Guest writer Tom Schad, Director, Global Communications
From our CON sponsor: Merck Animal Health
At our company’s recent national meeting in Florida, a team exercise took place that remains indelibly etched in the minds of the many colleagues who participated; a simple but emotional exercise that speaks as much to who we are as a company as it does to who we all are as human beings and our willingness to help others in need.
Let me explain. Our guest presenter for the meeting was David Meade. David is a gifted keynote speaker who brings his personal challenges and triumphs and his gift for touching the hearts of his listeners to life – all culminating into a storyline that would make Hollywood drool. His personal story is one that I will save for those who someday may be so fortunate to hear David speak in person.
Back to the meeting. After some storytelling by David and setting up of an exercise that we would now be undertaking, we gathered in teams of 3-5 with each team being given a water filter kit to assemble. Sounds easy enough, right? Think again. Each member of the team, except for a designated team leader, was blindfolded. The leader – through voice and command only – lead the team members to assemble the water filters until completed and boxed up, ready to be shipped to families in Uganda. Lessons learned? The value of teamwork, trust, and the gift of sight.
Now here’s the catch. We built water filters – approximately 80 or so of them – for families in Uganda; a 3rd world country whose unhealthy water conditions are causing rampant illness, blindness and even death among adults and children.
The power of the exercise was made clear when David Meade came back to the stage and informed us of how many lives will be impacted by our efforts; how many families and children will be saved from disease, blindness and even death. Children who now will have the chance to grow up to be leaders in their communities, or teachers, or dentists or even work for a company like Merck Animal Health. The answer is hundreds of thousands of lives will be impacted.
Through a simple act and an hour or so of our time, our efforts will save the lives of people we may never know, in a country we may never visit. Taking a moment of our time we will never get back; nor would we want to. But through this unconditional act, the people of Merck Animal Health and the people of Uganda are now connected. Their story is our story, and our story is theirs. The world just got a bit smaller; two countries now connected by a highway of compassion and care.
Walking out of the room, I became more aware than ever that the world is one of diversity and inclusion. Of paying forward with no expectations or exemptions. Arms extending to grab onto the hands of the outreached, forming a human hug that wraps around the world. Unconditional care is possible and can change lives. We all just need to take the time to make the outreach…and be prepared for what happens next.
One act leads to another. The stories are all one. It is what makes Merck, as a company, unconditional.
Thank you Merck for sponsoring our events!