Last year, Dave Stangis—Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Sustainability Officer for the Campbell Soup Company—and I released two books to help corporate citizenship professionals align environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives with business goals to create long-term success. One book, titled The Executive’s Guide to 21st Century Corporate Citizenship, offers a guide for the business executive who is working to build a more ethical, resilient, sustainable, and profitable company. The other—21stCentury Corporate Citizenship: A Practical Guide to Delivering Value to Society and Your Business—serves as a step-by-step handbook for CSR professionals who are developing and implementing effective corporate citizenship programs.
Here at the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, we're pleased to release our Profile of the Professionals 2018 study, a research project that examines the roles, responsibilities, development, and compensation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals. Its findings—based on survey results from 932 corporate citizenship professionals—provide insight into how CSR professionals at all levels assess the skills they need to be effective in their roles and what they perceive as the greatest challenges they must overcome.
Organizational change is inevitable in businesses today; the question is how do individuals not only endure but thrive in such an atmosphere? As one of our webinar speakers, Cathy Glover, Director of Community Investment at Suncor, points out, implementing any major organizational change is like “building the car while it is still driving,” – clearly a significant challenge for any individual. The Center recognized this challenge as a common one for members and wanted to highlight two individuals who have learned from a transitional phase firsthand in our most recent webinar, Preparing for organizational change: A professional development guide. Along with Cathy Glover, Rosemary Matzl, Director of Community Relations at Illinois Tool Works, also spoke candidly about her experiences and learning related to corporate change.
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?