I joined Mobilink in August 2011 as Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility. Having worked my entire career in the development sector, I was apprehensive about the switch to the corporate world which is driven by a desire to maximize profits rather than a commitment to human development.
I have always imagined corporations to be profit maximizing entities that will snatch bread from babies if it means increased profits for their own books. The mandate of every corporation and its primary responsibility is to generate returns for its investors and profits that can turn into salaries and benefits for the people that they employ. Factoring in impact on human development or communities is something that is far down the list of any corporation’s priorities. However, corporations have formidable funds, human resources and expertise that they can channel towards human development. Mobilink has all these resources in abundance.
It is the only telecom operator in Pakistan to have a registered philanthropic organization – the Mobilink Foundation. Mobilink wants to take CSR seriously and use their resources to make a measurable impact in the communities they work in. It was with the desire of tapping this resource that I joined Mobilink’s CSR team.
Mobilink has been a pleasant surprise. While we are a corporate entity focused on building a strong business that can provide communication solutions to people across Pakistan along with livelihoods and employment to thousands of others – Mobilink is definitely a company with a soul.
While Mobilink has earmarked funds for development activities, the enthusiasm of its employees for volunteer work has been the most pleasant surprise. One of my jobs as Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility has been organizing events that Mobilink volunteers (known as Mobilink Torchbearers) can participate in. I was pleasantly surprised when events planned over weekends drew the largest crowds. Mobilinkers at all levels of the company were willing to sacrifice weekend hours to volunteer at hospitals, schools and in disaster hit areas. Sometimes wading through water that was waist high, Mobilinkers went to help people communities in need when they could have been resting at home.
Weekends are a precious commodity for those of us who work. Therefore, I was amazed to see the enthusiasm with which Mobilinkersgave them up to support a worthy cause. The average corporate slave is supposed to be driven by nothing other than a desire to make money. At Mobilink I have found this to be rather untrue. The average Mobilinker is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to donate time to community service initiatives.
The Pakistani corporation, like the country that it is a product of,will surprise you when you least expect it.Looking forward to more pleasant surprises at Mobilink!