By Kim Allman, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Public Policy
Erin Gallegos is no stranger to social impact. She supported English education in a rural village in Thailand as a Peace Corps Volunteer and then led part of an anti-corruption education project supported by the United Nations Development Program. She joined AVG, which is now part of the Gen family of consumer Cyber Safety brands, in 2016 in an internal communications role and before she began her current role as Corporate Responsibility Manager at Gen, based in the Czech Republic, she led programs that focused on equity and inclusion, employee engagement, and philanthropy at the former Avast Foundation.
I recently spoke with Erin about social impact at Gen in the Czech Republic.
KA: I want to start by asking what drew you towards and has kept you working in corporate responsibility?
EG: Well, I’m interested in systems and communities. Our field is constantly evolving, which is also very compelling. Today, there’s a greater focus on how companies can both do well and do good, and that increases the potential to make a positive impact in partnership with the communities and NGOs tackling challenging societal problems day in and day out.
KA: How does social impact typically manifest for employees in the Czech Republic?
EG: While people have individual preferences and interests, our Czech employees are united in two things: they care about community impact and efficiency, and they rightfully challenge our team to make sure we’re working in ways that create meaningful impact.
People seem especially keen on volunteering. I’m always pleasantly surprised to learn that many of my colleagues volunteer their time outside of work or make recurring donations to nonprofits they care about. I’m focusing on connecting what resonates with them with what we offer as a company to make a bigger impact.
KA: Are there any social impact highlights from the Czech Republic sites you’d like to mention?
EG: Recently, a few of our employees participated in summer camps and summer IT schools for kids organized by our strategic partner, Czechitas. They acted as judges at student competitions and taught lectures, as well. I’m consistently impressed with how many of our employees work directly in the community to share their knowledge.
KA: I’m curious if there are unique perspectives you’ve gained or things you’ve learned by working in social impact in the Czech Republic specifically.
EG: I’m still learning about this sector overall and in the Czech Republic specifically. I have experienced two large-scale social upheavals while living here—COVID and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In both, what I observed in Czech society at large, as well as in the Gen community, was the immediate sense of solidarity. People see a need, and no one has to ask them to fill it. They just act.
KA: Finally, when you look back at your work in social impact, are there projects you’re especially proud of, or moments that still stick with you?
EG: I’m always proud of the work that centers on young people. We have numerous Cyber Safety education programs that help prepare youth for the challenges and opportunities of a fully connected future – partnerships with Discovery Education, World Association of Girl Guides and Girls Scouts, Save the Children India and more. I’m also proud of our work with Global Fund for Children and Moonshot Platform to support young people who are making change.
We’re excited to have Erin on the Gen Corporate Responsibility Team and welcome her as a new contributor to the Gen Impact Blog. Check back on the blog soon for her insights leading product donation and for the new targeted product donation pilot program she is running in partnership with TechSoup.