Lia Putkaradze, a 2009 Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD) alumna from Georgia, has been selected as the June State Alumni Member of the Month. Lia’s success in applying the concepts she learned during her exchange program, as well as her dedication to working with her fellow State Alumni for the betterment of her country, make her a truly exemplary State Alumni Member of the Month. Lia credits the UGRAD program with her achievements stating, “My exchange experience has opened the way to diverse opportunities and it is the Global UGRAD program through which I have become independent, courageous, and confident in my abilities and determined to make positive changes in my community for the future progressive development of my country.”
Lia comes from Batumi, a city in the southwest of Georgia. In 2009, Lia’s participation in the Global UGRAD program offered her the chance to expand her perspective beyond her city and country and study at Utica College in New York. It was during her time at Utica that Lia first learned about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), a holistic business approach that encourages companies to act in ways that positively impact not only their bottom line but also their consumers, employees, and communities. Since returning to Georgia, Lia has applied her expertise in CSR in working with Ardza, a division of Georgia’s prominent Alliance Group Holding company. Blazing a new path, Lia serves as one of Georgia’s first young CSR professionals, setting Ardza’s CSR policies and overseeing their implementation. As a part of these duties, she has implemented a program to encourage her fellow employees to contribute annually to local charities.
Beyond the positive impacts that Lia’s work in CSR has made in her community, she also donates much of her free time to promoting and carrying out community service projects to improve her city. Because extracurricular activities for youth in Batumi are limited, Lia works vigorously to coordinate community service projects that motivate and mobilize these youth. To ensure the sustainability of these opportunities, Lia is working with fellow UGRAD and Muskie alumni to found an Alumni Volunteer Service Center in Batumi that will educate youth about the importance of community service and will coordinate various community development activities for them. Additionally, Lia is working with several foreign nationals in Georgia to create a non-governmental organization that will offer similar opportunities throughout the Caucus region.
In addition to all of the above noted contributions that Lia makes to her community, she is still able to find time to work with her fellow alumni. Although a UGRAD alumna, Lia regularly works across alumni programs to collaborate with her colleagues in the Muskie Alumni Association of Georgia. She also regularly participates in professional, cultural, and community service events organized by other Georgian alumni, the U.S. Embassy, and IREX.