I recently had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion as part of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship 2017 International Corporate Citizenship Conference. Phyllis A. James, executive vice president and chief diversity and corporate responsibility officer at MGM Resorts International, moderated the conversation, which also included Jack Bergen, vice president of corporate projects at Arconic, and Caroline Chambers, vice president and diversity programs manager at Comerica Bank. Together, we explored how an integrated approach to corporate responsibility and diversity and inclusiveness can help achieve business goals.
Before the purview of especially socially-minded or forward-thinking companies, diversity and inclusion is increasingly becoming a corporate citizenship and business imperative for all industries and sectors, one that harnesses the distinct intellect and skills of a multitude of different backgrounds and cultures to deliver business and social value.
"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." - Henry Ford
Spring is a time of transition. Here in Boston, we at the Center are beginning to feel the sense of possibility that accompanies the season. Throughout this long winter, corporate citizenship practitioners have kept their noses to the grindstone, and have continued to accomplish remarkable goals. Now, with the new season, it’s time to step back and take stock of where we are in this field, what we hope to accomplish, and how we plan to get there together.
Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri have drawn in stark contrast the differences of opinion, perception, and experience regarding race relations in the United States. Employers have a role to play in helping to create an environment of constructive dialog and mutual understanding and many are working hard to do so.
Earlier this month I was in Denver with the Center’s Community Involvement Roundtable. As always, it was a dynamic two days filled with animated discussion, shared challenges, and best practices. Much of our focus for this recent meeting was engaging employees across the professional spectrum, from new hires to pre–retirees, though the conversation extended to retirees as well. This focus on employee engagement is not surprising, as the majority of executives surveyed in the Center’s forthcoming 2014 State of Corporate Citizenship study reported that recruiting and retaining employees are important business goals that are aided by the contribution of corporate citizenship.
In America, heart disease  is the #1 killer, taking more lives each year than all cancers combined. And although diseaseprevalence is similar across genders and ethnicities, awareness of risk factors and disparity in treatment rates are not. Close the Gap, a Boston Scientific educational initiative, was established in 2006 to address disparities in cardiovascular care for the underserved patient populations of women, African Americans, and Hispanic/Latino Americans. Initially focused solely on cardiovascular health, Close the Gap recently expanded its mission to address healthcare disparities that exist in other disease states, including asthma, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer.[2-5]
What started as one employee’s desire to have a more balanced work-life arrangement has now evolved into a strategic business initiative that helps Rothstein Kass retain top talent and develop stronger relationships with key clientele. It all began in 2007, when , a principal specializing in audit, general accounting and business advisory consulting, identified the need for an initiative focused on creating leadership opportunities for female associates.
Maintaining strong relationships with suppliers is an important way to ensure corporate citizenship is integrated throughout a company’s operations. Corporations can be held accountable for their supply chains, and thus, should select and manage suppliers carefully. Sanofi, a diversified health care provider, is dedicated to developing a diverse supplier base that brings value to the business as well as the communities in which it operates. This priority led to the development of the Supplier Diversity Initiative at Sanofi. Kathleen Castore, Head of Supplier Diversity & Sustainability, recently shared some concrete advice and insights into Sanofi’s Supplier Diversity Initiative.
The 2013 International Corporate Citizenship Conference kicked off in Boston with an opening reception hosted by UPS and buzzing with energy. Lynnette McIntire, UPS Director of Corporate Reputation Management and Jerald Barnes, Global Region/Districts Grant Manager of the UPS Foundation, welcomed everyone to the conference. McIntire encouraged first-time attendees especially to embrace the network building that takes place and to share their experiences with the challenges they all face in “a very safe place, a very honest place.”