Jeri Wambeek, co-founder of WAOConnect and WAOImpact, shares her hopes for how WAOImpact could change lives and communities.
The world we live in today is the result of change. Changes are the one constant throughout history. Today, we are more connected than ever – brought together by digitalisation, evolving technologies and plenty of opportunities to learn and expand. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still work to be done.
WAOConnect is made up of employees from different countries, cultures and we are able to communicate, organise and build businesses together.
How did we get here?
In 2016, when my husband, Marlon, and I started WAOConnect (originally WhichAddOn), a company that specialises in the implementation of inventory management software, we knew that we wanted to balance it with philanthropic causes. In other words, we started WAOConnect because we wanted to make a difference.
In 2018, after the tragic loss of our baby born stillborn at 26 weeks, we had to make a critical decision. We had been working long days and late nights to the detriment of our health and our family. We knew we couldn’t do what we were doing anymore. We had to make the decision – do we close the business or do we learn how to grow the business with a global team and make an impact on our staff, our clients and our community across the world – and finally learn how to have balance in our lives in the process. We chose to honour the memory of our baby girl, that we will learn to live in balance AND make a positive impact on the world as we learned how to do it.
2020 saw people change the way they lived their daily lives. Stability in countless communities was shaken across the world. We witnessed people within our WAOConnect community deal with hardships and the share pains within their other communities. Our small workplace community started to expand to include these other surrounding communities. Marlon and I knew that now was the time to work together with our WAOConnect community to help the expanded communities.
The concept was shared with our staff, to work together to create outreach programmes within their local communities. Think global, act local took on a whole new dimension, and WAOImpact was created.
Where are we going?
I believe that giving back and creating a global community is imperative. We want WAOImpact to go big and include everybody. While WAOImpact will always have an inward focus that allows our staff and team members to volunteer and get involved with campaigns within their local communities; we also want to focus our efforts on other issues that are close to our hearts that affect everybody.
WAOImpact will eventually also be used to help invigorate conversations around global issues like plastic waste, alcoholism and more. In order to turn our vision into a reality, we want to give back in a variety of ways which could include time, financial, education, and promotion.
The main purpose and goal of WAOImpact is to help improve the quality of life for others at a variety of levels, and in December of 2020, our first activations were rolled out. These activations took place in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, engaging and supporting 3 different communities in need.