Posted by: Sarah | August 23, 2009

Corporate Meets Charity

IMG00049smallHaving only worked at SAP Norway for 2.5 months, I was quite surprised (but very glad) to be invited to join them on their summer outing.   Our guide for the afternoon/evening was Randi Skaug, the first Norwegian lady to climb Everest and complete the 7 Summits.   I didn’t understand a lot of what was going on but a couple of my colleagues were alongside to interpret.  The whole point of the day was to appreciate how fortunate we are and get motivated to achieve our dreams/goals. 

IMG00044smallWe first went to a place called Nydalen where we were divided into teams.  It was our mission to walk down the Akerselva  (a beautiful river that flows through Oslo) and to answer quiz questions on the way.  To help us along, each team was allocated a guide – someone who lived in the area that is recovering from troubled times (alcoholism, drug addiction, homelessness etc) and they would guide us down the river, help with the questions and eventually take us to Kirkens Bymisjon – a church supported organisation that provides meals for people in need.    It was our job to listen and learn about the experiences that our guide had gone through and integrate them into the team.

IMG00043smallThe walk itself was lovely – it took about 1.5 hours at sauntering pace.  The area has recently been through major development and whilst I was advised to stay well away at night (because of the drug scene), during the day it felt quite okay to be walking through.  We stopped for waffles half way down the river (see waffle post) and then at the final stop, we ate a curried soup with rice and bread – tasty! 
presentasjonsutviklingAfter the meal, Randi made a presentation about the various summits she had conquered and how she related that to everyday decisions and challenges people conquer (again, all in Norwegian so I didn’t catch it all).  The pictures were quite breathtaking (and scary) but she is clearly courageous, very fit and (I can’t help but think) slightly mad.  Especially at the end where we all had to start jigging around to pop music.   It was quite funny! 

From there it was to the pub where the beer and jägermeister (something new to me but I can only describe as tasting like cough medicine!) flowed freely and I saw true Norwegian hospitality at work.  It’s true what they say about Norwegians…they don’t drink more than other Europeans…they just drink it all at once!

The whole afternoon/evening was brilliant.    I really felt accepted into the team and  I also felt the day was extremely well organised.  What struck me the most about the day was when we all sat in the room listening to the challenges that Randi faced on her adventures.  It occurred to me that probably everyone in the room had challenges to deal with – some more extreme and bigger than others – but the messages around courage, determination and fighting spirit that came through Randi’s presentation must have touched a chord with everyone.

BSBRichard Branson’s latest book covers a lot about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and how, in his opinion, corporations need to take more responsibility with regards issues in society.  CSR shouldn’t just be a statement in the Annual Report but the action a company takes towards improving society for everyone.   Stepping into a world less comfortable than the one you know is a risk and probably not something you would choose to do.  This experience was really quite humbling and makes you question…what can I give back?


  1. Hey Sarah!

    Good summary on Randi Skaug and the Norwegian Everest summit success. I heard a similar motivational talk from the first woman who made it to the top of Everest. Very inspiring. It sometimes makes our issues look small, eh?

    Keep the posts coming! Always good to hear from you!

    Mary Eileen

  2. Hi Sarah! good to hear from you!
    In one team building excersice I have when working in HDS Argentina (people from HDS Argentina, Chile and Brazil) we went to a hotel in Patagonia and have the same type of presentation with an Argentinean that was part of a British expedition to the Everest. It was amazing! First we saw the pictures and listen the incredible story and when the lights were on, this guy was there standing in front of us. It was great.
    BTW, I’m reading Richard Branson’s book right now. I like it a lot. We should recommend this to several people though :)!

    Good luck! and I’ll try to follow your site every now and again.


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