Every year during our Circle of Excellence events for the Progress sales teams, we make a contribution to a local organization to leave behind our gratitude for the wonderful communities that host us.
This year, even though one of the March COE events in Riviera Maya, Mexico, was cut short and the second one was canceled over concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, that didn’t stop us from fulfilling our goal to give back. We initially arranged to have Progress employees build and deliver 23 dining room tables to Mexican families through a program called Mexico Giveaways and although we couldn’t actively participate, we did arrange for and pay all expenses for others to build the tables on our behalf.
The large, high-quality pinewood tables came with chairs, a set of glasses, dishes and silverware for four, and family games, such as Snakes and Ladders, dominoes, chess, Parcheesi, tic-tac-toe, math games, and motivational messages. Our goal was to help bring families together, and considering the state of the world, we hope the tables will serve an even bigger purpose during a time in which families find themselves home even more than usual.
Whether it’s by giving tables, building bicycles, cleaning up playgrounds, landscaping, refurbishing desks, beds and other furniture at an orphanage, painting, building walls and fixing a school that had been vandalized, or even making Easter baskets for kids in a children’s cancer ward, from Morocco to Italy to Mexico, Progress has been giving back in this way for about 10 years.
At each annual event celebrating our achievements for the year, employees combine their pride for the company and their camaraderie with each other with a tradition of doing good.
“One of the highlights of working at Progress has been the opportunity to participate in community service projects around the world. Most memorable for me was seeing firsthand the renovations of a rural school in Morocco made possible through Progress’ funding. I will always remember meeting with the students that day, and learning what these renovations mean to them,” said Michael Guerra, account executive.
Charitable giving, volunteering and philanthropy are a big part of our corporate social responsibility program, called Progress for Tomorrow. Along with our commitment to inclusion, diversity and human rights, and our core belief in environmental sustainability, giving back is built into the identity of Progress.
And we get something out of it too, obviously.
“One of the great parts of Circle of Excellence each year is that charitable event that we participate in for a day. In addition to the good feeling of helping people who are not as fortunate as us, this event gives us a chance to connect to and really appreciate the community and culture that we are visiting,” said David Baccanari, director of sales.
Director of Corporate Events Leah DePolo, Senior Manager for Events Cynthia Maxwell and Senior Manager for Events Merrill Turner coordinate the corporate social responsibility (CSR) events at the Circle of Excellence each year. Leah said employees really get into the volunteering events and show a lot of pride, which is evident when you talk to the folks who have participated.
“I’m proud to be a part of a company that has an eye for people who are less fortunate and a company that really makes a difference behind the scenes. I am really proud and touched to see how grateful the people are when we come by during a COE, and we help them. For us, it is a small step, but for them it is a huge step,” said Eduard Smeets, senior account manager for Benelux.
Sales executive Rafael Giordano echoed that sentiment.
“I always look forward to the charitable part of the COE events. It is one of those moments that you feel proud to be part of the company. It’s really beautiful to see everyone working together to help. We can tell that what we are doing will actually make a difference to someone. It’s so important to give a little back to those places that have given us so much happiness,” Rafael said. “Cynthia and Leah always do such an amazing job in all areas of the events. These are the things that make the COE an experience that we will remember forever.”
One of the great things about celebrating our own hard work and getting away from the office as a team is the ability to have fun, relax, take stock in our personal and professional goals, and help the people who live in the beautiful areas we visit.
It’s our goal at Progress to leave every place we go a little better than it was before we got there. There’s no better team-building exercise than that.
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Dave Pierce strives to be a writer’s writer, an editor’s editor, and a marketer’s marketer. An award-winning journalist formerly of The Boston Globe, Dave combines his love of SEO, taxonomy, metadata, content management and social media with his passion for storytelling. At Progress, he manages and optimizes content. Dave lives in New Hampshire with his wife and teenage daughters. You may find him at Northeastern University hockey games on the weekends from October to March. You can find him on LinkedIn every day.
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