One woman helping to change the game in Colombia
Credit Suisse Perspectives

One woman helping to change the game in Colombia

Some choices change our own life, and some can even change the lives of others. Through the Global Citizens Program, we provide an opportunity for Credit Suisse employees to make a difference.

Sometimes the best experiences are the ones that take us to new places – physically, emotionally and professionally. Seizing a chance to try something different that also has a positive impact on another community is not only rewarding but also an opportunity to learn about oneself, and it can be life-changing. As Katharina put it:

"If you manage to completely immerse yourself in the task and organization and if you go with the flow, you will change the game and have the most memorable experience of your life."

This is why, in 2010, we set up the Global Citizens Program, an international skills-based volunteering opportunity designed to promote the transfer of skills and expertise between employees and social organizations. By placing participants outside their comfort zone and exposing them to the challenges faced by organizations, our Global Citizens Program looks to put the bank's IMPACT values into action. This is the story from one of our team who completed their Global Citizens Program assignment with Credit Suisse’s partner Plan International in Colombia.

Empowering others, inspiring us all: Meet Katharina Hochuli

As Vice President and Head of Marketing Initiatives Sustainability in Global Marketing, Katharina Hochuli knows about creating compelling stories. Hers is one of them.  For two weeks she traded her desk in Zurich for Bogotá to work with Plan International, Credit Suisse's long-standing partner in the bank's Financial Education Initiative. Plan International is a non-profit organization which aims to advance children's rights and equality for girls and Colombia is one of the 75 countries where the organization works.

Katharina explains what motivated her to join the Global Citizens Program:

"The program was an outstanding opportunity for me to work in a new context, within a non-profit organization, and to further develop as a person and as a marketing and branding professional. My experience on this program has left a positive mark that will last a lifetime."

Katharina not only took the opportunity to utilize her skills by supporting Plan International Colombia, she also gained new perspectives by seeing the organization’s work with young people.

Partnerships that #changethegame

Plan International's child sponsorship programme supports children in 45 countries around the world, including Colombia. By sponsoring children, helping them to get an education, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to raise their voices and stopping harmful practices like child marriage, sponsors also support communities at a larger scale in these countries.

When emergencies strike, Plan International Colombia works with communities – including refugees from Venezuela – to make sure children are safe and protected, have access to food, water and shelter, can keep learning and begin to recover from their traumatic experiences. The organization also promotes gender equality, supporting girls and young women to access quality education and sexual health services. To change the game and achieve long-term success, they needed to build a strong framework and process for working with its sponsors as strategic partners.

The main aim of Katharina's project was to work with the Director of Marketing and Communications and her team to help improve their fundraising, child sponsorship, and brand communications.

Preparation was key in getting ready for the program and ensuring a successful outcome. Researching the organization, and getting to know the environment and the challenges they faced, enabled Katharina to clearly define her aim: to make Plan International more visible in the Colombian market and help them attract more donations and sponsors. Katharina quickly identified a need to sharpen their purpose statement and develop a narrative linked to their brand purpose. Drawing on her years of marketing experience, she helped them build and roll out a clear, cohesive brand architecture and a brand governance process.

The program was a rewarding experience for Katharina:

"I was lucky to visit many projects where Plan International Colombia works. It was an eye-opening and incredibly inspiring experience. To see how the organization works with young people and the impact they generate is so powerful and full of promise for so many kids and the communities they live in."
#ChangeTheGame - Plan International Colombia Team

Facilitating such experiences is what the Global Citizens Program is all about. It teaches you new skills and builds your confidence as you share your know-how, leverage your leadership capabilities, and develop your talents, whilst also supporting our partners to make a positive difference in local communities.

With that, it is an important part of the bank’s commitment to acting responsibly towards society and contributes to our social sustainability efforts to #ChangeTheGame.

Changing the game means promoting equity, supporting efforts to amplify women’s voices, and a commitment to diversity. What does that include in practice? Everything from tailored employee networks to life-changing initiatives overseas. To find out more about how we are looking to change the game in our support women within the organization and globally, check out our #ChangeTheGame page.