Today, 600 CSR professionals traveled to Los Angeles to kick off the 2018 International Corporate Citizenship Conference—an event dedicated to helping CSR professionals strengthen the connections between resilience, responsibility, and results. The afternoon was filled with numerous networking opportunities and an illuminating dinner session—and was capped off by the annual Film Festival award ceremony—setting the stage for two more days of insights and connections.
The afternoon began with socializing and sharing. After arriving at The Beverly Hilton hotel, many attendees took advantage of the networking summits, while others caught up with colleagues or made new connections. At 5:00 p.m., the group gathered in the beautiful Wilshire Garden for the opening reception, presented by Altria. The event’s host, Immanuel Sutherland, associate manager of corporate citizenship for Altria Client Services, shared his advice for getting the most from the Conference:
"We know that businesses that are great over the long term must earn today’s success while preparing for tomorrow’s opportunities," said Sutherland. "Over the next few days, I encourage you to listen, learn, and most importantly share what you do to help build resilient communities. Your unique perspective could be someone's solution to a common challenge.”
Following a networking dinner, hosted by Wells Fargo, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s Executive Director Katherine V. Smith welcomed attendees to the Conference, and thanked Travelers for acting as the 2018 convening sponsor.
“Founded in 1853—Travelers is basically in the business of resilience,” said Smith. “For more than 160 years, they have been helping organizations and individuals plan ahead so they can prosper for decades—if not centuries—to come.”
Tara Spain, vice president and chief operating officer of the Travelers Foundation and second vice president for community relations at Travelers, next took the stage to welcome the guests to Los Angeles, and launch 2.5 days of learning.
"This year’s theme—Resilience, Responsibility, and Results—hits especially close to home for us," said Spain. “As an insurance company, we know all too well the many challenges and risks facing our customers, our employees, and our communities. That’s why, as a company, we strive to build and maintain resilient, safe, and strong communities."
During her remarks, Spain offered a quick look into how Travelers leverages its employees’ passion and expertise to support its communities. She recounted a recent effort to help a Puerto Rican community rebuild following Hurricane Maria.
“Through a partnership with the nonprofit All Hands and Hearts, 35 Travelers employees—led by our CEO Alan Schnitzer—restored a baseball field and built a playscape for the community of Yabucoa, where the hurricane first made landfall,” said Spain. “Yabucoa is a community that has a deep cultural connection to baseball, and with schools only open part-time, children really needed a safe place to play.”
“I am personally so very thankful to work for a company that cares so deeply about the community and gives not only financially, but also uses our greatest asset—our employees—to create impact and change,” she said.
Sharing and Celebrating
At 7:00 p.m., it was time for the main event of the evening—the first keynote of the Conference, and the 10th annual Corporate Citizenship Film Festival, hosted by Wells Fargo. During their engaging session—Expanding our philanthropic focus on community resilience—Jimmie Walton Paschall, executive vice president of enterprise diversity and inclusion & strategic philanthropy for Wells Fargo, and Stephanie Rico, senior vice president and environmental affairs business initiatives manager for Wells Fargo, talked with Smith about how they are building resilience in the communities Wells Fargo serves.
“You don’t get to be a company that’s more than 160 years old without learning how to be resilient, how to scan, how to adapt, and how to change,” said Paschall. “One of the ways we work to do that is by strengthening our partnerships. For example, many of the advocacy nonprofit organizations that we partner with mentioned that they could attract top talent, but they didn’t have the resources to invest in them. So we decided to create a nonprofit leadership program. Now, we’re working with the Boston College Center of Corporate Citizenship—who won the business—and the group is incredibly energized. We’re very excited to be investing in these incredible people, helping to support the next Jesse Jackson—the next Martin Luther King, Jr.”
During their discussion, Paschall and Rico shared how Wells Fargo is working to help communities mitigate and perhaps even avoid the impacts of climate-related natural disasters and incidents of social unrest.
“Historically, we’ve been focused on what we do after an event happens,” said Rico. “We determine what we have to have in place to make sure that we’re there for our customers. For example, we have mobile ATM machines with communication systems, mobile units for mortgages, and mobile response units. Now, we’re shifting the focus to how we can prepare so we can lessen the severity of the impact.”
Following their talk, it was time for the Corporate Citizenship Film Festival awards ceremony. Now in its 10th year, the Film Festival is a unique event that highlights the CSR initiatives that are making connections and addressing issues across the globe—and applauds the creative and inspiring methods used to communicate these efforts. Together, Smith and Paschall congratulated the top nine finalists of this year’s festival, and announced the winners.
“In the past 10 years, we’ve received nearly 550 submissions from companies,” said Smith. “This year, we received 73 video submissions from all over the country and the world.”
The 2018 Film Festival offered a series of prize categories to recognize the wide range of initiatives that were submitted.
- Fan Favorite (largest number of public votes)
- Best in Show
- Company size
- Small Company (employee size 1- 5,000)
- Medium Company (employee size 5,000 - 30,000)
- Large Company (employee size 30,000 +)
The award for Fan Favorite went to Mary Kay Inc. for their terrific domestic violence support video: Man Up
Thermo Fisher Scientific took home the Large Company category prize for Inspiring Young Scientists to Change the World.
The Medium Company award went to Ally Financial for their inspiring Planet Zeee video.
Bella Group’s Our Team, Our People, Our Island… We Aren’t Done video won the Small Company category and took home the top prize of the night as the Best in Show winner.
Congratulations to all who participated this year!
Want more updates on the Conference? Subscribe to the Corporate Citizenship Blog by clicking below.