Profiles in Eminence:

Anita Aravind helps build strategic plan for autistic foundation in China – Profiles in eminence spotlights IBMers who use their skills to positively further their influence professionally and personally. We are pleased to share Anita Aravind experience during her July 2015 Corporate Service Corps (CSC) assignment. CSC sends groups of individuals from different countries with different skills to an emerging market to perform community-driven economic development projects.

The Team

Twelve IBMers from nine different countries, referred to as CSC China 29, were deployed for four weeks (July 16 – August 15, 2015) to Dalian, China — one of the finest cities rich in culture, heritage and tradition.  The entire team assigned to our project consisted of the CSC China 29, along with IBM local partner DOT (Digital Opportunity Trust) — partners, plus seven interns who were college graduates with specialization in English translation.

The Project

Our kick off meeting was held at IBM Dalian GDC, which included government officials, our clients Ai-Na, iCare & Social Foundation of Dalian, the IBM China team headed by CSC Manager Winnie, and the DOT and IBM team. For four weeks, each sub team of four members began working with our individual clients. Our interns helped with Chinese translations when required. My client was Ai-Na, a non-profit organization that served people with autism. Ai-Na in Chinese means ’embrace with love.’

Three mothers of autistic children founded Ai-Na years ago, but it became official in Nov 2014 when they were recognized and provided support by the Chinese government. This organization takes care of about forty autistic children and adults, providing skill development to help them be more independent and social. They also provide training and support to families and parents of people with autism so they can understand and take care of an autistic person’s needs and behaviors.

Their ultimate goal is to build a Group Home with their own limited funds to ensure people with autism can lead a quality life style, independent of their parents. Ai-Na was seeking IBM’s guidance to build their objectives. The pro bono consulting service was expected to provide recommendations to achieve their three year strategic development plan, which included HR, Finance, Sales, Marketing, Branding and Communications, Audit Governance, IT, Realization of tactical goals, Global practices, Training, Volunteer management and Fund Raising.

The Impact

I used all my skills developed during my working experience at IBM to fulfill the client’s requirements. I used training and knowledge sharing, people and skill development, consult to operate model, sharing expertise, build governance, controls and compliance and many more as I proceeded through the project.

To bring collaborative efforts working as one IBM team across Business Units and sharing expertise of each other to bring a change in our client’s business problems in a short span of time. Understanding of Global issues and provide solutions keeping in mind the local culture and limitations and share our expertise.
This program is not one that ends in four weeks, but creates a lasting experience in the client’s mindset and outlook towards methods to find solutions the IBM way. I’m delighted to say that we were quite successful in doing this.

My Experience

We had good exposure to the local culture, food, tradition, and sight seeing of a few nearby places. We visited a portion of the Great Wall of China, called Hushan Great Wall. Since some of us had never been to Beijing before, we welcomed this visit to the North Korean Border of China. Corporate Services Corps is a life changing experience I will cherish all my life — both professionally and personally.

This experience was a realization of global awareness, community activities and how we as IBMers can give back to society. This project made me admire the three founders of Ai-Na who were mothers of autistic children. The confidence they possessed with their limited infrastructure and their determination to build a group home for their children and Autistic kids in society once the parents are no more made me realize to what extent one can stretch their vision and work towards them to accomplish a better future beyond horizon.

Thank you (是 / shi / shì ) for reading through and joining me on my journey of making the world a better place. I am an IBMer and I am the change.