Each year, Mars Associates apply for individual and group Mars Ambassador Program (MAP) assignments that pair them with nonprofit partner organizations in key countries around the world. These MAP ambassadors step away from their regular jobs for two to six weeks, using their expertise to make a positive difference in major social and environmental issues of critical importance to Mars and partner organizations.
Ilaria Pesci is passionate about pets, and working for Mars Petcare allows her to create a Better World for Pets™ every day.
So, when her MAP assignment offered her an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of millions of shelter animals overseas, Ilaria jumped at the chance. For two weeks, she stepped away from her daily duties with Royal Canin and teamed up with American Pets Alive! to help further their mission of preventing unnecessary pet deaths.
Question: Tell us about your assignment.
Ilaria: I worked with American Pets Alive! to create an advocacy plan. Every year pets are needlessly killed in shelters across the United States. Their mission is to put an end to this urgent crisis by increasing lifesaving efforts in shelters nationwide. They do this by providing shelters with the tools, resources and knowledge needed to further the No Kill movement.
My assignment gave me opportunity to help by creating a plan that could garner the necessary support to further their efforts.
Why did you want to participate in this particular program?
I’ve always wanted to take part in MAP but applied for this assignment knowing it was the right opportunity to make a difference. I was able to make a meaningful contribution by utilizing my professional background and public relations expertise. I’m particularly skilled in stakeholder engagement and could leverage that for a wonderful, common cause.
What was your favorite part of your assignment?
Taking part in the weekly Shelter Managers Meetings. These are people on the frontlines working directly with the animals. It’s been an incredible learning experience to hear their challenges and better understand their ways of ways working. Discussing their current strategies allowed me to develop an advocacy plan tailored to their specific needs.
What makes this program so special?
I’ve volunteered for pet charities here in Italy, but MAP gave me the opportunity to do even more – and make an impact far beyond the European borders. I never could have done that without Mars.
Any advice for others looking to volunteer?
Whether through MAP or other local opportunities, I’d strongly encourage anyone to find ways to give back. It’s an opportunity to live our Purpose and help create a better tomorrow, all while enhancing our skills and getting to know new and amazing people.