Giving Thanks, and Giving Back

This week, we’ll be observing Thanksgiving here in the U.S. Traditionally, it’s a time for family, friends, and feasting, expressing gratitude for all we have, and doing what we can for those who have less.

Especially this year, when many of us are gathering for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Thanksgiving is about so much more than the food on our plates — it’s about how much we value all the people in our lives, and how we can help our local, regional, or global communities.

It’s also a time for reflection, something we’ve been doing a lot of here at Skillsoft, as we strengthen our commitment to being a responsible business and help our customers do the same. The truth is, by their very existence, many businesses risk making negative impacts on both our society and our planet. Now, as we evolve into a new era of shared stewardship, we’re seeking new ways to tip the “impact balance” into the positive.

When I sat on a non-profit board years ago, we talked often about the three ways people can give back — Time, Talent, and Treasure. The last one, a monetary donation, is, actually, the easiest; the first two are much harder because they require you to give of yourself. All are important though, and at different points in your life and career you may have more opportunities to give more one way rather than another.

Giving back has always been an important part of this company’s legacy — in fact, it’s one of the many reasons I decided to join three years ago. We consider it a privilege to help so many organizations dedicated to helping others, like iamtheCODE, Special Olympics, Code Like a Girl, Make-a-Wish, and the USO, to name just a few.

It’s important to us to make sure our Team Members around the world have the opportunity to make the same commitment — to do something more for their communities. Many are offering their time and talents to implement our learning solutions at non-profits, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in the United States, donate thousands of meals in India, and sponsor the education and employment of young women across the globe.

Organizations like the ones I mentioned above count on us as supporters and volunteers. One way we can all help them make a difference is by spreading the word about the important work they do. When you help others learn about the causes you support, your support grows exponentially. As I like to say, there is great power in the personal.

By the way, speaking of personal, if your schedule is anything like mine, you may find it challenging to make time for all of the meaningful activities you want to pursue. Just remember, every single thing we do to give back, however small, matters.

After all, towering oaks grow from acorns. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it far better than I can:

“…to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden, a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

As we celebrate this week and mark the unofficial beginning of the holiday season, I intend to reflect on all that I have, give thanks for the life I’ve been afforded … and plant an acorn or two.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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