Sometimes the things you consider to be a small contribution can amount to big impact. In 2021, I had the honor of being asked to coach a young entrepreneur as part of the Acceleration Collective, a virtual pro bono consulting experience from SAP, powered by MovingWorlds.
In the corporate world, you hear a lot about supporting the future of business. This program flips that concept on its head, and instead focuses on the opportunity for SAP employees to connect with and support the “business of future,” a phrase referring to next-generation leaders and organizations that operate as social enterprises.
Acceleration Collective matches the skills and expertise of SAP employees everywhere with social entrepreneurs anywhere. The young social innovators — or Possibilists as they are also called — need support to solve critical business challenges. SAP employees offer that support to them in two ways: as certified coaches and as pro bono consultants also known as “experteers,” each volunteer position playing a critical role in support of the enterprises.
In my case, I worked as a coach with We Are Family Foundation Global Teen Leader Angela Busheska, the founder of En Route. Angela has personally experienced the impact of climate change, recently losing her aunt as a result of extreme air pollution. “I wasn’t committed until I saw the negative impact of pollution firsthand. I knew I had to do something.” The death of Angela’s aunt is not an isolated event in her home country of North Macedonia, and she wants that to change.
Her answer to a better future is En Route, a tech startup that educates children about their carbon footprints through an interactive, gamified app that makes being environmentally responsible fun. Their aim is simple: build a community that will save the planet.
“COVID has turned the world into a global village. I use technology to not only connect to organizations that can help me [We Are Family Foundation, SAP], but also to connect to others. I want to transform the people who don’t care,” Angela offered.
Angela knew she wanted to grow her organization, reach more children, and make a bigger impact. But where to start? Through a couple of coaching exercises that help the client identify and rank priorities, Angela quickly realized that funding for growth was the essential next step. Backing out of the funding goal she identified all the necessary steps to find donors. She did the work and it paid off. I was delighted to learn that Angela had this to say about our coaching experience together: “I was working with Allison on what’s next for me and En Route. Her support ultimately helped me create the strategic connections I needed for my business.”
Through coaching, Angela tapped into all the answers that were already within her. In early January she shared the following: “I am so happy to inform you that our sessions were a success and we ended up being funded by National Geographic!” I am over the moon excited for this young entrepreneur, and frankly for all of the young leaders who are inspiring global change. Angela told me that she got started because she was tired of everyone blaming others for what was wrong. She wanted to do something. Her engagement with me and this program is another example that she does not just talk about making the change, she gets to work.
I started coaching in 2017, and it has become one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Helping clients discover the answers within themselves and seeing them grow, accomplish goals, and thrive is truly an amazing experience. When clients successfully realize their potential through coaching, there is nothing.
This experience in particular was an opportunity to push the envelope of what is possible through coaching. I’m proud to know that my efforts helped someone who is truly making a difference in the world. En Route teaches children the importance of their carbon footprint, and helps them form sustainable habits at an early age. The potential impact of such an effort is exciting.
Sustainability topics have long been of interest to me, and this opportunity allowed me to combine my love of coaching with a meaningful cause — a win-win for me. My small contribution to the Acceleration Collective has resulted in a positive impact on Angela, her organization, and hopefully the world.
You can learn more about the Acceleration Collective and other SAP Corporate Social Responsibility programs by visiting sap.com/csr.
Allison Gapter is vice president of Global Strategic Ecosystem Marketing at SAP.