What I learned from the INSPIRE Social Justice Hackathon

  • Posted on August 29, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes

I was thrilled when my project team, Global Women for Change, won second place on the INSPIRE (Avanade’s Black Employee Network) Social Justice Hackathon! I am on cloud nine – and so is everyone else on my team!   

I joined the Hackathon to build my network, learn more from the business and from our technology offerings firsthand. Contributing to causes close to my heart and making a positive impact in the world gives me the courage to “Be the change you want to see in the world.” 

The Hackathon is one of the greatest experiences in my first six months at Avanade, among many others. For those who haven’t participated, it’s a great opportunity to challenge yourself to think differently and demonstrate a growth mindset in action. 

Meet great people, network and be exposed to new areas of our business 
Work with people with different talents than yours, experience different cultures and realities. This Hackathon increases your Inclusion & Diversity quotient. You listen to new perspectives and ideas in a topic that everyone discovers together, like mental health support and resources for underprivileged communities. Working with a completely different group that was randomly created is a great challenge; we not only learned to work, align, and collaborate as an effective team quickly, but we made new connections and friends globally. 

New experiences 
You learn and experience new things firsthand in a rapid time frame. As a team member, you must deliver something concrete. The quick six-week time frame helps add the adrenaline factor as does the constant iteration and falling forward on the go. You really depend on and grow good time management prioritization skills with this additional role on top of your busy day and agenda – but it is well worth the time!   

Acquire new skill on the job 
The Hackathon requires you to get out of your comfort zone and learn by doing, and learning many new skills. In my team’s case, our solution provides support to all of those who are suffering mental health issues. Combining power virtual agents, Omnichannel CRM and Power Platform, our main goals are to: 

  1. Provide support to people with mental health issues 
  2. Accessibility of those services for minority groups 
  3. Learn from the data collected to design content and training to people to help prevent mental health problems.

Being in Human Resources, I have continued to learn a lot from technology and how technology can support and solve the challenges that people face in their day-to-day lives. This was a great opportunity to innovate and grow! 

Driving results through Leadership and influence 
Leadership was shared in the team – there were no hierarchies or titles, just leveraging the strengths and skills of each person. We were all equals. Organizational levels and titles didn’t matter – it was about building upon our own strengths and the value we each bring to the team. It is also about using your communications skills and influence without authority.  

Your personal purpose connected to the purpose of Avanade 
Finally, it is about having a true human impact and supporting social justice. Giving back. Recognizing how blessed we are to have a great job at a fantastic company that has a great purpose. You feel the connection between your own purpose and that of the company through events like this. You meet like-minded people and you share the common goal and passion for making a positive change with those in your team. Even better, our next steps will be converting our project into real solutions that Avanade can offer in the future! 

Phaedra Riley

Great Article Monica, The reasons above is why I too volunteered to help with the SJ Hackathon! 

August 30, 2022

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