Friday Feb 26, 2016

"Autism@Work Program"


SVP, HR Business Partner Lead Business Network Group & Global Head of HR Concur

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Laura Cosacchi started the meeting with the inspirational thought and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Megan Sweeters handled the introduction of visiting Rotarians and guests.

Larry May introduced the Student of the Month, Franklin Sheng from Bellevue Christian High School.  Franklin was accompanied by relatives and school staff.  Franklin moved to Bellevue from Beijing in 2013 with a limited command of English.  His first impression was ‘that sucked”. He has since excelled both academically and as an athlete.   His sports were football and track.  He was also Chess champion and in the drama club.  His favorite Universities are Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Cal Poly.

John Martinka and Wendi Fischer made a pitch for the annual fundraiser “All in for Autism” otherwise known as “the race”.  The race at this time is for volunteers.  There was a strong pitch for volunteers and as always, volunteering early prevents a lot of angst for the organizers.  The theme of Monkeys was also announced.  Wendi said the theme was based on the Chinese New Year.  It was good to know that the monkey theme and pitch for volunteers was not mutually related.  Oh! And just a note, they are looking for volunteers.

Paul Cunnington got center stage for the Vocational Minute.  Paul’s classification is Digital Executive and Cash Flow Engineer.   He blends technology expertise with business acumen that spans sales, marketing, and engineering.   Paul has a blog and publishes online.  He also looks for speaking engagements to talk on economic topics.

Susan Beals introduced Devon Hay and Sora Moon, Seattle Universities’ Rotaract’s president and incoming president.  They were here to pitch Rotary’s Young Professional Campaign.  It started with a $1 mil anonymous grant and is for people under 40.  They would like to have 10 participants from our district to attend the Rotary International Conference in Seoul.  They need to raise a minimum of $6,000 and would like to raise $15,000.  Donations would be welcome.  Contact Susan Beals.

SAA Ann Norman raised a few bucks.  Leonard Lutes was fined for a cell phone interruption and Jim Gordon volunteered money in honor of a new grandson.  Jim rounded up the birth weight of 6 lbs. 4 oz. to an even 10.  The exaggeration was considered reasonable for a financial planner.  Jim announced he got to watch his grandson being circumcised.  Maybe a little over sharing.

John Martinka introduced the program.  Baerbel Ostertag, head of human resources for SAP Business Network Group and Concur regarding Autism at Work Program.  SAP, a software company with 76000 employees worldwide wants to get 1% of its work force made up of employees of the autism spectrum.  They consider this a good business decision as well as a social responsibility.  People with autism are unique.  Not one size fits all.  They have been hired in many different positions including HR and software development.  They have an intense desire to work and good attention to detail and perseverance.

There is a lot of support to parents of autistic children.  But what happens when they grow up?  Many are unemployed or under employed.  Autism at Work wants to make sure they are properly employed.  This requires communications training for the other employees.  Communications have to be direct as they are not good with innuendos.  With proper employee communication training and placed in the right spot, they tend to blossom.  Between the effort and the results, morale goes up for the entire company.

1,000 pounds of fresh produce to Rotary First Harvest courtesy of The Commerce Bank of Washington and our member, Alan Forney.

About the Speaker

As the head of human resources for SAP Business Network Group (BNG) and Concur, Baerbel is a member of the BNG and Concur executive leadership teams as well as the Global HR leadership team. She is directly responsible for the integrated HR strategy for SAP’s Business Network Group as well as global HR strategic initiatives.
Baerbel joined SAP in 2006 and has held a variety of senior HR roles supporting a number of global organizations. Most recently, Baerbel was the Head of HR for SAP Canada. Previously she served as the strategic advisor to the chief HR officer of SAP and the senior HR leadership team on all “people agenda” and HR-related topics.
Prior to joining SAP, Baerbel held various senior HR positions in technology, fast-moving consumer goods, and recruiting in Germany and Australia, including Kellogg’s Deutschland GmbH, IT@Manpower, ID Media Inc., and Rothmans of Pall Mall.