At Rulesware, one of our core values is community. While this word means many things to many people, for us, it means that as a company we are responsible for helping to improve our neighborhoods and our community of customers. It’s critical that this core value is more than just words—it’s a deep belief that we put into action whenever we can.
Many of our team members exemplify living these values, and we couldn’t be more proud of them. One example is Sidney Stewart, a Senior Analyst working as an LBA at Rulesware. When he’s not busy at work, he’s tirelessly working to improve the community.
We chatted with Sidney recently to find out what motivates and inspires him.
RW: Sidney, can you tell us what sorts of things you like to contribute to outside of work?
SS: For sure. While in Arizona, I volunteered at the Special Olympics and also served as a counselor for Camp Maska, which is a three-day camp for kids from the local Children’s Hospital with kidney/kidney related issues. I now teach the “Greenhouse” class to teenagers and young adults in the Chicago area. This class teaches them how to navigate many of the inevitable issues of transitioning into adulthood. It’s a ten-session seminar, which can be taught as a two day intensive or over the course of six weeks. Some of the topics are: Integrity, Be You!, Give Your Best, Education Over Entertainment, Control What You Allow to Affect Your Emotions, and more.
Also, in February of this year, I volunteered my time and money to teach leadership skills to 600 leaders from all over Tanzania, Africa; specifically teaching proper stewardship techniques. I have also done some inspirational speaking at a juvenile detention center in Detroit. My next volunteering activity will be to teach the Greenhouse course to teenagers in the juvenile detention center here in Chicago as soon as my schedule frees up a bit in the fall.
RW: It sounds like you spend a very large portion of your free time volunteering. Why is this such a value for you?
SS: I love volunteering. I have a heart for giving back. I don’t mean to boast or be prideful, I just want to make giving back seem cool and desirable so that everyone does it. I personally believe that the world would be a better place if those of us who live in excess (money, knowledge, time, wisdom) would give back to those who live in scarcity.
RW: What impact does giving back to the community have on the one who is doing the giving back, in your view?
SS: It changes the way you view the world. It’s always a new experience. Every endeavor teaches me something new. When I left Tanzania, I was mentally shaken by what I had just experienced. I saw the lack of resources (one of the poorest countries in the world) while simultaneously seeing an abundance of joy and hope. It caused me to look at my current situation and have an even greater sense of gratefulness. In the same vein, when I left Camp Maska I learned something new about myself and had a greater appreciation for what the kids and parents of these kids must go through. Volunteering helps to give you a greater appreciation for what you currently have, and it gives you a sense of belonging and purpose in this world.
RW: At Rulesware, we recently launched a Community Giving program, which involves sponsoring service projects in the US, El Salvador and Mexico, donation matching and paid Volunteer Time Off for leaders of Rulesware. What are your thoughts on it?
SS: I am a huge fan of this program. The VTO and the donation match are my favorite elements. As soon as I heard about it during the town hall, I submitted an anonymous question to see how I could get involved. My Rulesware coach and I had a good laugh about it during our coaching session because she said “I knew that had to be you!” Creating a program like this speaks volumes and is a testament to what Rulesware truly stands for and it makes me proud to be an employee of this company.
I would encourage any and everyone to donate your time, money and/or energy to a cause. The world needs more people to give back. It can be a simple as giving blood, helping mentor a couple of kids in your neighborhood or visiting the elderly once a month. Either way, find some time to lift others up as you climb!
RW: Thanks Sidney, you’re an inspiration and we’re glad to call you our colleague.