In an evolving economy, it is business as usual when you receive a memo announcing a merger, acquisition, or CEO change. While organizational change presents challenges to professionals in all areas of a company, these changes can be particularly challenging when you work in sustainability, corporate responsibility, and community involvement.
For corporate citizenship professionals, such changes can have direct impacts on your grantees, programs, and even philanthropic priorities. The field in general has gained stature, the social and business benefits of your programs are well-known and understood by the current leadership, but will the priorities remain the same? Will you have to off-ramp with a charity that you’ve worked with for years? When a CEO who supported your corporate citizenship efforts decides to take an opportunity elsewhere, or a merger forces two different priority lists to compete, what is a citizenship professional to do?
Suncor and Illinois Tool Works (ITW) both know what it’s like to be in the middle of organizational change. For ITW, the constant state of growth and acquisition creates a fluid atmosphere of change in which the corporate citizenship department has learned to flourish. Illinois Tool Works is a decentralized company, owning 100-plus brands and companies, and thousands of patents. Rosemary Matzl serves as the company’s Director of Community Relations, acting as Secretary to the ITW Foundation Board of Directors. Through the Foundation she manages all grant and pledge requests for funding, as well as the Matching Gift Program, Volunteer Program, United Way campaign and two Scholarship Programs. In addition, Rosemary manages corporate contributions to include funding/sponsorships, in-kind giving, and pro-bono. Her previous experience is diverse. She has run a restaurant, a Foundation, an HR department, and currently sits on the board of several foundations and charities.
Cathy Glover of Suncor has had the unique experience of a merger of equals at the same time that EnCana was splitting into two separate companies. Soon after, there was an almost complete turnover of leadership. After almost 20 years with the nonprofit sector, Cathy joined Suncor Energy Inc. to manage both the Suncor Energy Foundation and the Corporate Community Investments programs in early 2001. Her responsibilities include the strategic management of Suncor’s community investment and involvement programs including grants and employee programs in Canada and internationally. In this role, Cathy works closely with groups and individuals who are impacted by Suncor’s operations to build positive, long-term relationships that encourage collective action and lead to the development of sustainable and resilient communities.
In a Sept. 4 webinar, Preparing for organizational change: A professional development guide, Rosemary and Cathy will help us to explore how you can anticipate the challenges different changes might present, prepare yourself and your team for difficult decisions, and develop key competencies that will serve you well through transition. We encourage companies to recognize the opportunities inherent in such situations to identify the positive changes they would like to make in programs and bring them to fruition. Join us to learn from the experience of Rosemary and Cathy so that you too can manage through organizational change!