by Robin Nierynck
Heroes of the Week: “We’re a Hero family and we have such power to make an impact”
October is Hero Month at our Hero Hub, a time for our Heroes to get involved and give something back to the community. These 31 days (and beyond) we’re partnering with numerous organizations throughout Berlin, joining forces to make the biggest possible impact for the better. And every week, we spotlight some of our extraordinary Heroes, who have gone above and beyond in making a positive change.
What a better place to start than at the beginning, with the people who helped make it all happen. Josephin Hentschel and Lisa Klostermann were at the helm of creating Hero Month. Both Volunteer Champions, they are working closely with our partner organizations to create a great agenda for October.
Lisa and Josephin (who goes by Fini) both work in Employer Branding at the Berlin Hero Hub. While one has been volunteering her whole life, the other had never volunteered before joining Delivery Hero. Now, they are working together to help create a culture built on giving back, sustainability and inclusion.
How did you first get into volunteering?
Lisa: Before I started at Delivery Hero I was pretty much always engaged in social projects, I’ve been volunteering my whole life. When I started working full-time, volunteering was put on the backburner, which was frustrating for me because I believe that if you want to make an impact in this world you have to do something about it and make it happen. I found some like-minded people at the company and we started taking part in some initiatives. We visited a refugee camp in Berlin, and a group of us volunteered to give out food to homeless people. We all had really positive experiences and learned a lot.
Fini: To be honest, I never took part in any volunteering before this, which I feel quite bad about. When I joined Delivery Hero, I signed up to an office group. We would meet and talk about ideas and what kind of action we could take. We started by setting up a clothing donation project in the office, and sponsored some charity events by providing food.
“If you want to make an impact in this world you have to make it happen.”
How did this volunteering reach a company-wide level?
Lisa: Initially all these actions and groups were a bit fragmented, but there was a lot of employee demand for action – people really want to work in sustainable offices and so on. When Jeri Doris, our Chief People Officer, joined in January 2018 she was also very eager to do more about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and got a lot of support from our CEO Niklas and the management team.
Fini: We had a number of working sessions with Jeri about the value of CSR and what initiatives we could incorporate into the company. Jeri suggested a volunteering month, so we started working on the idea – organizing it practically, researching, talking to different organizations, creating a platform, and getting more co-workers as Volunteer Champions on board.
You’re both Volunteer Champions. Which charities are you working with and why?
Fini: I love jogging in my free time, but when I run around my neighborhood in Friedrichshain I always notice there is so much rubbish around. So when I came across Plogging – a combination of jogging and picking up litter – I thought it was a great concept. As one of the projects I’m working on for Hero Month, I partnered with Stadtbewegung, a non-profit sports club, to organize a Plogging session to clean up our local area. It’s a fun initiative for employees to take part in, in line with our recent office running challenge, and it fits in with our company goals of minimising waste and caring for the environment.
Lisa: Among other organizations, I’m working with Sharehouse Refugio, an NGO that is part of Berliner Stadtmission. It’s a community space where refugees and locals live and work together. Our Delivery Hero volunteers will join the language café to help improve people’s German and English skills. I really like this project because it connects people from various cultural backgrounds, which is the first step for an open and inclusive culture and society. Speaking the local language of a country is key to feel empowered. I believe it’s a great project that all participants benefit from, and it is reflective of how we are an international company with lots of different nationalities and cultures that can learn from each other.
Why it is important to give back as a company?
Fini: There are so many of us at Delivery Hero, we’re a Hero family and we have such power to make an impact. If there is any way in which we can do that then we should come together and create meaningful change.
Lisa: In my opinion, companies are great stakeholders in modern societies, which means they also hold responsibility towards it. Having so many employees globally, I think we can really make an impact. Moreover, I know from many colleagues that they would like to volunteer more often. Offering volunteering opportunities within the company is a great benefit for employees.
“Just spending a few hours cooking, cleaning or sharing can really change lives.”
What have you learnt from volunteering?
Fini: For me, it’s all about that moment when you manage to put a smile on someone’s face. To give something back and see someone light up and forget what they’ve been through – even if only for a minute – is priceless.
Lisa: I think volunteering broadens your horizons and makes you appreciate the simple things in life much more. You get to hear so many inspiring stories that you can learn a lot from. And as Fini said, it’s really rewarding to give something back.
What are your hopes for Hero Month? What would you like to achieve in the future?
Lisa: My hopes are that our employees enjoy the different volunteering opportunities, so that we can continue this project in the future. I think we can have a much bigger impact if we continue to build sustainable relationships with different NGOs and partners. The greatest achievement for me would be to get a call from one of our partners, telling me how our actions have helped their organization and beneficiaries.
Fini: Firstly, I hope that people at Delivery Hero become more aware of the importance of doing something for the environment and for other people. And secondly, that they realise that a little goes a far way. Just spending a few hours cooking, cleaning or sharing can really change lives. You can accomplish a lot. I hope we will continue this momentum at Delivery Hero and take on different initiatives, there are so many ways in which we can make an impact.