Day in the Life: Creating impact with nonprofit partners

From managing major construction projects to infusing big flavors, see how associate director Krystal Bruno takes on the day.

12 hours on our global philanthropy team

Join us on a typical day in the life of an AbbVie employee driving change around the clock. We tag along with Krystal Bruno, an associate director on our global philanthropy team. She collaborates with nonprofit grant partners to ensure progress on their goals and helps further their missions – applying the same passion and precision to her morning runs and homemade meals.

Then I get ready to head to AbbVie headquarters...

Enjoying one of my homemade muffins and green tea on the go. I make a batch every week with almond meal, carrot and zucchini, sweetened with maple syrup. While I’m on the train I check my emails and calendar – today I’m meeting with our nonprofit partner Habitat for Humanity. AbbVie’s $50 million grant to Habitat supports building homes, providing job training and improving the housing systems in Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017. On our video call, Habitat gives me an update on their new pilot program that teaches construction skills to local workers. The most exciting part of the pilot is that it’ll create lasting skills and career opportunities for residents.

I joined the team about a year and a half ago, and previously I worked in our Public Affairs group as a communicator for therapeutic areas including oncology, immunology and virology. In my current role, which is truly my dream job, I work with nonprofit partners including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Family Reach. 2021-2022 is a milestone year for St. Jude, as they are in the design phase for the first-of-its-kind Family Commons at their Memphis facility. A $50 million AbbVie grant is supporting this treatment-free floor with space for patients and families to relax, recover and connect. It’s part of our key giving pillar to help families thrive through impactful giving.

I step away from my screen and check my productivity planner, which helps me prioritize the most important tasks. I flip back a few pages and revisit notes from a mentorship program I participate in as part of AbbVie’s Women Leaders in Action employee resource group. In our last session we got great advice from leaders on networking in a remote world and how to approach career development conversations with openness and honesty. I always had an interest in making a positive difference in the world, and I was vocal about my interest in eventually joining our global philanthropy team. I sought out development opportunities, like doing a special project to support our global Week of Possibilities employee volunteerism, that helped me get to where I am today.

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Celebrating the Neal School Groundbreaking
Celebrating the Neal School Groundbreaking

I check in with my partners at North Chicago schools for an update on a major project – construction for the new Neal Math & Science Academy. It’s been gratifying to see this big step to advance education equity in AbbVie’s backyard. Our $40 million donation is rebuilding the city’s only middle school, giving the students a school that recognizes their limitless potential and reflects schools of their peers. Recently we were able to bring together members of the North Chicago community, carefully following COVID safety protocols, to celebrate the start of construction and our long-term partnership with the city and its school district. I’ll continue working with the district to set and reach milestones as we approach a fall 2022 school opening.

Despite having to shift to plan b, c and beyond, our wedding was perfect. Last fall we hosted a small family-only ceremony in David’s hometown. Our reception was in David’s aunt’s backyard, at the home his mother was raised in. It was a very special day and I felt like a princess! David helps me make a quick dinner, my favorite spinach tomato tortellini soup with salad on the side. Cooking helps me unwind and it gives David and me a chance to talk about our day. I'm grateful to have a job where I can elevate the missions of our nonprofit partners. Every partner I work with is different, and no two days are the same for me, but the goal is always to make an impact.