women through relevant programming, such as the Women’s History Month annual event
  • Drive and expand women’s leadership skills, career development opportunities, and business acumen

 

The 2014 luncheon was incredibly inspiring and an excellent networking opportunity. Every attendee was seated at a table with women from different companies-  big Philadelphia companies like Campbell Soup, Peco, PNC bank were in attendance. The theme was "Failure". This theme was carefully selected because of the role failure plays in our eventual success. We had a panel discussion about the importance of failure and how women perceive it for themselves. In today’s competitive industry, everyone is focused on successes and very cautious of failing, but each failure teaches us a lot. The panel discussion focused on how it’s important for women to not be scared of failure, but embrace opportunities fearlessly and if failure does happen, take it as a lesson learned without being hard on themselves. Some of the interesting things discussed were the inherently different ways in which men perceive failure vs. women. Men are less risk averse and less hard on themselves in comparison. The idea was to be conscious as women of our natural biases towards failure and not be afraid to try new things.


It was a great opportunity to network and take advantage of the programs offered by WLF – such as the cross company mentorship program.

 

Imagine the possibilities if women professionals can have a strong network, not just within their company but also in the area? To me this sounds like a strong career strategy. It was very nice to see our SAP NSQ location as a sponsor and advocate of this organization.


Our kudos goes to those on the WLF board from SAP who helped make this and all WLF events a success: Dorothee Andermann, Liz Brenner, April Moore, Seema Thomas.

During Women’s History Month, the Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) of Greater Philadelphia hosted a luncheon at the Independence Blue Cross Building in downtown Philadelphia. Interested Newtown Square BWN members were given a free admission to this event through our strong relationship with the WLF. They had the opportunity to meet and network with fellow female professionals from a plethora of industries in the area.

 

A little background on this organization - 10 years ago, the WLF began with a panel discussion organized by some very passionate women from companies in the Greater Philadelphia region. Since then, this forum celebrated the Women’s History Month each year with a wide range of programs. Every event has been about providing women with professional insights for successful careers, be it from being political savvy, to being resilient, to managing your brand. All of these events also place a strong emphasis on networking, because we know that's a big key to our success. SAP Newtown Square is one of the champions and proud sponsor of this incredible organization. Our very own Dorothee Andermann is the current president of this organization.

 

The mission of the Women’s Leadership Forum of Greater Philadelphia is to advance the development, growth and sustainability of women’s networks and initiatives in companies throughout the Greater Philadelphia region by sharing their professional insight, supporting other networks, and influencing the companies on diverse issues.

 

Charter

  • Leverage best practices across major companies in the Greater Philadelphia region
  • Create local networking opportunities across industries to exchange information, ideas and resources
  • Strengthen and extend the professional networks of women in the Greater Philadelphia region by building mutually beneficial relationships among members
  • Promote the advancement of women through relevant programming, such as the Women’s History Month annual event
  • Drive and expand women’s leadership skills, career development opportunities, and business acumen

 

The 2014 luncheon was incredibly inspiring. The theme was very interesting. It was “Failure”: We had a panel discussion about the importance of failure and how women perceive it for themselves. In today’s competitive industry, everyone is focused on successes and very cautious of failing, but each failure teaches us a lot . The panel discussion focused on how it’s important for women to not be scared of failure, but embrace opportunities fearlessly and if failure does happen, take it as a lesson learned without being hard on themselves. Some of the interesting things discussed were the inherently different ways in which men perceive failure vs. women. Men are less risk averse and less hard on themselves in comparison. The idea was to be conscious as women of our natural biases towards failure and not be afraid to try new things. Every attendee was seated at a table with women from different companies-  big Philadelphia companies like Campbell Soup, Peco, PNC bank were in attendance.

It was a great opportunity to network and take advantage of the programs offered by WLF – such as the cross company mentorship program.

 

Imagine the possibilities if women professionals can have a strong network, not just within their company but also in the area. Definitely a great career strategy.It was very nice to see SAP NSQ as a sponsor and advocate of this organization . Dorothee Andermann and Liz Brenner – fellow SAP BWN members are on the leadership committee of this forum and contribute in their personal time a great deal to ensure its success. Kudos to both.

 

Cheers!

Did you know April is Mathematics Awareness Month?

