It can be tough to combine personal development with collective action in the modern workplace. The Bolloré Group’s Earthtalent ambassadors, however, have the opportunity to do just that, supporting Earthtalent’s projects to empower women around the world.
It can be tough to combine personal development with collective action in the
modern workplace. The Bolloré Group’s Earthtalent ambassadors, however, have the
opportunity to do just that, supporting Earthtalent’s projects to empower women
around the world.
“I feel good working for such a noble cause,” says Sasmita Mohanty, SDV’s
regional human resources manager for South Asia in Delhi, India, and the
Earthtalent regional ambassadress for South-East Asia. “It shows our company is
interested in human values as well as profits and losses.”
“I was inspired by the mission and vision of the project,” adds Bing
Cuyco-Chua, customer service supervisor for SDV in the Philippines and local
Earthtalent ambassadress. “One of my goals in life is to reach out to the
Earthtalent.net is a Bolloré group social network created in 2008 with the
specific aim of promoting international solidarity by supporting gender equality
and the empowerment of women. Founded by Dorothée Van de Cruyssen, head of
Social Innovation for the group, Earthtalent encourages employees to create
local initiatives aimed at supporting three of the United Nations Millennium
Development Goals; to promote gender equality and empower women, to improve
maternal health and to develop a global partnership for development.
The local ambassadors play a key role in Earthtalent’s success, each year
helping put forward projects that will receive grants and management support
from the group. Today, Earthtalent helps fund 16 projects aimed at empowering
women in India, the Philippines, Mali, Burkina Faso and the Cameroon.
The call for projects takes about four months and during this time the
ambassadors help candidates with their proposals, answer their questions and
fill in applications online. The proposals must be submitted by a current or
retired Bolloré employee who is also involved in the project. It must be
sustainable beyond the Earthtalent grant, aiming for economic autonomy or income
creation for its beneficiaries.
Last year, for example, Mohanty’s South-East Asia region received approval
for four out of nine projects including a campaign to stop female foeticide in
Odisha, India, a program promoting child education in tribal groups in India and
a training center for underprivileged women in Delhi that aims to teach skills
such as making and selling jams, juices and pickles.
“Empowerment of women is an important topic in India,” says Mohanty. “In
legal terms there is no longer any discrimination against women but in practice
they often have a weaker place in society.” SDV, for example, is actively
seeking to hire more women in India, especially in operational areas such as
customer care and warehouse work, Mohanty adds.
The ambassadors act as representatives of Earthtalent on many levels, helping
motivate local employees and providing a link between their local offices and
the Earthtalent office in Paris. Supported by their local management, the
ambassadors act as a spokesperson for Earthtalent, explaining how it works to
local employees and partners and providing feedback to the Earthtalent team in
Paris on local initiatives and the changing role of women in their
“Earthtalent is an excellent way to build solidarity among our colleagues and
to learn about their involvement in other groups aimed at empowering women,”
says Cuyco-Chua. “I have enjoyed discovering my colleagues’ willingness to
participate in other projects outside our daily work routine.”
On a personal level, being an ambassadress has also helped her become more
“modest and helpful,” Cuyco-Chua adds. “During the call for projects, I became
involved with different organizations and associations and witnessed
unconditional love and care for people who are less fortunate,” she says.
Cuyco-Chua is especially concerned for the estimated 500,000 children who
roam the streets of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. She successfully
proposed Earthtalent’s support for the Give & Share a Life Children’s
Philippine Foundation or GSLCP that aims to give underprivileged children and
their families access to healthcare while giving mothers professional
This year, Earthtalent aims to expand its reach to 18 countries. A recent
visit by the Paris-based project team to all the people involved in the project,
including the local ambassadresses, has further helped fire enthusiasm for the
concept. “Hearing about projects in other countries gave us new ideas,” says
“I expect to have a fair few proposals in the next call for projects
including in Bangladesh and Pakistan,” adds Mohanty. “Getting to work for worthy
causes is a real bonus.”