Volunteering wasn’t always a huge part of Eliot Choi’s life. Before coming to Audible five years ago, he says, “It felt good to go volunteer once a year during the holidays, but I felt like I never had the time to go beyond that.” He wanted to do more through work, but wasn’t sure how.
From day one at Audible, though, things were different for this Senior Director of Technical Program Management. Volunteering regularly “was organic,” from company-wide email invites to suggestions from colleagues to attend volunteering planning sessions. “There were so many opportunities and I got involved in as many as I could.” This includes events with the Audible Impact Group Women in Tech as well as projects to enhance learning environments in the Newark community. Working here, says Eliot, “sparked that side of me,” the side passionate about incorporating our Activate Caring People Principle into his day-to-day life.
Feeling inspired, Eliot wanted to move from participating in volunteer opportunities to leading them. He was among the first Audible employees to propose a team-wide event in place of a more traditional team holiday gathering, and he has taken the lead on our summertime Girls Who Code initiative, which brings dozens of high school girls interested in programming careers to Audible’s Newark offices.
Eliot says he’s seen employees at all levels enjoy the experience and the chance to bond with teammates. It's also presented a growth opportunity for employees to develop the project management and cross-functional and leadership skills needed to lead one of these volunteer activities. For those hesitant to step away from their work, Eliot suggests treating it as part of daily, weekly or monthly activities, which is what he does himself. “As a leadership team, we have to make sure employees have a seamless opportunity to get involved." For him, that means attending an event side-by-side with his direct reports or making it known he’s open to new ideas for events or initiatives that help further Audible’s commitment to our local communities.
“It’s gratifying to help create opportunities for others and to know I share that common interest with the people I work with every day,” he says. “I say it all the time, but it’s why I really love working here. Audible fosters and encourages contributing meaning beyond my day-to-day work. It’s in our company’s DNA.”