 

I bet that sentence alone has evoked some type of visceral reaction that brings you back to your calculus class in high school. As I am writing this, there are students sitting in their various math classes impatiently tapping their fingers on the desk, daydreaming and more than likely complaining out loud "I'm not going to use this stuff ever again!!!" Having a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics, I can attest that chances are you’ll never (ever!) have to graph a linear equation, or solve a radical equation in the workplace but the skills and logic you learn while trying to solve these problems will most certainly last you a lifetime.

 

The power of math lies in its ability to show us that we can reach a desirable outcome if we follow a certain analytical process and complete each step in its particular order without making a mistake. If we make an error at any step of the process, we can easily start over, changing our strategy and method at the exact instance where we messed up. Unfortunately, life doesn't allow us to redo anything most of the time, but when it comes to the stuff we do over and over on a consistent basis, we are allowed to change things in between attempts.

 

Think about this very morning as you were getting ready for work. For most of us there is a process in place consisting of waking up, showering, getting ready, having breakfast, and then finally getting to work. These steps put together consist of our morning routine. If just one step is missed or delayed, the entire day can be thrown out of whack. Snoozing through the alarm can result in less time to get ready, a missed breakfast, and perhaps even worse, a missed meeting! 

 

Math is also significant because even without realizing, we use it in many of our daily activities are. For example, following a recipe involves fractions and ratios of how much of each ingredient to put in a dish, calculating monthly bills involves budgeting, even making a schedule to fit in your TV shows, lunch dates and dentist appointments requires math.

 

So this month, as you go about your daily routine, I urge you to think about those critical problem solving skills that enable you to analyze life’s situations logically, and determine the proper solution based on the circumstances before you. Advancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education for underserved youth has been a long term focus of SAP’s Corporate Social Responsibility Program. We are committed to empowering children and young adults in their pursuit of these fields. It doesn't take a PhD in mathematics to inspire, just a passion for helping someone grow.  This April, we encourage you to make a commitment and donate your time and skills to any one of the organizations we support. To view upcoming volunteer opportunities please click here.

The SAP Netherlands Business Women´s Network kicked off in 2013, with the objective of inspiring women to be more self-aware, speaking up for themselves, encourage them to use their distinctive qualities to their advantage, and feel reinforced by the network.

 

Our first activities revolved around including women in the network and growing the community so that everyone could experience that it is worthwhile to invest time in themselves.

 

One of the payoffs from the start was networking. Getting to know your colleagues better, or getting to know colleagues you never work(ed) with, and exchanging perspectives and tips on career, mentoring, work-life balance etc. was confirmed to be very valuable.

IMG_8049KL.jpgBWN-8107.jpg

 

In the second and third gathering, we invited female business executives who shared lessons learned in their working and private lives. However different these women´s backgrounds and careers were, their words of wisdom led to recognition, new insights, and often a good laugh.

 

The last meeting, on March 10, in honor of international Women´s Day, attracted over 40 participants. Guest speaker Alexandra Schaapveld, a senior business executive at several banks and supervisory board member at a few international companies, spoke on the different perception of the same behavior that men and women display at work (leader vs. bossy, committed vs. selfish etc.), that is also powerfully illustrated in the much-acclaimed Pantene commercial. With stories and anecdotes from her own life, Alexandra explained where she found herself and other women behave and decide differently from men, and turned this into explaining how women have specific strengths they can apply, and how that makes a difference. She stressed that we are all masters of our own destiny. Making choices is not always easy, but makes your live easier. During lunchtime, there was a lively discussion about how we as individuals can improve our work-life balance, and how SAP as a company, or our managers can contribute. Many women were so engaged in their discussions, that it was hard to pull them in for the afternoon “styling and image” workshop. We learned about the impact of clothes and colors on the (first) impression that we make, and also how our choice of garment and colors can reinforce our message. An impressive 55% of the impact we are making is based on our body language (how we look and behave). The variety of topics on this day extended the reach of the network. The participants said that not only they liked extending their network, but also enjoyed the meaningful discussions with coworkers.

 

We gave much exposure to our activities in the local organization. As a result, the local management team provided us with the Employee Survey results by gender, which helped the Dutch BWN ánd the local MT to define actions to better cater for the needs of the female workforce. And this makes SAP an even better place to work.

