Photo courtesy SAPSAP Waterloo volunteers with muscles and minds Alex Kinsella August 31, 2016 Columns, Ecosystem, Tech About Town There’s an old adage in tech that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” The definition of culture varies from company to company. Culture lies at the heart of every startup, scale-up, and yes – every enterprise company. The Waterloo office of German-based SAP showcases one facet of its corporate culture with its Month of Service each October. The Month of Service is a global initiative where SAP employees can give back to their local communities. Employees can, for example, contribute one work day to a charitable or volunteer activity. They can also volunteer additional time in the evenings and weekends as their schedule permits. Last year, more than 200 Waterloo employees volunteered 825 hours to 15 community projects. They worked on housing with Habitat for Humanity, cleaned up litter on the Grand Valley and Hydro Cut trails, volunteered with KidsAbility and Strong Start, and loaned their expertise to students at the Business & Education Partnership of Waterloo Region and Shad. “Most of the events don’t require anything more than a strong back, but we have a lot of strong minds that want to share their knowledge,” said Andrea Loveridge from SAP Waterloo. For last year’s Month of Service, SAP was the title sponsor of the first Waterloo Codefest during Year of Code. It was a hackathon that leveraged the City of Waterloo’s open data sources to create applications including a point of interest locator, an app to help social workers understand the effects of gentrification on neighbourhoods, and the winning app, Timber, which helps Waterluvians learn about and connect with the trees in their communities. SAP employees also volunteered their time with GirlSmarts4Tech, an event that showcases opportunities for young girls interested in technology. This year, the company is looking for opportunities for employees to volunteer their professional skills and talents. With more than 200 staff working here in Waterloo, they can really make an impact. The team includes developers who can code in multiple languages. SAP also has an emerging tech team with user experience designers and a team focused on IoT development. If you have an event or program that needs volunteers, you can reach out to Jennifer Carreiro at firstname.lastname@example.org. # # # It’s back to school next week, but for now I see and hear that…the Manulife LPGA Classic takes over Whistle Bear Golf Course from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4. It’s a great chance to see world-class golf in person. Descendants Beer & Beverage is hosting buck a shuck oyster night this Friday, Sept. 2 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Looking for something to do on the long weekend? Victoria Park hosts the annual LINK picnic this weekend. The festival celebrates inspirations and wisdom from the African and Caribbean community here in Waterloo Region.