Sara Stevens Nerone of Rock Paper Scissors with Karen Strichartz from Hewlett Packard
If not for an innovative Hewlett Packard Enterprise program, it’s unlikely that Karen Strichartz and Sara Stevens Nerone would have ever crossed paths.
Karen is a Hewlett Packard employee in Pontiac, Michigan, where she works as an Enterprise Services program manager. Sara lives in Rhode Island and works for the U.S. National Parks Service. But thanks to Hewlett Packard Enterprise Advising, Karen and Sara have teamed up to make a significant impact on the lives of children in Vietnam.
As a mother of two adopted children from Vietnam, Sara wanted to find a way to give back to her daughters’ birth country. In 2012 she founded the Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund to provide Vietnamese children with art- and music-enrichment opportunities, as well as bicycles so they could more easily travel long distances to school.
Karen was also looking for a way to give back—to take what she’d learned at Hewlett Packard and share it with people and organizations working hard to make a difference. “There is so much talent and expertise across Hewlett Packard, and I think all of us can make a difference in some small way,” says Karen. “It’s just a great way to feel like you’re doing something to help people.”
Through the program, Karen and Sara were matched in an advising relationship, and Karen was able to use her program-management expertise to help the fledgling nonprofit. She helped Sara scope out a volunteer recruitment plan and helped her identify and prioritize the organization’s most critical needs for continued growth.
Sara says that as a small nonprofit, her organization never would have been able to afford the kind of professional support that she received from Karen. And because Sara doesn’t have a background in nonprofit management, Karen’s program-management support was particularly helpful. “I’ve learned a lot from this whole experience so far,” Sara says. “It’s such a great relationship.”
With Karen’s advising support, the Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund has continued to grow. Its music and art program has benefitted more than 400 children, and they have given more than 200 bicycles to children in Vietnam’s Khanh Hoa Province.
Karen says she benefitted from the experience as well. “The great thing about advising is that you get to help a great cause in a small way,” she says. “It’s a learning experience for both the entrepreneur and the advisor.”