 

BWN-8085.jpgBWN-8127.jpg

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1 - My Dad Always Said “Feelings are over-rated”
dad.png
When I started in the technology industry via IBM almost 15 years ago 2 things stood out to me:
  • I was surrounded by men, an attractive concept in theory
  • While I liked being challenged and working with bright and interesting people I didn’t actually ‘feel’ anything
But, being an obedient daughter, having gained my MBA, and in “big business” for a short time, I stuck with it. I was successful, praised for my work, and continued to move up.
2 – Passion Pit
I found that, like many people I could easily get some pretty powerful motivation from recognition as well as monetary rewards and salary. Fast forward a few years, I continued my path at SAP, more interesting people and still surrounded by men (which I had gotten pretty used to and frankly prided myself on my ability to “hang”). I was falling into what Erika Anderson calls the PASSION PIT. Of course I want to move from director to vice president – that’s what all dedicated professionals are passionate about.” I was more focused on what I thought the organization wanted from me than what I wanted myself.
3 - ser·en·dip·i·ty (n. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident)
caleb_forgrass.jpg After baby #3, I knew I needed a change, expand my network and my purview. Serendipity stepped in and I had the opportunity to work closely with colleagues from CSR finding real passion while now building on the great foundation from 12 years in B2B marketing. Picking up that thread I’ve spent the last 2 years exploring other parts of the business - everything from leadership , to employee comms and engagement, to CSR. What’s amazing is that I believe it’s made me a better business person, influencer, etc. Even more interesting is that this ‘exploration’ is nowhere in the rules for success.
4 – Going (RED) and Trusting Your Gut 
At the start of 2014 I had the opportunity to bring it all together – marketing, leadership, influence, CSR- while doing some onsite work for one of our NGO 196.JPGpartners (RED), an organization founded by Bobby Shriver and Bono of U2 (no I never met him) focused on eradicating the mother to child transmission of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa  by 2015. For two months I was part of their team – doing marketing, bringing to bear what is core to my role at SAP – audience analysis, strategy, project management – while learning a ton from this 14 person organization. I got my hands dirty in partner relations, got real experience from a bunch of millennial’s about social media and what it takes to drive a message, movement or business.
    
What happens next? I’m off to Africa with (RED) this Sunday to see how our funding helps the world run better and improves people lives. The rule for success is … there are no rules – the key for me is to find something that moves you, makes you feel something and go for it!

This year SAP is fully integrating its cloud group by bringing Ariba and SuccessFactors on board. This is an exciting transition and an opportunity for three companies to build something really big. As well, this is an invigorating time for the Virtual BWN. SuccessFactors and Ariba have up to 50% of employees who work from home or on-the-road rather than in offices. The Virtual BWN is a place for all of the virtual employees to engage, network, and grow as professionals.


As our contribution to the BWN’s Blog series in honor of International Women's Day, I sat down to speak with a virtual employee who comes to SAP via Ariba and has seen great success in her career. Erin Fravel is a Senior Director and Regional Network Executive, and she’s also the new Communications Director for the Global BWN.


I talked a bit with Erin about her experience as a virtual employee and how she thinks it affects women and diversity in the workplace.


Amanda: Hi Erin, so how long have you been a virtual employee?Erin_web size headshot.jpg


Erin: I began working at Ariba 2 years ago, and that was the first time that I was fully working from home when not traveling.  It did take some time to get accustomed to, given I’d gone into an office for 20 years.  But now I love it!


Amanda: One of the issues that employees worry about is their career stagnating if they leave the traditional office environment. There’s a feeling of "out of sight, out of mind" when it comes to promotions and new positions. Have you been promoted as a virtual employee? 


Erin: Yes, actually, I was recently promoted to Network Executive at Ariba. I am also soon moving 1000 miles away and my new manager, Eric Washer, was completely supportive. He had no issue with me moving or continuing to work from home.


Amanda: It sounds like you’ve found a place where your performance speaks for itself! I know it can also be difficult to network and make connections when you’re remote.  How do you build relationships and connect with those outside of your direct team as a virtual employee? 


Erin: I do try to go into the two Chicago offices from time to time. Ariba has about 50% of its employees working from home so we make an effort to be together for QBRs and team meetings as often as possible. Many of us are on Skype and we reach out to each other daily.


Amanda:  Skype and Jabber are really important to my team as well. It's kind of the virtual equivalent of peeking over into the next cubicle. One of the other things that is really important to the goal of all of the BWN Networks is helping to promote women, diversity and engagement at SAP. Do you think that offering flexible working arrangements benefits diversity and women employees at SAP? Do you have any examples? 


