“Through GE’s work with buildOn, our company is cultivating future leaders that are more knowledgeable, well-rounded, and aware of the problems our world faces.”
– Kathlene Makara
When she joined GE right out of college, Kathlene expected to learn everything she needed to become a great corporate leader. She just didn’t expect to learn it in a rural village. But when Jeffrey Bornstein, CFO of GE Capital, challenged Kathlene and 30 colleagues to raise $32,000 for a school in Nicaragua, and then travel to build it, she was all in.
“As a young woman, I wanted to be part of this movement because buildOn schools are designed to promote gender equality in countries where girls are not traditionally educated,” said Kathlene. “I had never been to Nicaragua, or any other developing country. It was the opportunity of a lifetime.”
As co-leader of the GE FMP Team, Kathlene developed leadership skills, communication skills and learned to work across function with team members from different departments. But the biggest impact on Kathlene was personal.
One day while making bracelets with her five-year-old host sister, Ruth, Kathlene asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. Ruth replied that she wanted to “grow up to cook, sweep, and clean the house.” The answer shocked Kathlene: “I couldn’t help but feel sad after hearing her answer. Was that all she thought she could be?”
The conversation made her even more determined to build the new school — to provide Ruth with a better education, help inspire her to dream bigger, and allow her the opportunity to make a better life for herself.
Because of the school Kathlene sees GE, and her place there, in a new light: “I am extremely proud to work for GE. I think about it as a company that is more human, and as a place I want to be.”
|A gift of just $30 makes possible a place for a student at a buildOn school for an entire year! In countries like Nicaragua that can make a huge difference to the future of a child.|
Posted August 10, 2012 in News by buildOn