I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose (CECP) Summit in New York City. CECP is celebrating 20 years of empowering corporations to be a force for good in society. It was an honor to be part of the event and to also share the stage with Paurvi Bhatt, President of the Medtronic Foundation and Carol Cone, founder of On Purpose, on a panel focused on taking an enterprise-wide approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Paurvi and I are both based in the Twin Cities and laughed about the fact that it took a trip to New York to bring us together. As we shared our stories, we learned that we have a lot of similarities in our backgrounds. We also share a belief in the importance of sharing our stories especially as women of color.
Paurvi and I talked about our journey to integrate CSR into our organizations. We talked about the challenges, mistakes made, and lessons learned. After our presentation, we broke up into small groups to discuss the journey from philanthropic giving to business integration of social impact. It was amazing how much energy was in the room and how active the conversations were.
Some of the main themes among those gathered was how did you get started, how do you move fast enough to stay relevant, and how do you make this a priority for your senior leaders. Paurvi discussed the point of focusing on the outcomes. It’s important to identify specific outcomes the organization is driving toward so that business leaders can share that outcome. She discussed how conflict can be managed effectively through a focus on shared outcomes and accountability – a point that resonated strongly with me.
I shared that at U.S. Bank, it all starts with strategy, our purpose, and our core values. We have been on our own journey from building our Community Possible giving and engagement platform focused on the areas of Work, Home, and Play to a unified corporate social responsibility strategy. Guided by our strategy of “One U.S. Bank,” we are working hard to bring together our philanthropy, our investments, our products, services, and the expertise of all 74,000 employees to remove barriers and make a difference in the most underserved communities.
I also shared my perspective that our work can be challenging. But at the heart of our work in CSR is the joy of helping employees at our companies make decisions that are good for people, the planet, and the business.
After the forum, I met several CSR professionals from companies large and small who shared their personal stories about their corporate journeys focused on the business of doing good. It reminded me of the powerful role that CECP plays in our field, bringing together leaders in corporate social investment around relevant topics anchored in data and insights that help inform our decision making. CECP’s insight and experts allow corporations to stay a step ahead and continue to challenge us to always consider how doing good in the community and bringing purpose to our company is a critical component of long-term financial success.
Congratulations on 20 years CECP. I can’t wait for the next conference in 2020.