Erin: Absolutely. I needed to find a company that allowed me to work from home as my children were getting older. People think that the important years are when the kids are babies. It’s actually the opposite. Anyone can put the baby down for a nap or change a diaper. It’s when they get older that you need to set the example for what a woman can do both as a mother and a worker. Most importantly, as my oldest daughter entered middle school and soon high school, she needs to feel that I am present in the house. My home is not going to be the house that all the high school kids come to because no one is home. I want my daughters to know I am here and expect they will respect our home, do their homework, and behave properly. I may be busy working, but I am present. They don’t realize it, but they know I am there.


Amanda: This has been amazing. Thanks for talking. One last question: Do you have any advice for individuals seeking flexible arrangements?  


Erin: Find a company that gives you the freedom to do your job well. Working women know how to handle time management, be efficient, and get results regardless of where they are. When companies give their employees locational bandwidth, the productivity skyrockets, and everyone wins.


If you’re a virtual employee looking to connect, come join us at the BWN Virtual Chapter on Jam!

To celebrate the International Women’s Day at SAP Labs Latin America in São Leopoldo, Brazil, all female employees were invited to some special activities.

 

Those who wanted to feel a little refreshed during the day could schedule a 10-minute massage for some relaxation. Besides that, there were two make-up sessions where we learned some tips on how to do quick everyday make-up.

 

At the end of the day, a lecture was given by Julia Lima, founder of the Brazilian public relations company “RP de Atitude”, about personal branding. Julia’s lecture is called "Red is the new Black", and she took us on a journey to look at the new reality of the market and of today’s careers. Besides sharing some insights from her own 10 years of professional experience, Julia highlighted the following points:

  • The market today is not the same as it used to be 10-15 years ago: Julia compared being a top professional today to surfing a tsunami wave – don’t be afraid, step up to the challenge, and react fast. This is how you stand out, because big challenges equal big opportunities.
  • Think about who you are and find your talent: Set some time aside to reflect on what you really like to do and where you want to be in a number of years. Think positively and plan ahead.
  • Attitude and communication are essential: To ensure you make a good first impression on influential people, plan what you want to say to them, practice if possible, make eye contact, and say it. At work, make sure you say what you need to say: practice giving feedback to people and speaking your mind in a candid and professional way.
  • Use social media consciously: To make professional connections, LinkedIn is the best network. If you do use other networks such as Facebook, for example, keep in mind that your professional contacts may also be viewing the content you post in those networks and act accordingly.

 

    Picture 1: Make-up class                                                                        

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Picture 2: Julia Lima's lecture "Red is the new Black"    

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SAP achieved 2 big milestones this week in its ongoing Sustainability strategy.

 

Integrated Reporting:


This year, for the second time, we are publishing an integrated report. An integrated report is the linkage of content from an organizations Annual Report and Sustainability Report into one cohesive document. Studies show that today traditional Annual Reports only capture 20% of an organizations assets.(see blog post ).


Through this holistic approach connections between financial and non-financial performance 100% of an organizations assets can be highlighted. It also helps us consider what it means to create an integrated strategy, which requires looking at all of our impacts – economic, social, and environmental.

SAP is convinced that future success hinges on how well organizations holistically navigate the social, environmental, and economic contexts in which they operate.

For more info, please visit SAPs Integrated Report 2013.

 

At the same time SAP and IIRC (International Integrated Reporting Council) partnered up in a new Customer Engagement Initiative(CEI). Goal is to work with thought-leaders in the industry use the momentum and continue the evolution towards Integrated Reporting.

Having published the <IR> Framework in December 2013, the IIRC is now in a new phase of its operation, seeking to understand how leading enterprises like yours have used Integrated Reporting in their own organizations and use that information to help others adopt and evolve Integrated Reporting.  We are teaming up with the thought-leaders in the industry to discuss their ultimate vision regarding corporate reporting, the benefits accruing currently through the use of Integrated Reporting, and the obstacles you need to overcome to drive integrated thinking and reporting across the enterprise.

 

Fore more info, please visit SAP CEI for Integrated Reporting.

 

OpenSAP 'Sustainability and Business innovation' class:

 

A Massive Open Online Course (“MOOC”) on “Sustainability and Business Innovation” will start on April 29. It’s brought to you by SAP’s sustainability team and covers everything you need to know about how business is going to evolve in the years to come.

 

Check out the great introduction, featuring Ian Kimbell, and register today. It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s a must for everyone that’s working in relationship to sustainability at SAP.

 

Register now: https://open.sap.com/courses

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