Eswari Sivaraj, Senior Data Engineer, has been in the IT industry for more than 20 years. For more than half those years, she has been with Octo, growing her career and skills not just through the work she does for Octo’s Federal Government customer OSHA, but through her Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee involvement and volunteerism. We sat down with Eswari to discuss how volunteering and giving back have contributed to her personal and professional growth, as well as her sense of working toward the greater good of the community.
Eswari, we appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today about your volunteerism. Can you start by giving us an overview? In what capacity do you volunteer, and for what organizations?
I try to volunteer for many opportunities provided by CSR, like packing backpacks for children to go back to school, taking part in the Dulles Plane Pull for Special Olympics, contributing to Octo’s STEAM Expo, and other activities. On a regular basis, I also volunteer as a board member for the non-profit school Valluvan Tamil Academy. This school teaches over 600 students Tamil, one of the regional languages of India. The classes are conducted during morning and afternoon sessions on Saturdays every week. As a board member, I get involved with planning operations, helping the school to run smoothly, serving as a parent representative, working with parents to resolve any issues, identifying Room Parents, and coordinating the efforts for all classes. It is a big commitment, but I have enjoyed it.
What led you to volunteer/serve in the ways you do now?
I have always believed in giving back to society. At the Tamil Academy, I started as a Room Parent for my daughter’s class. Then for about five years, I became involved in organizing various cultural activities. Then I became one of the board members.
To be honest, I surprised myself at becoming a member of the board and handling the school’s activities. I wasn’t expecting to do that. But it opened up a larger door for my people/project management skills. I have grown personally and professionally over the years through such participation. And the happiness I get from all these hours spent really adds meaning to my life.
What inspires you to keep volunteering even when the going gets tough?
I know how supportive Octo is when it comes to giving back to the community. It really motivates me to keep going. It’s the people from Octo’s CSR Committee who are my great inspiration. They really helped me grow.
What advice or insight would you provide to anyone at Octo interested in volunteer work?
Octo provides so many opportunities to volunteer and give back – there is something for everyone. I have personally asked my team members to participate in such initiatives, knowing we can pick and choose the activities we like and can get involved in whatever way makes the most sense for us. Anything you do makes a difference. I feel any small action towards helping others cannot be discounted. So keep going, volunteer, and help people in need.
Anything else you would like to add?
I really appreciate the opportunity to join hands with my CSR team to get involved in all their activities. I am looking forward to many more such opportunities.
About Octo’s CSR Program
Octo’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program exists to serve vulnerable communities and advance food security, technology education, and health outcomes. Through meaningful engagement, Octo employees align their passion to purposeful opportunities that create community solutions. Whether it’s providing technology training to children and young adults, volunteering to support transitioning service members, serving meals to the hungry, or something else, we operate with a service-first mentality.