Guest Post: Timberland Shares Best Practices and Lessons Learned at Corporate Service Council Meeting in Atlanta
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend and participate in the 2018 Points of Light Corporate Service Council (CSC) Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Those of us who arrived on Sunday January 14th were invited to the Annual Martin Luther King Sunday Supper, which encourages corporate and civic leaders to break bread and barriers by having open conversations about topics currently affecting their community. Attendees were also treated to a live reading of Dr. King’s “Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution,” by Actor Leon Rogers. The reading was a powerful reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go when it comes to social justice.
The following morning, 30 groups of volunteers deployed across Atlanta to participate in a morning of community service. My group of 100+ volunteers convened at the English Avenue Community Park to revitalize the park and grounds. We stained benches, raked, planted and created murals. All the beautification activities instilled a sense of pride in the park’s neighbors, several of whom joined us in service. It was a chilly 27 degrees that day but, for someone who regularly plans service events for my job, it was a pleasure to “show up and serve” with such an enthusiastic community.
On Tuesday, we convened at UPS Headquarters for the first day of the CSC meeting. The morning discussion focused on how we can best coordinate our disaster response as natural and manmade disasters are becoming the “new normal.” We were fortunate to have disaster experts FEMA and VOAD in the room to help us navigate how to be better corporate citizens in this space. It was both encouraging and comforting to know that many businesses struggle with balancing their employees’ desire to help in the immediate aftermath with the time it usually takes to determine how each business can best contribute its unique resources to help. FEMA and VOAD reminded us that help with the long-term post-disaster recovery is always needed as resources diminish when the media moves to the next top story. Later in the day, the group shared best practices and lessons learned during a session from Cone Communication’s Alison DaSilva on “Generation Z” and “2017 CSR Trends.”
Unfortunately, the second day of the meeting was shortened due a snowstorm. Given that Atlanta receives an average of 1-2” of snow per year, the half inch of snow that day left the city reeling. Prior to rushing to the airport, CSC members engaged in a lively conversation about corporate social responsibility (CSR) at our companies and how we can further engage our employees to make a personal commitment to service. I was excited and honored to share how Timberland’s Path of Service program has been successful for 25 years and how, with ideas gleaned from our own experience along with that of other companies active in this space, we plan to build on our momentum for the next 25.