I was fortunate to participate in a trip to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam for 3M Impact. Before my trip, I thought of 3M Impact as a 3M outreach program – a way for 3M to affect positive change in a way that isn't just financial. Through my time in Vietnam, what I came to appreciate is that 3M's REAL investment was in employees like me.
That's because my time working in Vietnam was the most impactful personal and professional development experience I've ever had. I can only hope that I made as big an impact on Vietnam as it made on me.
My 3M team represented six countries and included a wide spectrum of ages, functions and experiences. Our client organization, Happy Tap, is a startup for-profit company with a strong social mission designed to bring two things to rural Vietnam, where the country's poorest people live: hand-washing habits and infrastructure.
Hand-washing is a focus for them because in these areas, the most common causes of death for children over one month old are diarrhea and pneumonia, two preventable diseases primarily linked to poor personal sanitation habits.
Although my 3M teammates and I had little in common according to any obvious means, we quickly developed a high functioning and focused team, drawn together by our desire to produce something of value for our hard-working client. It was amazing to come together with my team and the team of very dedicated people at Happy Tap.
Over the course of two weeks, we created an investment package and strategy, a launch plan, a launch control plan, and a sales training module. We will continue to stay in touch with our friends at Happy Tap in hopes of further supporting their business and their passionate commitment to improving the health of Vietnam's youngest citizens.
There is a Vietnamese proverb: "Eat slowly, it is good for the stomach; plow deeply, it is good for the fields." I sure hope my time in Vietnam did some good for the fields; my experiences in Vietnam "plowed deeply" in me and I am forever changed. I am so proud to work for a company that is willing to invest in me and in the mission of making a difference around the globe.