Driven by Giving Back to My Community
By Antwaun Cook, Area Business Manager, Rare Disease
My journey into the pharmaceutical industry, and eventually Sanofi, was based solely on my ties to a special community that I am a very thankful member of, the National Sales Network. Without the NSN community, its focus on diverse talent and giving back, and the many networking opportunities it provides, I may have never made it into the industry. Fast forward to today and I currently serve as President of the Charlotte Chapter of the National Sales Network. I wanted to help others who look like me, who have experienced the same challenges, on their path to the many opportunities that are out there.
Community is not only the people, places, and experiences that we have in common. It is also the gaps between and within those commonalities. Everyone is not the same, but we are often working towards the same goals and have the same needs. And that is what makes a community both complex and beautiful at the same time. Personally, this keeps me accountable to see the humanity in everyone, and to take responsibility to make my little part of the world a better place -- for me and those around me through service, or volunteering.
It was in college that I knew I wanted to give back, and joining like-minded individuals as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. really sealed it for me. To this day, I am still a proud and active member of my local alumni chapter in Charlotte, NC, where I serve on multiple committees and lead the Social Action Committee as Chairman. That was more than 20 years ago. My devotion to volunteering and service has only grown stronger since college and over the years I’ve served in many communities, including my own – leading a team of fifteen volunteers at my church who connect and welcome new guests and pray for those in need, getting individuals registered to vote, feeding the homeless, and most recently at Sanofi, as the newest Co-Lead of the BOLD ERG group catering to the overall health of our members.
Along the way, I’ve also been able to show my children some great experiences in giving back. This year, on MLK Day, with an organization called For the Struggle, may have been the most meaningful and was a true testament to rolling up our sleeves and getting dirty for the cause. I had researched opportunities to give back locally and ran across a news report talking about the amazing work being done. We cleaned the outside of the homes of seniors by raking, blowing, sweeping, and cleaning their windows. When we finished, we were also able to take plates of food to the seniors. It was so amazing to help those in need, and we will do it again in the future. I was proud to have them there with me.
Volunteering your time to support a cause you are passionate about is something you will never regret. It will enrich your life, familiarize you with your community, and connect you to people and ideas that will positively impact your perspective for the rest of your life. Helping your community is an opportunity for you to grow as a person, to better understand how you fit into the world around you. Of course, it’s also important for your community! Without volunteers, many of the services and events we enjoy in our communities would not be so readily available.
There are so many important causes out there that always need volunteers to support the work they’re doing. Whatever you’re passionate about, you can find a valuable way to donate your time. Even if you only donate a few hours of time each month, you will be making a huge difference in the lives of others.
For me, I’m thankful and inspired by the work Sanofi is doing to bring in diverse talent. There is a lot of great talent out there, who may not have been able to land their dream job only because they don’t fit the historical description of the job. I’m grateful for the leadership opportunities that groups like the NSN and Sanofi’s BOLD ERG have given me, and what I’m now able to give back to help others like me. I’ll continue to leverage my experience in my communities, my network, and my love for helping others along their journey – both in my personal life and professional life at Sanofi.