The morning of the first full day of the 2017 International Corporate Citizenship Conference dove into the internal and external partnerships that make it possible to create a better world. Attendees explored these networks through general sessions, breakout panels, case studies, workshops, and numerous networking opportunities, including an on-site volunteer project.
Partnering with purpose
To begin the day, attendees were welcomed to an Idea Exchange breakfast, hosted by State Street. During the meal, guests were encouraged to casually network with their peers, or participate in facilitated discussions regarding CSR strategies and opportunities such as developing global strategies and creating metrics to show ROI.
Following breakfast, Katherine V. Smith, executive director of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, welcomed the assembled attendees to the Conference.
“We know that you have lots of choices of how to spend your professional development time and money and we want to thank you for making us your choice. We take that responsibility very seriously,” she said.
In her remarks, Smith explored the interrelated ecosystems that corporate citizenship professionals build and steward to support human enterprise.
“As CSR professionals, you cross boundaries and connect the different contexts that make up your corporate citizenship ecosystems,” said Smith. “You are the ones that are connecting the assets of your business to the social and environmental domains.”
These efforts, she argued, are essential to achieving sustainable social, environmental, and economic progress.
“The work that you do is tremendously important not only to the success of your company, but also to the health of our world,” she said.
Rick Pearl, vice president and global corporate responsibility officer at State Street Corporation, joined the stage to moderate a discussion between Smith and Dave Stangis, vice president of corporate responsibility and chief sustainability officer at Campbell Soup Company, about the book they co-authored, “21st Century Corporate Citizenship: A Practical Guide to Delivering Value to Society and Your Business.”
“This book melds the art of management with the practicality of getting things done. Our work in the future will only become more complex,” said Stangis. “There will be technological advances, evolving societal needs; there will be no standing still. Hopefully this book will provide you with a framework for meeting these challenges.”
During the day’s first general session, “The Boston WINs Ecosystem—Deepening Impact through Coordinated Action,” State Street executives Kathryn Horgan and Michael J. Scannell held a profound conversation with program partners Nicole F. Hurd, Founder & CEO of College Advising Corps; Bob Giannino, CEO of uAspire; J. Keith Motley, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston; and Tommy Chang, Superintendent of Boston Public Schools.
The panel discussed how the Boston Workforce Investment Network (WINs) is advancing education and workforce development across the city of Boston. Founded and led by State Street, this multi-year effort is designed to improve the scale and reach of its five nonprofit partners by creating an ecosystem of support for the Boston youth who feed the city’s talent pipeline.
In an opening video, Jay Hooley, chairman and CEO of State Street, explained that his company came to develop WINs in order to “go beyond spot-solutions and put together a comprehensive, systematic, and scalable program—one aimed at producing measurable and sustainable outcomes.”
State Street has invested $20 million dollars in Boston WINs, and is bolstering this financial support with employee volunteerism, donation matches, assistance with program oversight, and State Street’s pledge to hire 1,000 Boston youth over the four years of the program.
The success of the initiative is built on what State Street calls “coordinated action”—an interconnected relationship between the five organizations that arms each of them with the resources they need to ensure that every young person gets connected to a degree and to a career.
Throughout the session, panelists pointed to the carefully-orchestrated collaboration that allows the partners to identify shared metrics, achieve early intervention, and scale effective efforts.
“WINs within State Street is an ecosystem in and of itself. We are committed to putting the full weight of State Street behind this effort, and we manage our investment through a strategic governance structure supported by the active involvement of every organization,” said Scannell. “We bring our partners together to meet in person; they’re in the room with us making decisions and strategizing.”
The company’s commitment to rigorous, data-driven planning—which is reinforced by State Street’s deep focus on supporting education and workforce development initiatives—not only elevates Boston youth, it delivers value back to the company.
“As we look forward and project what we’re going to need from a talent pool—we recognize that the type of entry-level work is rapidly evolving,” said Horgan. “This program is a proactive way to ensure that we will have a talent pipeline that is skilled and prepared.”
The general session was followed by a networking break hosted by Arthur J. Gallagher, as well as an on-site volunteer project, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA). Many attendees joined BCBSMA and United Way volunteers to help children develop healthy and active lifestyles, packing backpacks with information and toys that encourage physical activity, a balanced diet, and the exploration of safe and healthy environments. Day one of the activity produced more than 350 Healthy Living Kits, which will be distributed to United Way Partner Organizations to encourage behaviors that are vital to supporting long-term health and wellbeing.
At 10:30 a.m., attendees broke into smaller groups to attend one of the morning’s six breakout sessions, which included four panelist discussions covering topics like responding to the Paris Agreement, navigating corporate citizenship ecosystems, and using corporate citizenship to help achieve diversity and inclusion goals. Additional sessions included a panel discussion on the intersection of business and social movements, a case study presented by Vanguard on the company’s CSR initiative to encourage financial literacy, and a workshop on nonverbal communication sponsored by Insperity, Inc.
Collective efforts for continued progress
Following the breakout sessions, attendees were back in the America Ballroom for a networking lunch sponsored by New Balance Athletics, Inc. and the second general session of the day, titled “Building a Sustainable and Thriving Ecosystem With Your Local Community.” During this session, New Balance President and CEO Robert T. DeMartini shared how the company is using its new global headquarters building in Boston’s Allston/Brighton area to transform the community through greater transportation offerings, communal green space, and increased support to local nonprofits. The new facility caps off more than a century of investment in Boston and is demonstrative of the company’s focus on driving sustainable change and unlocking new business opportunities through thoughtful community investment.
“Boston Landing's vision is to create a state-of-the-art development that complements the existing neighborhood fabric through the creation of new office space, retail stores, restaurants, and sports-related uses,” said DeMartini. “The centerpiece of the campus our new 250,000 square foot world-headquarters–a LEED® Platinum certified business.”
New Balance amplifies its impact—both in Boston and around the country—by choosing partners that share its commitment to thoughtful community investment—such as the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins—and supporting local nonprofits such as the West End House Boys and Girls Club, Two Ten Footwear Foundation, and the Move More Kids program. By working together, these organizations are able to achieve impressive results.
“We truly believe that one step can move a person, one person can move a community, and one community can move the world,” he said.
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