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Putting the SAP in Shakespeare

Feature Article | February 10, 2017 by Kesja Cichowski

To be or not to be? SAP or not SAP? Shaun Brown integrates his passion for acting in his profession at SAP. By performing Shakespeare, he educates homeless people.

Scene I: Shakespeare in the Park

[Enter Shaun; Location: Schiller Park, Columbus, Ohio]

A man on stage. Curious people gather around and the first lines of Shakespeare’s Hamlet resonate in the park. SAP employee Shaun Brown is a member of the Actors’ Theatre of Columbus – a professional troupe whose goal is to gain a large social outreach and educate people in art and literature through Shakespeare and other classical theatre. Many in their audience are homeless people – educated, uneducated, male and female – who may not be able to experience Shakespeare otherwise.

“We’d like to expose them to Shakespeare and make it more interactive, making them feel part of it.” In front of 3,000 spectators, the troupe delivers a professional performance. “It’s about involving the broad public into discussions about social justice, for instance, through Shakespeare,” Shaun explains, “and about having fun of course.”

The senior manager in the HR Operations Cloud Services performs in his spare time – all for free. Since high school, Shaun has been a passionate actor and grabs every opportunity to act even in his job at SAP. Acting has made him more confident, which customers acknowledge with positive feedback. They benefit from Shaun’s engaging presentation skills. His stage presence comes in handy especially for his demos on SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central.

With a Computer Engineering degree, Shaun is something of an anomaly in acting. But he’s not surprised. “A lot of technical people really are creative,” he says, challenging the cliché, “making something out of nothing requires creativity.” Shaun is the best example of how technology and art go hand in hand. “Spending a lot of time talking is my passion and also my profession.” Thanks to the flexibility of remote work, Shaun is able to take his SAP calls and meetings backstage in the dressing room between rehearsals.

Scene II: The Next Martin Scorsese

[Location: The 48 Hour Film Project, Ohio]

Shaun’s love for performing and art go beyond the experience on stage. Once a year, at The 48 Hour Film Project, an international film competition, Shaun slips into the role of the executive producer. This year it’s his seventh time. Each year he takes up the challenge of co-producing an independent movie within 48 hours. This extraordinary experience is “a nice exercise to learn how to work under pressure,” he comments. Once he even played the main character in his movie.

Scene III: The Real Life Nursing Dummy

[Location: Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Ohio]

Different scene, different role but the same actor: Shaun is lying on a bed; nurses are standing around him in a circle. He’s not sick though. Shaun volunteers at a local nursing college and helps out soon-to-be nurses with his acting skills. A professor asked whether he’d be willing to help establish “The Red Yoder” program with her – an initiative focusing on teaching senior nursing students.

“I love to give back, so I didn’t hesitate for too long. You feel like you’re part of their education,” he says explaining his decision. Shaun’s task is to simulate real life situations so nurses are able to practice on real humans. “I’ve never had a professional education in acting,” says Shaun, but he says he wants to share his talent with the community in as many ways as possible.

[Exit Shaun]

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