Building Cross-Cultural Communities
Since 2003 State Street Corporation and Common Impact have been partnering to provide skills-based volunteering opportunities to State Street employees. Since this partnership began, State Street, headquartered in Boston, grew into new and emerging markets like China, presenting the need for new and innovative professional development opportunities for cross border teams.
Since 2003, Common Impact has placed over 150 State Street employees on skills-based volunteering engagements, delivering over $900,000 in value to the nonprofit sector. Seeing the potential for skills-based projects to provide hands-on professional development experiences, State Street collaborated with Common Impact to define team projects that would build skills and promote cohesion between China and Greater Boston offices. Common Impact engaged 22 State Street employees across Greater Boston and China and matched them with two projects that would improve skills in technology implementation, client management, cross-border collaboration and communication.
The Family Center (TFC) is a nonprofit organization that helps families grow strong and empowers them to form vibrant communities by providing therapeutic and support services to families in the Greater Boston area, as well as training and consultation to schools and social service agencies in New England and New York.
TFC sought to develop a new website structure and message that provided a clear connection between The Family Center (direct services to families) and its Parenting Journey Training Institute of New York (training center for human service agencies). State Street’s project team included 10 participants: seven Web developers based in China and three copywriters based in Greater Boston. The team worked across borders to develop a new site design, structure and content that could be easily updated by TFC’s staff, reducing the reliance on outside IT vendors and the cost of keeping their website up to date. The new site went live in January 2010.
State Street team members reported three specific benefits from their project experience:
- For team members who typically work behind the scenes on technology, this project provided their first opportunity to interact directly with a client, which improved client management skills and their ability to translate business needs into technology solutions
- Some members of the China teams had not participated in cross-border team projects and credited the project with improving their project management skills
- All teams reported that lending their skills to the nonprofit sector has given them a sense of personal fulfillment
“Working on the Common Impact project for The Family Center has exposed me to the challenge of operating and influencing in a new environment. This opportunity has sharpened my management and leadership skills to lead onsite (internal and external) and offshore teams. I especially feel a personal fulfillment of satisfaction, accomplishment and giving back to the community by contributing my skills and knowledge to a nonprofit organization.”