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Making a difference remotely: facemask production workshop

As a Community and Culture Ambassador, Roberto Puga connects with employees to promote volunteering. “I’m responsible for motivating close to 200 employees through activities like workshops and volunteering initiatives to practice Oracle values like innovation, mutual respect, and teamwork,” he explains. By enhancing Oracle’s culture inside the office, his efforts lead to employees engaging and transforming the communities where they work and live.

In the 7 years, he has worked at the company, Roberto has participated in close to 40 volunteering projects in Guadalajara, Mexico. In 2020, Oracle Volunteers around the world, including Roberto and his teammates, are facing the challenge of continuing their hands-on work during times of social distancing. However, good leadership and the use of remote collaboration tools have allowed the self-starting Ambassador and his team to keep making a difference.

A virtual, hands-on operation

When Oracle shifted all its volunteering activities from physical to virtual in mid-March, Roberto and his team scrambled to come up with a viable virtual project that could make an impact. “We thought about something that revolved around facemask production, so we approached the Banco de Ropa, Calzado y Enseres Domésticos (BRED).” BRED is a nonprofit that works to improve the quality of life of people in poverty in the state of Jalisco, Mexico, through the donation of clothes, shoes, furniture, and essential household items.

“BRED was perfect for this project because they had a fully functional textile workshop, plus the expertise, the people, and the distribution routes to reach those who needed help the most,” Roberto explains. “We made a donation to them to produce 2,500 facemasks, which they would distribute to Jalisco’s most vulnerable areas. Additionally, we would live-stream from BRED’s workshop to Oracle employees’ homes, where they and their families would follow BRED’s personnel in a workshop to make their own facemasks for their own protection.”

“BRED used biodegradable materials to make the facemasks, with three different designs—because people like variety,” Roberto says. “We had 98 people in attendance throughout the 50-minute session, including a Q&A segment at the end. Oracle employees and their families not only got to stock up on a life-saving item that’s now in short supply, but they also learned to make it on their own with everyday household items.”

Trust your team

As the project leader, Roberto trusted his team’s strengths and skills to lead them to success. “My teammates are great at bringing ideas to the table and, in this case, making them virtual, so I followed their lead,” he shares. “We thought of a way to make this activity attractive to Oracle employees, which I then relayed to Internal Communications so they would advertise within the company.” The day of the workshop, Oracle Volunteers did a great job of setting up the call and, most importantly, making both BRED personnel and their audience feel at ease about the activity.

The good fight

For Roberto, it’s very important that people choose their battles when trying to improve their communities. “Every member of this team focuses on a favorite topic: my passion is trees and plants, so I focus on ecological initiatives—trying to fix the world all at once can drive you crazy,” he says. “As Oracle Volunteers, we’re always open to ideas on how to improve our communities worldwide, as well as to helping people shape their ideas into projects that make a difference—don’t stop at only having good intentions; take the all-important step of turning your ideas into actual change.”

Oracle Volunteers are always looking for ways to give back to the community. Join our team of Future Creators.

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