Cool Jobs at the Navy Yard: Desmond McCaffery, Manager of Employee Volunteering

by Navy Yard
September 11, 2019

Categories: Cool Jobs,

From Color Techs to Fashion Stylists, Cancer Researchers, and Design Masters, the Navy Yard is packed with awesome people doing great things. One of these people is Desmond McCaffery, Manager of Employee Volunteering at GSK.

Desmond McCaffery has been working with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for nearly 20 years. We had the opportunity to chat with Desmond about his work and got to hear a bit more about what GSK does around the world!

What does your company do?
GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, and live longer. My team’s role is to extend volunteer opportunities to GSK employees, amplifying our reach across the world, increasing global health, while fostering positive change.

Describe your typical work day.
My work day all depends on where we are in our volunteering cycle.

We have two flagship volunteering programs – PULSE Volunteer Partnership & Orange Days! PULSE offers our employees a unique opportunity to enhance their understanding of the global healthcare landscape, increase energy and motivation, and develop leadership skills and knowledge. Orange Days allow any employee to have one paid day off each year to make a difference in their local community.

My primary responsibilities are related to the PULSE program. I work closely with colleagues in our US & UK Community Partnerships and Global Health teams to identify the best opportunities for employees and GSK. I manage the relationships with our non-profits/NGO partners which includes everything from scoping new assignments to providing updates on existing volunteers.  I am currently the team contact for 13 of our 2019 PULSE volunteers across the world in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Philippines, Philadelphia, London, Tanzania, and Nigeria.

What’s your favorite thing about working at GSK?
Over the past 20 years,  I have had 8 different roles. I like having the ability to move around and develop within GSK as opposed to having to look for opportunities to learn and develop outside. I also love GSKs work to improve access to medicines across the developing world.  This is something that makes me feel good about working for GSK.

What has been your favorite project to work on this year?
I had the opportunity to lead our 2019 face-to-face orientation training for 40 new PULSE volunteers. We had a central meeting in our London headquarters, where all volunteers joined for an intensive 2 1/2 day training on health & security, ethical photography, and developing and practicing a global mindset. It was an incredible opportunity to lead and work to develop content to prepare our 2019 cohort.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I was a PULSE volunteer in 2014 where I worked with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in Kigali, Rwanda. I worked on their Human Resources for Health (HRH) program with the aim of improving the sustainability of Rwanda’s health workforce (e.g. nurses, midwives, health educators, doctors etc.). I also work as a volunteer associate for a company GSK has majority ownership (ViiV Healthcare) where I manage grantees of their Positive Action for Children Fund that are working to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV. In June, I had the opportunity to visit two of my community-based organization grantees in Malawi that are working closely with villages on activities that will help get us one step closer to eliminating the transmission of HIV from mother to child. And finally, I’ll be graduating in November from Thomas Jefferson University with my Masters of Public Health, I only have my Capstone left. Public Health has been a passion of mine for some time so I figured I should probably learn more about it!

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