“Optimism is a force multiplier” ~ Colin Powell
As corporate citizenship professionals, our task is to create the world in which we want to do business and the world in which we want to live. This has never been an easy objective, but recently the challenges facing us have become even more apparent.
The past year has been a time of great change—and for many of us—those changes have at times been difficult to accept. However, while the past 12 months have been tumultuous, they have given me plenty of reasons to maintain, and even increase, my optimism.
2017 may have been full of events, both man-made and natural, that have caused all of us to pause and take stock of what it is that we value—withdrawal from the Paris Accord, exposure of pervasive sexual harassment, natural disasters of immense scale. It was gratifying to see that each of these and many other challenges elicited responses from corporate America as CEOs took action to affirm their companies’ core values.
Throughout the year, corporate leaders have acted decisively to commit to social and environmental progress like never before, advocating for immigration, LGBT rights, and environmental innovation. For example, following the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement—firms rallied to show that We are Still In, and solidified their pledges with strategic efforts—to such a great extent that the UN environmental chief announced recently that the United States will likely live up to the accord due to corporate efforts. Companies rallied around the victims of natural disasters around the globe, and are starting to send a decisive message that the workplace climate for women MUST change. It is these actions that give me cause to be optimistic.