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Bonnie Richards

Senior Director, Digital Platforms, United States

Someone once said, 'what I love most about my home is who I share it with'. For me SAP feels like home and creating that same experience for our customers is what motivates me every day.

Bonnie Richards
Senior Director, Digital Platforms
Newtown Square, United States

At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.

Bonnie joined SAP in 1996 as a Field Marketing Manager for North America. It was in this role that she learned about sales and our services that she moved on to hold various other marketing positions in Solutions, Services, Global Programs, and Industry.  

Throughout her career at SAP, Bonnie has had the opportunity to work on many large programs and initiatives –  one of which included incubating SAP’s first Global Social Selling Program, which has become a revenue-generating approach adopted by many of the sales teams.  With the full onset of Digital Transformation, Bonnie’s career has continued to evolve and grow where she now sits on the SAP board-level initiative ONE Digital Experience (1DX) and leads their Change Management and Communication strategy.

“With a focus on people and working at the intersection of digital technologies, business, marketing, and customer needs, I’m so happy to apply the knowledge I’ve gained and tap into the relationships I’ve developed over the years,” she says.

Bonnie truly believes in the power of getting involved and building a positive support system. At SAP, Bonnie is an active member of Pride@SAP, SimpleChange@SAP, 1DX, and the Marketing Community. Outside of SAP, she is involved with the American Red Cross, the Mazzoni Center for LGBT Health & Youth, Francisvale Dog Shelter, and KIPP Charter Schools. But St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital holds a special place in her heart since it was a charity so important to her mother before she lost her fight to Leukemia & Lymphoma in 2008. As a result, Bonnie donates to the hospital in her mother’s name several times a year so she can keep her memory alive.

Early in her first year at SAP, Bonnie came out as gay to some teammates. Received with open arms and a remarkably easy experience, Bonnie learned quickly just how special the people around her at SAP are. Bonnie went on to learn about the progressive and inclusive domestic partner health coverage and other considerations SAP offers to its diverse workforce. She absolutely loves how the Company prioritizes diversity and inclusion in all its forms and has enabled her to do what she loves while still always being true to who she is.

“At SAP, I feel and have always felt included and valued. And I have been given opportunities to explore, innovate, and experience new things all the time. I can tap into my potential and stretch myself without fear.”

Bonnie has had her share of hurdles in life, but by overcoming them, she has come out stronger and make an inspiring difference in the lives of others. 

As Bonnie said, “There is an ebb and flow with work as in life. Things happen. And it’s not always easy. We all encounter personal hardships.”

A few years ago, life threw her a curve ball and she lost both her parents within just a few short years of one another.  Shortly after this, during the economic decline of 2007-08, she and her partner Patti lost their specialty food and cheese store. It was a harsh reality only followed by an earthshattering setback when her sister-in-law, Nicki, was diagnosed with a rare stage-4 Spindle Cell Carcinoma, a form of soft tissue cancer that attacked 90% of her face. Bonnie and her partner Patti were devastated, frightened, and depressed. As Patti went on to support and care for her younger sister through 20+ surgeries over the next few years, Bonnie leaned on her friends and SAP family. 

As Patti traveled frequently with Nicki for surgeries, Bonnie also needed a flexible work schedule. While enabling Patti to be with her sister was the number one need for the family, addressing everyday life like paying bills, shopping for groceries, working a demanding schedule, and taking care of their 14-year-old Chocolate Lab, Gus, also needed to carry on as usual.  Not unlike single parents or big families with children, Bonnie could achieve the balance she needed thanks to the compassion she received from work.

“Searching for meaning after such a terrible sequence of events was so important for me. I honestly don’t think I could have done it if I weren’t at SAP. What helped me get through it all was being surrounded by my friends and family at SAP, having understanding and supportive managers, feeling part of a strong, close-knit team, and having the flexibility to work where and when I needed. SAP helped me stay stable and provide for my family.”

SAP has long been the source of a significant support system for Bonnie and the friendships, emotional health, and caring community was what her soul needed to keep her going. Today, Bonnie’s manager has her in a position where she too can help others. Now Bonnie is in change management and it’s such a natural fit having had to learn the hard way to adapt and thrive in the face of adversity.

Overcoming hardship and facing your fears is necessary when life throws you curve balls like it did for Bonnie. She knows first-hand the anxiety and worry life changes bring. Although it can paralyze people, it doesn’t need to if you are equipped with information, caring people, and the tools to help you navigate it. 

“Overcoming those personal struggles in my life has allowed me to see the great depth of the relationship I have built with SAP and all it has to offer. SAP made all the difference for me to be able to deal with adversity without the added stress and anxiety of having to hide who I am.”

Given SAP’s current environment of digital transformation, change and the tools needed to ride it out are vital for people to thrive in their careers. Bonnie loves that rewarding feeling when she knows she has done something for someone else and would encourage everyone to stand up tall, be true to yourself, and get involved in causes that you hold dear to your hearts.

When I asked Bonnie what message she’d like to share with anyone considering a job at SAP, she simply responded, “Why wouldn’t you?  Come see for yourself and be everything you want.”

 

*Update on Bonnie’s sister-in-law

Bonnie’s sister-in-law Nicki is doing well and working her way back into daily life. After nearly 4 years, she has finished her surgeries and is currently cancer free! Her face has been fully reconstructed and she is a miracle case studied and discussed at medical conferences around the world. She is currently nominated for a prestigious award that could provide her with a real opportunity to give back, share her story, and help those faced with similar trauma. She lives just outside Philadelphia with her 5-year-old son, Bryce, and her husband, Jeremy. To learn more how you can help Bonnie’s sister-in-law, Nicki, here is her story, as told through the eyes of Patti, Bonnie’s partner in life and Nicki’s devoted sister.

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