For this installment of 5 Minutes With, NationSwell sat down with Monoswita Saha, Global Employee Engagement Leader for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Kyndryl, to discuss the launch of the new Kyndryl Foundation, why a young company decided to start a foundation so early in its journey, and the unique ways a career in cybersecurity can drive equity and progress.
Here’s what she had to say.
Anthony Smith, Editor at Large, NationSwell: Congratulations on the launch! What does this moment mean for Kyndryl as an organization?
Monoswita Saha, Global Employee Engagement Leader for CSR + Kyndryl Foundation Adviser, Kyndryl: The Kyndryl Foundation launch means a lot to us. Kyndryl is a new company — we’re barely two years old. It’s a pretty significant endeavor to launch a foundation within such a short period of operation. When we were weighing the decision to launch, it really came down to our commitment to power progress — a kind of progress that extends out to the communities where our employees live and work, allowing us to drive meaningful and systemic impact at scale.
The Kyndryl Foundation announcement comes on the heels of our recent Corporate Citizenship Report release and further expands our purpose-driven work to be at the heart of progress.
Smith, NationSwell: It’s uncommon for a company to launch a foundation so early in its journey. Where did you and your team turn for insights on what to do and what to avoid?
Saha, Kyndryl: We knew that this isn’t something a lot of companies do, and our research confirmed that. As we looked at other successful foundations, we didn’t find many similar reference points or success stories.
The foundation is an extension of Kyndryl’s commitment to improving the world around us. As a purpose-driven company, we made early commitments to operate at the heart of progress, where innovation, environmental stewardship and social impact converge. Even though we’re a young company on a growth journey, we’re also a company that’s really devoted to its people and communities. We want to create a legacy that drives business growth and accountability for long-term societal impact. With the foundation, we took a bold step in that direction.
Smith, NationSwell: What’s exciting to you about the grants you’re looking to make?
Saha, Kyndryl: What’s exciting for me is our focus. I think corporations have a responsibility to foster empowerment, especially economic empowerment. Technology and data have to be protected, and yet we see examples every day of data breaches and technological insecurities. Organizations that are unable to prepare for this growing challenge are especially vulnerable.
It’s no surprise that cybersecurity is growing so rapidly, and no one can question its increasing importance to our day-to-day life. But alongside that growth, it’s also a field that has real career trajectories.
That’s exciting because Kyndryl now gets to play a role in empowering both organizations and individuals. We hope that the Kyndryl Foundation can make a positive impact as we address the shortage of skilled cybersecurity resources and help organizations protect themselves from cyberattacks.
Smith, NationSwell: A year from now, what are you hoping to be celebrating? What milestones are you looking to cross?
Saha, Kyndryl: At a very basic level, without knowing who the grantees are, if we can see that more trained individuals are entering the cybersecurity space who would not otherwise be, I would call that a marker of success. If we see nonprofits sharing data that they have successfully thwarted cyber-attacks as a result of training they received that was grant-enabled, those are all markers of success.
Ultimately, we want to support and empower individuals and communities who might not have access to this space without some sort of other intervention.
Smith, NationSwell: What’s inspiring you right now?
Saha, Kyndryl: Everyday inspiration is very close to home. I’m inspired by those stories of resilience, especially stories about people who might be invisible or just are not going to make the headlines. To me, that’s really inspiring because that is what makes up the social fabric of everyday life. As a person and as a professional, I feel like my work focuses more on these everyday stories of resilience, optimism, triumph, and overcoming things to fully participate in society and the economy.
My biggest inspiration are figures like my great-grandmother, who would not make a headline but lived through immense political, personal, and geographical upheaval, which you read about in textbooks. Stories like hers are really inspiring because it’s an average person achieving outsized outcomes while living in what we might look at as a very traditionally prescribed role. But when I peel back the layers, I see a very radical person with an incredible journey. That’s very inspiring to me.
Monoswita Saha is part of Kyndryl as the Global Employee Engagement Leader for CSR + Kyndryl Foundation Adviser. Learn more about the Kyndryl Foundation launch.