Giving At Now: How a long-distance connection keeps on giving

  • Life at Now
  • Raghu Bellamkonda
  • 2019
  • Culture
December 10, 2019

When I joined ServiceNow last year as a knowledge management specialist in Hyderabad, it came with an interesting arrangement: My manager, Lynda King, works 8,300 miles away as a remote employee in Nebraska.

But this long-distance work relationship has turned into a very personal connection, thanks to a nonprofit organization I discovered through Lynda. It’s also strengthened the bonds I have with colleagues, who care deeply about supporting great causes.

Soon after I started, Lynda mentioned an India-based charity she has supported for a long time called Maher. For over 20 years, Maher has been supporting destitute women, men and children across India—providing food, water and clothes and other services to help people become healthier and more self-reliant.

Lynda suggested I should go see the group’s founder, Sister Lucy Kurien, speak at one of her talks in Hyderabad. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical at first—I had seen other charities in the past that had taken money and fled rather than following through on promises. But I kept an open mind and decided to go.

I was really moved by the work Sister Lucy talked about. One Maher project, called Pragati (for progress), offers health education to rural villages. Through role-playing skits and an on-site person providing information, Pragati teaches village residents about family planning, child care, and gender bias. Another program provides skills training to help young people land good jobs. 

My family wouldn’t say I’m a very emotional person, but I was so inspired by the work Sister Lucy is doing that I went to tell her so after her talk. We hugged, and tears started flowing.

 

Cause for celebration

Soon after, I told Lynda how inspired I was by the experience. Lynda mentioned that the group had an anniversary event coming up in Pune, and we wanted to be there together for the celebration. 

We made it happen—and that’s how we finally met in person! It was wonderful to come together with a colleague to support something we both care about deeply. We met there again in August when I brought my wife and children with me for the trip from Hyderabad to Pune, and Lynda brought her son.

Supporting Maher has also helped me form a deeper relationship with my family. Since bringing my children there, they’ve started asking to visit again and have been thinking about more ways of helping other people. The opportunity to inspire my children to think about giving is thanks to the connections I’ve developed with Lynda and Maher while at ServiceNow. 

I’m glad to work at a place where I can develop deep ties to my colleagues and community. When we give back and share those experiences, we spark even stronger connections all around.  

 

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