Five years ago, Susan, who manages localization of Adobe marketing materials in the San Jose, California office, heard about an organization called Dining For Women (DFW). Each month, local chapters hold potluck dinners and donate the money they would have spent on dinner. The head organization then gathers up the donations from hundreds of chapters and uses them to help fund grassroots programs in education, healthcare, vocational training, microcredit loans, and economic development around the world.
“When I learned about the focus on women and girls living in extreme poverty in the developing world, I was completely drawn to it,” says Susan, who is now a chapter leader of her local DFW. “I thought there was no better way than to get involved and make a contribution that eventually makes a big difference.”
Through Dining For Women, Susan heard about a trip to Uganda to learn more about a program called BeadforLife, which helps women in Uganda lift themselves out of poverty by finding markets for the paper-bead jewelry they make by hand.
“I had never considered international travel, especially to an impoverished country, until that day,” she says. “I thought, ‘I can’t not go.’ It ignited a fire in me.” Susan is now a volunteer community partner for BeadforLife, selling jewelry pieces and sharing the stories of the Ugandan women who make them.
Since that time, Susan has hardly stopped traveling — and certainly hasn’t stopped volunteering. Next came a trip to Nepal to see the work of the global organization Heifer International. Then came a trip to India, during which she worked in an Adobe office through the company’s Global Immersion program before heading to remote villages in northwest India to serve local women’s organizations.
“When I think about everything I’m doing, I think, ‘What I am I going to give up?’ But I can’t even think of giving any of it up. It just means too much to me,” Susan says. “I feel so blessed, and I’m thinking, ‘Now where am I going to go?’”
Enjoyed reading Susan’s story? Check out how other inspiring employees at Adobe dedicated their personal time to a passion and volunteerism in our Adobe Life Magazine.