Good Deeds Done Together: Inside Bluestone’s Team Volunteer Day with Habitat for Humanity
At Bluestone, we strive to be a force for good in our community and environment. So it was an easy decision for us to partner with Habitat for Humanity, a global charity dedicated to helping people into their own home. Every year, our employees get a paid volunteer day when they might help build local homes, support bushfire recovery efforts, or step in to lend a hand where it’s needed.
Recently our Sydney team headed out for the day to refurbish a home that will provide temporary accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence and homelessness. Here, our team is sharing what it was like to be a part of this rewarding opportunity.
Campbell Smyth, CEO
I am more excited about what Bluestone is doing now than I have been over the 10 years I have been with the business. A testament to this was spending the day assisting Habitat for Humanity in renovating a house for Bonnie, a charity that supports women who are victims of domestic abuse. Specifically, the team was involved in the prep and paint of a house that would provide a safe place for women to live while they get back on their feet.
There were two things I most enjoyed about the day. The first was the opportunity to help make a genuine difference – just being in the house and imagining the difference it will make for a future resident’s life made me smile. The second was having the opportunity to do this with the Bluestone team, all of whom made their own decision to do something for someone they will never know. It makes me very proud of our people. Social responsibility is incumbent on all of us as individuals, so I see Bluestone as enhancing the opportunity for all our people to have an impact.
In a world with so much ‘take’, it is great to find ways to give a little back.
Karina Egan, Service Delivery Manager
It is the first time I have been part of an initiative like this, and I cannot speak highly enough of the experience. It felt so good to be giving back. I loved that I was contributing to making these women’s and their families’ lives a little better. When they first walk into their new home, I hope they feel that this marks a fresh, new start for them in a safe, clean, cosy home.
It means a lot to me to work for an organisation that invests time and resources into initiatives like this – where we are not only offered the opportunity to help out other people, but also actively encouraged and supported to do so. I think everyone wants a sense of purpose when they come to work every day, and sometimes it can be hard to join the dots between what we do and how it benefits the wider community. CSR initiatives really demonstrate how we are making a difference.
Hanna Schenkel – Manager – Brand and Creative Services
It was brilliant to get out of the office to do something I knew would directly benefit people when they really need support. We got to hear a little bit about how the accommodation will be used, and how much even small gestures of kindness can be life-changing to women when they are fleeing a situation where they feel devalued and hopeless.
It was also great to work side by side with my teammates: everyone was in high spirits and ready to jump in and support each other, so there was a real sense of community and shared success throughout the day. I covered a few different tasks, including gyprocking and sanding walls, undercoating doors and painting ceilings.
Bluestone has always encouraged employees to pursue causes we are passionate about, and has often put their money where their mouth is with donation drives, partnerships and awareness campaigns for various causes and partner charities. But working with my team on such a tangible, physical project was especially meaningful for me. It was particularly great to see our senior leadership roll up their sleeves and get involved. Having our CEO Cam and CTO Jay along for the ride, as well as our Group Director of HR Lynn, shows that Bluestone’s commitment to supporting our community starts at the very top.
Claire Taylor – Senior Human Resources Business Partner
It felt humbling to be giving back in our small way, and to show someone that a group of strangers genuinely care about them. That one little thing might give them the confidence and a safe space to take on all the challenges that come with rising up out of domestic violence and homelessness.
I loved working alongside peers and leaders that I might not ordinarily work with in my day to day. It was also pretty amazing to see the difference that one day and one committed team made to the house. We did everything from giving the place a good tidy, to sanding the walls and peeling off five layers of paint, to finally getting to paint in the afternoon.
I love talking about our CSR initiatives to prospective candidates – this is an increasingly important reason why talented people choose to work for Bluestone. I even talk about our charity initiatives when I’m at a weekend barbeque with strangers, or out with friends. I know we are making a difference, and that really fuels my passion for working at Bluestone.
Sophie Spanos – Marketing Manager – Acquisition
Stepping out of the day-to-day office life and doing some manual, physical work was really enjoyable – I mostly sanded, cleaned and prepared walls, as well as painted skirting boards. It was great to have the feeling of accomplishment in knowing that women and children in need will step into a lovely, renovated house that will hopefully feel like a home.
CSR is really important to me. With everyday life being so busy, it can be hard to find time for volunteering. So when your company organises volunteering days like this, it makes giving back easier. It also makes me proud to work for a company that cares about the wider community.
Lynn Goodyer – Group HR Director
It was great to understand the impact of the work we did as a team to support women and their families in a situation where they need a home to escape domestic violence. I am grateful to work for Bluestone, which is genuinely committed to supporting our community and provides the opportunity for our team to make a difference.
Sirjeel Aman – Senior Financial Accountant
My day started with sand cleaning the walls and ceiling in the kitchen, followed by sweeping the floors. After a well-deserved break, I painted the ceilings and the borders before sweeping the floor.
I worked alongside nine colleagues, and I was amazed to see how much was accomplished by the end of the day. I enjoyed sharing with them the enthusiasm in contributing in the small way that we could do for the community.
I feel privileged to be working for Bluestone. I come to my desk knowing that Bluestone cares about its social responsibility, and it feels great to be part of a team that actively works to contribute to the community.
Shradha Jadhav – Risk and Compliance Officer
The feeling of giving back to the community (however cliché it may sound) was immensely satisfying. As a woman, I do feel for the cause on a personal level and was happy playing a role to make a difference. As a team, I think we all were satisfied at the end of the day, which would have hopefully left good energy in the house!
In my 20 years of work experience, I have been fortunate enough to work with companies that look beyond the balance sheet and profit and loss accounts. I am blessed to have worked for such organisations, and Bluestone is no exception. I absolutely love the culture of extending a helping hand to those who need it most.
Jason Barry – Chief Technology Officer
What I found most fulfilling from the experience was the sense of purpose – we contributed to creating a home for a family, and that was very rewarding. We certainly had fun along the way, and it was great to see people just doing whatever was needed to get the job done.
I also enjoyed picking up some tips and tricks that I was able to use at home. I’m not known for my DIY skills, so it was great to be part of something where even someone like me can make a difference!
It’s very important to me to work for a company whose values are aligned with my own. With a young family and a busy work/life schedule, it can be really difficult to carve out time to do something more for the community. So being able to do this as part of my ‘day job’ really means a lot. I feel proud to be able to point to the work that we did, the team we did it with and the outcome we contributed to.
A big thank you to Habitat for Humanity and Bonnie for teaching us all DIY renovation skills and giving us the chance to make a difference. You can find out more about Bluestone’s commitment to the community here.