Simone Whitfield is passionate about supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – so much so that she plunged off the 80M-high ArcelorMittal Orbit in London to raise money for The Hunger Project, a global, non-profit organization committed to a sustainable end to world hunger and helping women and children in developing countries to be more self-sufficient.
“I got an email about a fundraising event and that someone had pulled out. The Hunger Project people asked if anyone could step up,” Simone said. “I was having a weird roller coaster of a month, and we were going to be in London anyway, so I asked my husband if I should do it. He said yes.”
Simone worked with Lumen Cares to set up a giving campaign with hopes of raising £250 for the 240-foot leap. Employees stepped up and donated more than £750, which Lumen matched to bring up to £1500. Combined with a Just Giving page, Simone has raised more than £2200 to date. Lumen employees can still donate by visiting her Lumen Cares campaign page.
Simone’s daredevil spirit is undeniable. “When I was much younger, I’d ridden a gorge swing in Zambia, gone skydiving in Namibia, and bungie jumped in New Zealand,” she said. “I’m going to be 50 in November. Part of The Hunger Project jump from The London Abseil was like I should do one last thing before I get too old. But that’s not old, and there’s nothing stopping anyone from doing what they want.”
Leaping into action to help others is second nature for Simone. She’s finishing her two-year term as the chair of the Women Empowered (WE) Employee Resource Group and has championed educational campaigns around sustainability, environmental issues, women’s health, and career growth.
Simone introduced the “WE Make a difference” campaign last year, sharing the story of tackling single-use plastic in her hometown as chair of Sustainable Newport Shropshire, a group of U.K. residents concerned about pollution, climate change, and fossil fuel dependency. She allied WE with the Global Community ERG for a Beat Plastic Pollution Event on World Environment Day in June.
She spearheaded the creation of Lean In Circles on International Women’s Day through collaboration with the WE Mentorship committee. Through Lean In Circles, Lumen employees can come together in small groups across roles and levels for peer-to-peer mentoring, connecting with like-minded colleagues, recognizing and combating gender bias, and building leadership skills. To date, the company has 29 Circles with 226 active members.
Working with HR in the U.K. and the Lumen Benefits Team in the U.S., Simone created educational awareness programs to highlight menopause resources and support services. The list goes on and on.
“Simone has embraced every challenge and opportunity to improve the lives of female professionals at Lumen and in our communities,” said Andrea Rein, incoming WE chair. “I take great pride in continuing the successes and impacts Simone has made with Women Empowered and look forward to cementing her legacy with Lumen Technologies.”
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