GoodWorks Spotlight: Sumithra BK on How Volunteerism Connects All Backgrounds
At Nasdaq, we engage, support and empower our communities. We give back by exercising our corporate expertise and investing our time and talent in communities where we live to make a meaningful difference. Together, our employees and contractors foster a culture of corporate responsibility in their work and their communities.
We spoke with Sumithra BK, Project Manager Specialist, Corporate Secretary at Nasdaq, to discuss the intersection of managing the Nasdaq India board and her passion for corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Please tell us about your role at Nasdaq as a leader of CSR and GoodWorks at the Bangalore Center.
Being a Corporate Secretary, my primary responsibility is managing Nasdaq India Board; I am responsible for secretarial and statutory compliances for India and APAC entities.
CSR is one such mandatory compliance. Companies in India are mandated to spend 2% of average net profit over the past three years on CSR activities as prescribed by company law.
As a CSR committee lead, my work begins once the financials are signed, and the CSR amount is confirmed in the accounts evaluation. The CSR committee has close to 25 members who help in recommending and evaluating proposals received from various NGOs. I then carry out the due diligence of these NGOs, which are then placed for approval with the board of directors.
Once all the approvals are in place, the funds are released. From time to time, we get project status reports from the NGOs and explore opportunities for volunteering activities for employees around these projects.
The process is a bit tedious, but thanks to our NGO partners, CSR volunteers, the CSR committee and the board of directors, the decision are made on time, helping Nasdaq Bangalore make a significant difference to the society around us.
What does it entail, and how did you choose this career trajectory?
All it needs is a kind heart, good mindset, paired with a passion for contributing to society. I was always inclined toward being a part of this cause. I feel my role in managing compliance, contributing to Nasdaq Bangalore’s CSR goals is a great opportunity, and I have the privilege to have an opportunity to contribute.
How would you explain what GoodWorks is?
GoodWorks play an essential role in society, it is an act of extending love and kindness to others unconditionally, which is a conscious act, but the heart makes the decision without expecting a reward or anything in return.
Can you share with us some of the work you are doing with GoodWorks?
The main areas of focus are:
- Promoting health care, sanitation, bringing clean drinking water to India’s villages. This has benefited over 750 families and over 4,000 villagers.
- Promoting education. So far, we have distributed uniforms and close to 2000 school bags and other infrastructure facilities at various Government schools.
- Enhancing Vocational Skills and empowering women. We help set up virtual stalls for Daan Utsav, also called the Joy of Giving Week.
- Setting up shelter, daycare centers, medicines and other consumables for the elderly/senior citizens.
- Ensuring environmental sustainability by working with wildlife sanctuaries and helping clean rivers.
- Eradicating hunger and malnutrition. We sponsored a food and meal program for a year for all the Kids of the Association of Mentally Challenged.
How can others get involved in GoodWorks?
They say charity begins at home. At Nasdaq, we are lucky since we have so many opportunities to get involved at a global and local level in Bangalore. We have been organizing various volunteering activities, such as:
- Spend a day with elders
- Mingle time with special kids
- Daan Utsav-Joy of giving
- Village walks
- Schoolbag distribution various rural schools
- Old newspaper collection
Even during the pandemic, we were able to plan and organize various virtual volunteering activities to keep our GoodWorks going, such as audiobook recording for the visually impaired, blogging, sign language workshop and virtual inauguration of 3 Ro plants.
What are your goals for GoodWorks?
To expand GoodWorks’ goals to support other social and economic sections of the society that, because of their disabilities, communities they come from, or gender they identify with, are not getting the required support to build a good livelihood.
The core areas of focus are education for children, upskilling and empowering women, building basic infrastructure in villages, contributing to wildlife conservation, helping the differently-abled support groups and supporting nursing homes.
What is your advice for people or companies trying to engage in volunteer opportunities, especially in a virtual environment?
Volunteering connects us from all walks of life and backgrounds. In today’s virtual world, we are able to break down geographical and time zone barriers and contribute to support our global goals. My advice is to do what you can, individually and collectively. Everyone has the power to make a difference.
The sheer joy and satisfaction that come from doing something good and bringing that smile to someone’s face are priceless.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
We give back by exercising our corporate expertise and investing our time and talent in communities where we live to make a meaningful difference.