Over the summer, we hired two new superstars, Raquel Rubio as our Director for Listening and Learning, and Ambika Samarthya-Howard as our Head of Communications, based out of Colorado and New York respectively. Raquel and Ambika co-wrote this blog [Alan added the superstars bit] to share their initial thoughts about the organization, and how they feel their roles can contribute to impact.
What is it like to join an organization remotely, during a global pandemic and major economic crisis?
Like most things at Global Integrity, it’s intentional, iterative, and collaborative.
Our onboarding was warm and informative, with opportunities to meet everyone on the team and jump into the juicy parts of our work early on. “I enjoyed the space we are given here at Global Integrity to really take our onboarding as an opportunity to pause and reflect critically about the organization and how we can reinvent our processes and systems moving forward, tweaking them to reinforce our learning skills individually and as an organization,” Raquel added.
We often get asked what it’s like to join a new team remotely, or how it is to switch jobs during a pandemic. In many ways, COVID has pushed people to reconnect to their priorities. “For me, it’s been about being deeply involved with program work and using communications to directly create impact,” Ambika shared. “I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to join such an amazing team, in a moment when the job that we do as Global Integrity is more relevant and needed than ever,” Raquel added.
The decision to make these hires was informed by our strategy refresh process, and the increased emphasis on listening, learning and adapting that we identified as essential elements to support efforts to address corruption and improve the use of public resources. In making these hires, we are investing in our capacity to respond to the needs of partners around the world, to strengthen our cycles of innovation and learning, to communicate the evidence and insights generated through that work, and to use our resources effectively.
Raquel comes to us with both grassroots and traditional monitoring, evaluation and learning experience, and is looking forward to strengthening Global Integrity’s listening and learning practices, collaborating and learning with and from all our partners and the broader sector. Listening, adaptive learning, and creative thinking are key organizational skills to not only “survive” out there, but thrive, “Learning allows us to thrive because it raises our aspirational levels of what it is possible,” Raquel said.
Over the last 15 years of working, Global Integrity has grown and generated numerous insights through its projects and evidence through its research. Communication is key to getting these learnings to the people who are doing governance work on many different levels across the globe. With a background in multimedia and extensive experience working with international non-governmental organizations, Ambika has filmed and worked with communities and social change projects throughout Asia, Africa, and the U.S.. She is focused on bringing fresh voices and formats to Global Integrity’s work. “There are so many stories waiting to be told through our work, and I’m excited to bring our partners’ voices forward as we explore how to engage more deeply with communities and organizations not based in the US,” Ambika said.
It’s maybe a silver lining to the pandemic that Global Integrity has adapted to being a more distributed team and been able to hire team members remotely. We will keep you posted as our listening, learning and communications practices evolve, and look forward to increasingly rich conversations with partners old and new.