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Rain in Rio: Sharing ideas on corporate volunteering
09 October 2008
by Sarah Hayes, Consultant Director of IAVE Global Corporate Volunteer Council

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: A little rain in Rio couldn't stop representatives from seven international companies from sharing good practice, brainstorming new ideas for collaboration in the years ahead, and supporting one another's volunteer programme goals. The fourth Global Corporate Volunteer Council (G-CVC) meeting in two years was, as everyone agreed, the best yet!

Participants were inspired and motivated to return to their companies armed with new ideas and reinforced support from fellow members. Additionally, the unusual weather allowed for members to bond together, enjoy one another’s company and laugh a lot!

Vale, one of the G-CVC Founding Members, based in Rio de Janeiro, invited the G-CVC to hold our meeting there, and also hosted a special breakfast the morning of 17 September, which included members of Rio’s CBVE (local Corporate Volunteer Council) joining with the G-CVC attendees. The G-CVC gratefully acknowledges Vale’s support for our meeting, as details of our event were seamlessly orchestrated so that everyone could receive the full benefit of our time together.

A small sampling of topics discussed at the meeting were keeping employee volunteer programmes relevant in difficult times, strategically aligning the volunteer programme to the business of the company, securing the support of middle management, online tools and measures for high impact programs, and what multi-national companies can contribute to the celebration of the International Year of Volunteers Plus Ten – IYV+10 – in 2011.

The discussions were relevant to all companies represented, and were enthusiastically participated in! Not only were the discussions appropriate for current challenges international companies are facing, but very visionary as well. This group was very enthusiastic and forward-thinking!

In addition to working hard in the meeting, participants enjoyed great food and beautiful scenery (although sometimes you had to look through the clouds to find it!). I doubt anyone who climbed the steps to Corcovado in the blinding rain to see the statue of the Christ on the mountain will ever forget that unique sightseeing adventure! We were also treated to a history lesson on the famous Brazilian Carnival, and I must say our participants all looked great in their sparkly Carnival masks!

Our members also got to meet and spend time with some of the many volunteers of Vale, who came to Teresópolis on our last meeting day for their own annual congress. It was a wonderful time for sharing and learning from each other!

G-CVC members attending were from Vale (Sergio Dias and Alice Santos); Monsanto (Deborah Patterson, Tommie Monroe and Christiane Bracco); Citi (Claudia McNamee); Disney (Belen Urbaneja), American Airlines (Sam Santiago) and Telefonica (Samantha Penalver). Milena Ramos also attended from Pfizer, Sao Paulo.

Joining the G-CVC members were special guests and presenters, including Kenn Allen (CSCG), Bruno Ayres (V2V), Oscar Garcia from Argentina, Carla Sattler from C&A in Sao Paulo, and of course Monica Beatriz Galiano of Iniciativa Brasil, who also was a great help in planning the meeting.

I’d like to thank all who attended, those who presented, and those who organized this event – the G-CVC moves forward with a great stride from Brasil, due to your wonderful efforts! Thank you!

For more information, please contact Sarah Hayes at