Sarah Iglesias traveled to the Innovation Hub in Puerto Rico as part of Viasat’s recent volunteer service trip. Her workshop showed participants how to combine job-seeking skills with the power of the internet to find and secure new opportunities.
The skills-based volunteering experience in Puerto Rico was energizing and insightful. First, I’m thankful for the opportunity to connect with the other Viasat employees and learn about a few Viasat teams who I do not interact with daily. I already felt connected to the mission that Viasat has, to connect the unconnected, and now I have new relationships with other emerging leaders in the company who share values congruent with our social impact work around the world.
I was also able to learn more about how the efforts of the Viasat Social Impact team are aligned with the company mission and are intentionally leveraged as a resource in partnership with our various business areas. The work of this team really displays how as a company we can do well by doing good. I believe this type of work is critical to our success as we enter new markets, adapt to business opportunities, understand cultural nuances, and serve community needs around the globe. The conversations from this trip helped me to think creatively and understand synergies across Social Impact and the University Relations and Recruiting teams. I’m excited about the stronger collaboration that is already forming through this shared experience.
In addition to the internal relationships, I was able to actually see and experience our technology at work. I have a greater appreciation for the potential impact of truly becoming the first global ISP. It’s one thing to talk about connecting the unconnected, but to log-in and use the service in a remote community gave me a whole new perspective.
I can now speak to a firsthand experience of how Viasat is executing on our promises through our satellite-based service. It was incredible to hear how the tech hub in Arroyo not only serves community members on a daily basis but was also used for emergency communication after a recent earthquake. This story exemplifies how our reliable service will hopefully help the community continue to build a revised economy now, and recover more quickly from natural disasters in the future.
I appreciate how Viasat took subject matter experts into the sponsored tech hubs to help community members actively consider new ways that they can benefit from being connected to online resources. The success of this program for me is displayed through the application of one or two key learnings by participants. Hopefully there is a student who decided to search for jobs in his area and discovered a new career path to research, or a teacher who has new resources to help her students prepare for job interviews.
From a professional development perspective, this experience bolstered my confidence in working internationally. Increasingly, there is a need for my team to assist with university relations and recruiting efforts globally, and I’m constantly evolving my skill set and knowledge base to meet these requests.
The Puerto Rico trip was my first time in a professional setting working with an interpreter. While I was nervous at first about how this communication flow would work, this experience provided valuable practice for future multilingual situations where the stakes may be higher. I learned to be intentional with my phrasing to allow for a natural break for the translator to work, and to avoid difficult-to-translate slang or U.S.-centric examples. I learned the importance of selecting a translator who has local ties if possible, and to take a moment to build rapport with the individual who is translating.
In summary, I’m thrilled to work for a company that provides products and services that align with my personal values. Viasat is not only committed to providing a reliable service but is creating a platform for people to connect with beneficial resources and other people. The Puerto Rico skills-based volunteer trip is one practical example of how we are connecting people to helpful resources and demonstrating the value of connectivity.