Ian McClelland Assists With Soccer Project For Girls In Indonesia
It was the surprise of the evening - and a triple surprise at that: as last September's Management Meeting 2010 came to an end, Bertelsmann CEO Hartmut Ostrowski asked three top executives to step up on stage.
then announced, amid the applause of the other congress participants, that they had been selected to work for a week or two, on the ground, for a project run by Bertelsmann's
partner Plan International.
The relief organization has projects ongoing in 48 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
This, Ostrowski said, would show that social responsibility isn't just codified in the Essentials, but is alive and well at Bertelsmann
No sooner said than done: after months of preparation, the first of the three Bertelsmann
executives has now traveled to the Plan International project he
was assigned to.
Last Tuesday, Ian McClelland, Senior Vice President New Media at RTL Group in Luxembourg, arrived in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, where he is helping out with a soccer project for girls.
has since contacted BeNet to share his
"The day after arriving in Jakarta, I visited the school, 'SMK N 36' in the city's northern port area," says McClelland
"It's a technical trade school with a focus on IT and seafaring.
The children and teens all wear uniforms - and they're very proud of their school.
It might not be well equipped by European standards, but everything's in excellent condition.
A reception committee of eight students actually saluted us when we drove into the school grounds!
The Director, with whom McClelland
talked at length afterwards, calls on his
children and his
staff to be online as often as possible, to write blogs and use social networks.
"Soccer is the number one sport in Indonesia," explains McClelland
, who did detailed research on the country and especially on Plan International's
project before traveling to Indonesia.
"But violence is a big problem in schools (like) here in Jakarta," he
"By promoting soccer in partnership with teachers and members of school committees, Plan is starting out by helping to curb the violence at 15 schools.
And Plan can really use the support of the RTL Group
manager in its efforts, because beyond soccer coaching and workshops, the project also includes creating a brochure and a Web-based network where girls and boys can chat about soccer.
, who just celebrated his
37th birthday in Indonesia last Saturday, is the right man for the job, given his
experience in the field of new media.
Before joining RTL Group
to supervise strategic projects for Internet, interactive and mobile TV, broadband and all future platforms, he
worked at Turner Broadcasting
, where he
also gained experience in online, IPTV, Video on demand, mobile and new technologies.
The girls and boys and teachers at SMK N 36 listened with great interest as the RTL Group
executive presented the group's activities to them.
"There was a burst of enthusiastic applause when I mentioned that we're the ones behind the 'Indonesian Idol' format," grins McClelland
also explained why the Social Media are becoming more and more important for businesses.
"But mainly I presented my ideas for how the soccer girls can advertise their project and recruit sponsors," says McClelland
, who has given a lot of thought to how he
can contribute his
expertise and contacts to the project.
wants to make it possible for the soccer teams to cultivate Facebook fan pages, where they can post texts, match results, pictures and videos - all via smartphone.
explained to BeNet.
"I've approached Facebook about this and they promised to give me full support.," says McClelland
"I'm also in close contact with the London-based Internet agency Sports New Media
, which would design the Facebook pages for free and provide all the soccer teams with an app that would let them update their respective Facebook pages," says McClelland
The executive also reports that two smartphone manufacturers have indicated their willingness to donate a number of smartphones to each team of the Plan project in Jakarta.
Facebook users can select their favorite team and support it with a small annual fee.
This lets them choose to have the soccer team's updates displayed on their own Facebook page; all of their friends are also automatically invited to become fans of this or some other team in the project.
"The principle is similar to that of a regular soccer fan club," McClelland
explains, "but this is only for girls - and about using social networks to add fans.
Any fees collected go directly to Plan International
to assist with future funding of girls' soccer projects.
"What we're doing here in Jakarta will later serve as a blueprint for other schools in Indonesia," McClelland
was able to witness the girls' soccer skills first-hand when he
joined them on the pitch for a practice match following his
visit to "SMK N 36.