they also align with the organization’s
mission and values.
“Programs like Joy Ambassadors
aren’t one-size-fits-all,” she says.
“Companies looking to implement
something similar need to ensure they
build a program that’s within the context
of the business strategy and authentic to
brand identity. Additionally, clear, focused
program goals are critical for success.”
Learning the Cocoa Process
Alice Bertholin Rice, talent and
learning global service lead;at Mondele;z,
participated in the Joy Ambassadors
program in 2016. One of the many
things she says she enjoyed about
the program was learning about the
chocolate Mondele;z produces.
“Other teams are closer to our
products through branding or supply-chain
management and sourcing,” she says. “In
HR, we’re further removed, so this was
a great way for me to feel closer to our
products and the ingredients we use.”
Before embarking on the trip,
Bertholin Rice and the other
ambassadors participated in phone calls,
meetings and debriefings about what
to expect in Ghana. Employees were
also instructed about the community’s
needs, such as financial-literacy training
or community-development committees,
which were determined by Cocoa Life
who served as “buddies” and translators
for the Joy Ambassadors.
“The program is so multi-layered—
part of the experience was just
being there,” says Bertholin Rice.
“Participating in the program gave
us an end-to-end perspective. We
visited the cocoa farms and a cocoa-
processing plant where I learned all
that it takes to produce chocolate.
I think this helped us feel more
connected to the company.”
Joy Ambassadors deliver supplies
to schools and speak with elders in
the community to learn about the
Ghanaian culture, but the bulk of the
two weeks is spent either working on
the farms or teaching the community
and NGO partners in skills-building
and train-the-trainer workshops.
When it came to teaching
the Ghanaian communities, the
ambassadors did encounter some
challenges. Beyond the language
barrier, Bertholin Rice says, the
ambassadors also had to adjust
to teaching in non-traditional
environments (churches, community
centers or outside in the open) and
creating effective lessons targeting
multiple generations of farmers.
“We trained people with different
levels of literacy and language skills
and had to be creative, as we did not
have modern technology available,”
she says. “We relied on drawings [in
place of PowerPoint slides] and we had
our ‘Cocoa Life buddies’ translate key
messages. The biggest question we
asked [ourselves] was, ‘How do we make
our lessons simple but highly impactful?’ ”
Each Joy Ambassador was assigned
to a team tasked with presenting on
specific business topics; Bertholin
Rice’s were problem solving and action
planning, for which the team utilized
Lean Six Sigma tools.
Bertholin Rice says she has been
able to apply her Joy Ambassadors
experience to her work.
A “sweet spot” of programs like Joy
Ambassadors, says France, is when
employees become ambassadors of the
“They’re inspired, and business
benefits from the inspiration,” she says.
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“We learned many leadership
coaching, mentoring, listening,
cross-cultural understanding, dealing
with ambiguity, flexibility, resilience,
adaptability. The list seems endless,” she
says. “We learned that completing any
task is about the things you can do versus
what you can’t, [or] what you don’t have.”
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S: 7. 5”
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