Mars Ambassador Program Travels to El Salvador
At Mars Drinks, our commitment to our Five Principles –quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency and freedom – are a vital part of our DNA. We live and operate by our founding Principles in all that we do. Globally, our Five Principles unite us as a company, define our approach to business, guide our relationship with communities and drive our unending and uncompromising commitment to achieving our vision.
Established in 2008, the Mars Ambassador Program (MAP) is a global initiative that allows Mars Drinks associates, across all segments and regions of the world, to put our Principles into action while making a positive impact on people and the planet. Through the program, associates team-up with MAP partner nonprofit organizations in key countries around the world and commit their passion and professional or technical expertise to supporting a partner organization’s mission.
This year, MAP representatives will travel to El Salvador with the World Coffee Research (WCR) organization. Their charge is to:
• Deepen their understanding of the economic impact of the coffee business around the world with suppliers;
• Forge a stronger connection with the El Salvador community;
• Learn what sustainability means in the coffee business; and
• See up close the hard work that goes into producing a bag of coffee beans while getting to know local coffee farmers and their families.
Q: What does being a Mars Ambassador mean to you?
A: It means I get to participate in an opportunity of a lifetime. I feel so lucky to be a part of the MAP legacy! It also brings a great sense of responsibility to not only share our deeper connection to coffee and the coffee community to as many associates, business partners and friends as possible when I get back, but also how to keep this living after my experience.
A: It’s hard to put into words actually, but I can’t think of a greater privilege than being selected to represent the Mars family. Being a part of this great company for the last 23 years, I understand what the Mars family stands for (Our Five Principles) and the commitment the family has made to the communities we live and work in around the world. When I think of an ambassador I think of someone that leadership appoints and sends out to represent his/her interests. Those roles are not chosen lightly, and to think that I have the honor to represent the Mars family brings me a great sense of pride and satisfaction.
Q: What inspired you to apply to the MAP trip this year?
A: MAP has always intrigued me and yet was a bit out of my comfort zone. However, all that changed when my colleague came back from her MAP experience in Kenya last year. She was inspirational in sharing how she was able to solve a business problem and make an immediate impact on a tea farm as well as establish deep personal connections with people in another part of the world. I knew I wanted to be a part of this team.
A: When I learned about the WCR opportunity in El Salvador it seemed like a great opportunity not only to learn more about our supply chain, but also an opportunity to give back with other Mars associates. I am certain this will be an experience of a lifetime.
Q: What interests you most about the trip and World Coffee Research that you hope to further explore?
A: I think being at Origin will give me an even greater understanding of what it takes to put a great tasting cup of coffee in someone’s hand—something that I think most people around the world take for granted every day. I also hope to explore and understand the impact that coffee rust has on our precious commodity and what we can do to partner together with WCR to look for solutions.
A: I’m looking forward to understanding the economic impact of coffee rust in El Salvador. I’m eager to learn how the WCR organization is developing and reproducing coffee varietals to fight this epidemic “creating sustainable livelihoods for families – helping entire communities become self-sufficient."
Q: What do you hope this experience will teach you?
A: I know it will be a very humbling experience that will teach me to think differently about how I can support after the trip.
A: I think from start to finish I will learn something new each day, but most importantly I hope that it gives me the opportunity to give back both while I am there on location and also when I return home and share my experience with my fellow associates.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and our hashtag, #MarsAmbassadors to receive the latest updates from the MAP trip in El Salvador. Stay tuned for a post trip recap of the ambassador’s experience, coming December 2015. To learn more about how Mars, Incorporated is putting our Principles inaction, visit here.
About the 2015 Mars Ambassadors
Joe Macrone is currently the Operations Shift manager at Mars Drinks. What he loves most about his role, aside from working for a great company like Mars Drinks, are the great people and the teamwork. The supply department is known for always getting the job done and creating great tasting moments at work one drink at a time.
Bridget Schlick is a National Account Manager at Mars Drinks. She enjoys the opportunity to connect people every day with the beverage that is the world connector – coffee. Her role is to bring quality drinks to offices across North America so that they too can have great moments of connection.