SAP Community Cares

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Community as a Powerful Change Agent

Two years ago when I began to consider blogging as a means to express personal and professional opinions I chose a title for my first blog under the erroneous impression that each blog entry would carry a unique blog idenifier and so “A Time to Mourn a Time to Rejoice” was mistakenly applied as a title for a single blog post which typified a very particular set of events that had transpired in my personal life. It wasn’t intended as the overall title of “my blog”. Later, when I realized that this was a kind of permanent identifier, I still clung to the original name for some mysterious reason.

That reason was revealed to me this week when the worlds of my personal advocacy, concerns and moral commitments collided with my professional assignments. It seems an almost sad and joyous collision. I had been feeling for some time now that I needed to bring something of larger value to my professional role as community facilitator, advocate and peer in my online SAP community network role and was wondering just how to invest time, not only in customer support, documentation, and vendor activities, but in more humanitarian and charitable callings.

Those stirrings toward something more purpose-driven in my professional life were prompted by a number of very inspiring conversations held with various SDN and BPX community members around the topic of what knowledge workers could contribute to world causes. They were further augmented when meeting the mural artist, Nancy Marguiles, at SAP TechEd as well as engaging in conversations with social media bloggers and thought leaders: James Governor, Dennis Howlett and Robin Carey Fray and they began to take formal direction after having a conversation with my boss, Michael Schwandt who suggested meeting with the Corporate Social Responsibility steward of my company, James Farrar. James, in one concentrated afternoon of knowledge exchange, shook my professional world and allowed me to dare hope that there could be a convergence of causes that mattered and mattered globally mapped to my own work and corporate responsibilities in the Business Process Expert Community. Beyond ideology and obvious compassionate responses from a dedicated community, BPX could provide a place where business process expertise meets governance, risk, compliance, sustainability, corporate responsibility and metrics to measure “how good are we doing at doing good”. These possibilities inspire and engage and suggest that there is something much beyond process model exchange and selling software as a possibility for work with BPX.

A Time to Rejoice, A Time to Mourn: Enormous joy at finding “a calling” worth following, immense sorrow at the enormity of the problems to consider dedicating oneself to addressing.
It will take a very focused community to move this forward.

Picture from World Food Programme - Albertine Mutuyimana
WFP through the the eyes of a child WFP - Latest news - Photo Galleries:
"WFP through the the eyes of a child Rwanda Albertine Mutuyimana, a member of
class P6 A in Gatora school, lives with her aunt. Albertine, aged 15, chose to
paint two scenes. In the first, a mother is desperately sad because she cannot
afford to feed her children or buy pens and paper so they can go to school. In
the second, the same woman is smiling because WFP's free rations of vegetable
oil and porridge mean her children do not have to work in the fields and can
attend class. "


  1. Phil Kisloff4:45 AM

    I think you've articulated very movingly a real opportunity to tap the immense potential of on-line communities to leave a positive mark on this world. It seems to me that you make no small plans, knowing only big ones have the capacity to challenge people into action. You will not be alone on this journey.

  2. Great post, Marilyn. It articulates a desire that many of us feel about participating in a meta-story ... the story of our times -- and how this can make an impact on the world in a postitive way.

    As you point out, we can no longer separate professional and pesonal ... and while that may cause sadness, it can also be a cause for joy. No longer fragmented, we can choose how best to "be the change we seek". I am looking forward to contributing in my small way.