Connecting Caring And Service To Leadership

Today’s guest blog is by Sergio Leon, human resources manager for Lilly operations in Peru, Chile, and Ecuador. That’s his day job. He’s also an ambassador and advocate for Connecting Hearts Abroad—Lilly’s global service program that sends teams of employees to communities in need across the world, including Peru. 

Since 2012, I have served as the Lilly host for half a dozen teams of Connecting Hearts Abroad ambassadors to Peru. We talk about our country, culture, the Peruvian health system, and the opportunities and challenges facing our industry. They ask many questions, especially about the needs of people in impoverished communities.

In 2013, I experienced Connecting Hearts Abroad from a different perspective when I was selected to serve as an ambassador to Morocco, where I worked with young children. It was an amazing experience. I learned that often we can have a big impact by doing small things. 

When I returned from Morocco, I was given the opportunity to lead a “mini” Connecting Hearts Abroad experience for regional leaders as part of a broader training program. I wanted to try to replicate in three hours what our ambassadors do in two weeks. 

So I worked with Cross-Cultural Solutions, Lilly’s primary partner for Connecting Hearts Abroad, to implement the program at one of the same sites where our ambassadors serve in Lima, a home for the elderly. For three hours, Lilly leaders from across South America found many different ways to show the residents that we care about them—cutting their hair, shining shoes, singing with them, sharing hugs, and making friends.  

What we do is all about people, and the experience helped us see the work we do every day through a different lens. Later that evening at our program dinner, participants shared photos from the day and discussed how caring—a hallmark of our Lilly brand—is connected to leadership. It was a powerful conversation—and one that I hope will continue, not only in Peru but in Lilly affiliates across the world.

Learn more about the work of Lilly ambassadors in Peru in this mini-documentary