What Will You Remember 2020 For?

By Sanjiv Razdan, President Americas & India at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

History will bear witness to many intense personal stories of friends, family and colleagues who all went through very different personal journeys, some much more challenging than others. My reflection on this past year is defined by something rather different. When I woke up one morning in April 2020, I realized the time had come to do something about the idea of serving others through mentoring. I had received a lot of benefit from great mentors earlier in my career and I always wanted to find a way of paying it forward. With the pandemic turning our world upside down, I had time on my hands and a deep desire to channel my energy and passion to serve others. Little did I know then the doors of learning, growth, and fulfillment it would open for me instead!

I reached out to my elder daughter Meha to help me edit my LinkedIn post regarding the idea of GLEAM and then put it out there in the universe with my fingers crossed. The rest is history. Good people, passionate people, talented and giving people came together, embellished the idea, did some heavy lifting and created GLEAM! Many long phone conversations followed, new relationships created, ideas shared, programs created, and much fun had along the way.

You dear friends of GLEAM are the greatest gift I have had this year and probably for quite a while. We consider all those that volunteer to serve with us as well as those that entrust us to serve then as part of our Network. This network of GLEAM has touched almost 400 people in very meaningful ways in the short span of nine months. As the network grows, so does our ambition to do more, impact more deeply and serve more of those who would benefit the most. In 2021, we have set out to achieve three big things:

1. More Impact through Technology — we want to serve more of the underserved community with mentorship. We have just signed up with a mentoring technology platform called eMentorConnect that will enable us to leverage artificial intelligence to make near perfect pairing of Mentors with Mentees as well as open up our ability to scale our mentoring program to as large as we want it to be!

2. More Programs for Reach — we want to play our part in helping the hourly paid frontline workers in our industry to elevate their game and secure management roles. Currently almost half of this population is female and over half are people of color. Yet both these cohorts do not quite secure more senior roles in the industry in keeping with their fair share of the demographic makeup. We want to not just scale and evolve our Mentoring Platform but also develop and deliver a Career Advancement Program targeted at this audience to make a difference right at the base of the pyramid!

3. More Resources for Growth — to be the largest, most impactful leadership development organization in the world we need both human and financial capital. We need more talent to volunteer for us and we need donors, sponsors and grants from people and organizations that believe in our mission. Our 2021 goal is to raise $250,000 to be able to help significantly more of the underserved community across the US.

Follow our progress on LinkedIn, through our website www.gleamnetwork.net and reach out to us to support us via support@gleamnetwork.net. We would love to hear from you, critique, offers of help or any words of encouragement!