If you would have told me nine years ago as a first-year Arts and Business student, that someday I would be helping to change lives in northern India, I would have called you crazy!

Flash forward to this past March, when I had the experience of a lifetime participating in IBM’s Corporate Service Corps on assignment to Chandigarh, India. What is the IBM Corporate Service Corps, you ask? The program, modelled on the Peace Corps, is a leadership and development program in which top employees are sent abroad for four weeks to work on a pro-bono consulting engagement with a local NGO. Over the past 10 years, IBM has provided $100 million in pro-bono consulting on more than 1,400 projects in 44 countries. 

After an extensive three months of preparation, I left in March for my in-country deployment to Chandigarh. Our group was composed of 18 IBMers representing nine different countries, with many different skill sets from project managers to developers to marketers. Our team of three was assigned to work with a local NGO, Don Bosco Navjeevan Society of Chandigarh, which is an organization that provides training, health services and childcare to the poor and at-risk youth in poverty-stricken areas in the surrounding slums and colonies. Our objective was to help Don Bosco with its long-term strategic development plan to ensure sustainability and diversification into other areas of service.

Bridget King with group of women

With a short time frame, we went straight to work and spent the first week conducting user interviews and field visits with women, children, staff and volunteers. We also leveraged design thinking to provide recommendations to the organization in the areas of sustainability and visibility. One of the highlights for me was celebrating Holi with the local children and experiencing the holiday through their eyes. We were also fortunate to have been in India for International Women’s Day and participated in a march with a local school.

It’s been seven months since I left India, but the memories and experiences will stay with me forever. My perspective on the world and the society we live in has been forever changed, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I have been given.

Bridget King (BA ’15) is the North America Branding & Communications Program Manager, Early Professional Hiring, at IBM. She is responsible for strategic branding and communications across the US and Canada to enable IBM to attract and hire top early professional talent.

Previously, Bridget led IBM’s campus recruitment team in Canada. A graduate of Waterloo’s Arts and Business co-op program, Bridget has also worked in recruitment in the tech industry and the federal government. She holds her CHRP and is an active member of the York Region HRPA chapter. She was named Campus Recruiter of the Year by TalentEgg in 2017.