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Learning and growing through NetApp Serves

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Michelle Mann
Michelle Mann

“The solution to each problem that confronts us begins with an individual who says, ‘I can help.’”
—Points of Light

This sentiment is core to NetApp. And it’s proven by how our employees take action as volunteers throughout the year by living our key corporate value: to care for each other and our communities. This Global Volunteer Month, we celebrate and recognize our employees (almost 50% of our entire workforce) who participated last year in NetApp® Serves, our volunteer and donation program. Closing the digital divide, empowering women, advancing data education, and responding to human services needs and disaster relief are just some of the social issues and challenges that our employees rallied behind. They rolled up their sleeves as advisors to our nongovernmental organization (NGO) partners, participated in hands-on projects, and brought their skills to the table through in-person and virtual projects across the globe. 

Applying and building skills while forging connections through volunteering

Our work with partner Team4Tech has been a powerful opportunity for employees to improve their existing leadership skills and to develop new skills that broadly apply to their work. And all while they make new connections across the company.

Since we began offering the Skills4Good program in 2020, 65 employees have volunteered over 3,250 hours to support five projects with four nonprofit organization partners. Of those employees, 95% reported growth in their leadership skills, and 100% reported that the experience had expanded their network within the company and made them feel more connected to their colleagues. The following are just a few examples of volunteer opportunities in the program.


Jamie Spelling, a NetApp employee in Texas, summed up the volunteer experience with Worldreader, an organization that strives to improve children’s reading comprehension and socio-emotional and digital literacy skills globally. “I was able to see a world outside of my own, both regarding Worldreader and NetApp as a whole,” said Jamie. “I hadn't worked across time zones, cultures, or positions previously. I gained a new network of people and skills relating to how I think about diversity and inclusion. [The experience] also provided us with an outlet to be passionate in other areas of our lives, making us more productive in our everyday work.”

Flying Kites

Currently, 18 NetApp employees are using their skills to support Flying Kites, an organization working in rural Kenya with resource-poor primary schools to improve student outcomes and to build a more equitable world. They’re creating a Mobile Tech Resource Library, a platform for self-directed learning and access to online resources. They’re also digitizing the “Girls United” curriculum, geared toward primary and secondary school girls in East Africa. These NetApp employees represent 12 different offices around the world, from the United States to Ireland to Vietnam to Australia, and a wide variety of teams. Some of the volunteers have tenure with NetApp of just one year, while others have been with the company for more than 22 years. What brings them together is the motivation to give back and to serve others while learning about themselves and further developing their own skills.

Data Explorers

As part of our company’s ongoing commitment to advance data education starting at a young age, our employees volunteer with our signature program, Data Explorers. Volunteers’ efforts range from coaching students during their social-issue data projects to sharing their own career journey and how data is part of their everyday work. In every aspect, our people seek to inspire and to empower students to see how data can be a force for good.

Ready to help?

We all have something to give. Check out VolunteerMatch - Find Volunteer Opportunities and discover ways to match your skills and interests.

Michelle Mann

Michelle is an established social impact leader with more than 20 years of experience designing and implementing CSR and social impact programs for international companies. Her expertise is grounded in signature program development, skills-based volunteerism, cross-sector partnership-building, and integrated brand communications delivering impact for business and society.

Michelle’s deep knowledge and passion for youth development, STEM education, and social action can be seen through the experiences of youth from across the globe via programs she created including NetApp Data Explorers.

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