The Moment That Changed My Career

Paula Bonde
April 30, 2019

Have you ever had a moment in life which changed you, and redefined what matters to you? For me, it was my daughter. Her birth made me reexamine my priorities – and switch from a fast-tracked corporate career to now working at WFP USA, where I’m doing work that truly matters.

Growing up, I was exposed to many different cultures. I grew up in Brazil, with a Swedish father and an Argentine mother, but was born in Japan and lived in South Africa and Sweden for a number of years. The moving came with its challenges, of course (it always does!), but I loved it, and in many ways, it set the path I’ve taken as an adult. I followed in the footsteps of my father, got a degree in business, and started an international career. I’ve always loved marketing, so after a few years in strategy consulting, I turned my sights to the consumer good industry and pursued a career there. I lived in London, Spain, Switzerland, amongst other places. And it was fun, a lot of fun. Big business challenges. Fast pace. Interesting strategies and business plans. Sizable marketing budgets. Great people. And a lot of learning.

And I probably would have remained on that track if I hadn’t become a mother. I always saw myself as someone who would start a family and get right back to work after maternity leave. But things changed, and I couldn’t bring myself to go right back. It ended up being two years before I would get back to work. And when that time came, I wanted to spend my time on something that meant more; something with a bigger purpose that would make this world a better place for my little one.

And that’s what brought me to the nonprofit sector, and eventually to WFP USA. The knowledge that the work I do every day is making someone’s life better brings meaning to my career. It’s truly rewarding to know that you’re making a difference.

As a mother, I’m especially passionate about the work WFP does to provide pregnant mothers and young children with the food and nutrition they need. Millions of children around the world are malnourished, many because of conflict and war. I hear stories of parents caught up in crisis, who were unable to feed their families until WFP stepped in to help. I cannot imagine the pain a mother must feel when her child cries out for food and she has none to provide, or a father who is forced to watch helplessly as famine overcomes his child.

It’s these families who inspire me to work hard each day. I’m grateful to have a career that brings food and hope to hungry families and allows me to demonstrate the value of giving back to my daughter. I’m proud to be part of WFP USA – an incredible organization that’s changing and saving lives every day.