Luisa Gentile is here we are global’s Focal Point in Cambodia. She is also the Founder of Professionals doing good. In this post Luisa shares what happened when she decided to initiate her personal career transition from a corporate executer to a professional community volunteer.
My deep passion and curiosity for exploring other cultures led me to find work in the telecommunication and higher education sector in the UK, Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. But after making my mark in an eight year period in the Middle East, I – together with my husband – decided to moved to Cambodia in 2015. We moved to Cambodia to seek a new adventure and to make a home in a country that was so warm and open, even on the mend from years of civil conflict and genocide.
I didn’t move to Cambodia to be a ‘savior’ as I have seen other expats hoping to be when they first come to this country. I moved here because I was curious and passionate about helping people realize their potential and coaching them to flourish through professional development.
Through chance, I met Journeys Within Our Community, an education Non-Governmental Organization that helps empower the local community through educational opportunities. I joined the board and began to offer pro-bono mentoring to the staff and helped craft a distinct mission and direction during a transitional period.
Conscious volunteers create greater impact
Soon after, I was appointed interim Executive Director of Cambodian Community Dream Organization, a grassroots non-profit, whose mission is to improve living conditions in villages surrounding Siem Reap. Amongst a broad variety of duties I was able to work closely with and manage volunteers. This was enjoyable to me, not only because I helped place skilled volunteers in relevant positions, but it also allowed me to see how important it is for volunteers to train and develop local employees rather than replacing them altogether.
Living and working in Cambodia made me realize that one-off volunteering was not sustainable and ultimately did not contribute to any real lasting impact, no matter how willing or well-intentioned a person is to contribute.
With this in mind, I have decided to fund Professionals doing good, a non-profit organization based in Siem Reap. Professionals doing good is based on the belief and principle that by developing socially conscious organizations in this country through meaningful and professional volunteer work, we can make a greater impact on the community.
Creating thoughtful exchange of knowledge
By matching skilled volunteers with responsible organizations they can invest their time and service into improving the organization through empowering staff and fostering professional development. As a board member of an non-profit educational organisation in Cambodia and a professional volunteer myself, I have learned what it takes to make a genuine impact in an ethically responsible way.
My hope is by harnessing the expertise of qualified volunteers that I recruit, I can make sure there is a thoughtful exchange of knowledge between the volunteers, staff and beneficiaries, so that after the volunteer leaves, the organization is left better because of it.
Developing Professionals doing good
Professionals doing good took its first steps in August 2017. Since then I’m thrilled that I have had the opportunity to utilize my passion of connecting the right people for the job while truly making a difference in the local community in a respectful and sustainable way. This is integral to the work I am trying to achieve.
For members of here we are global willing to be involved in professional volunteering, we always look for professionals from all walks of life willing to give back their expertise for a good cause, either by spending some time in Cambodia or by offering their helping online.