It's been a crazy week. Yesterday it got a little crazier.
I was invited to speak at Google for their charity initiative, Google G Give Week. They run it in 48 countries and yesterday marked the first time they've done it here in Australia. Basically it's a whole week of giving to charities. Staff donate whatever they like and the company matches it 3:1. Amazing. Posters everywhere signalled "Show me the money". Love it.
TBH I didn't even know that Google had offices here in Sydney which is weird because they're not a company to do things tucked away and unnoticed. I was really excited to go! Everything about the free food, hidden away hiding holes, and kooky decorations? Totally legit. I had 3 coffees that day just because. After signing-in amongst a sea of young, keen, and subtly nervous first-day Googlers I was given a tour around by our philanthropic superstar, Mez. She was instrumental in pulling everything together along with her team and the world's friendliest executive, Kevin. Mez has been a passionate supporter of the Black Dog Institute for a long time so yesterday she officially brought us into the Google fold.
I was representing the Institute and talking about all the research, translational model, community support, and education programs that Black Dog does... pretty much everything that I knew enough about but still felt slightly out of my depth! Luckily our fundraising manager superstar Fleur had provided me with about 20 pages of bullet points for me to read off. Of course I suck at reading so I did my best to remember the details then just winged it. Pretty sure it was mostly complete. The bulk of my preso though was my personal story which I'm familiar enough with by now so that worked out pretty well. Probs mostly complete there too. Either way the staff responded really well to it and I think the messages came across. It seems that Google are very much geared toward hiring nice and warm people there. We all had a bit of a teary Monday morning! Happy tears too by the end.
Thankfully we had the support of a small and dedicated team of Black Dog Institute volunteers and staff to help have some meaningful (and more carefully prepared than mine) conversations in the restaurants with staff afterwards.
I'm not sure how much was raised just yet. We'll find out at the end of the week. Google put a lot of pride into financially assisting charities but I think equally important was the sense I picked up of engagement amongst the staff. They really got on board with idea of how important it is to discuss mental illness and do something about it.
Thanks Google! Let's do more stuff together soon.