As we gear up for the 2019 Innovations in Corporate Social Impact summit on October 30th, we’re chatting with local leaders and experts to get their take on corporate social impact. Kate Byrne, President of Intentional Media— a family of media and event brands catalyzing our transition to an economy that ensures our social, environmental and economic systems thrive together— shares some of her insights from her many years of professional experience.
Why is corporate social impact an important topic?
Corporates play a tremendously important role in the economic system - they employ us, they use our resources upon which we use to live and they make the products we consume. Because they engage with us across multiple touch points it is imperative that they be conscious citizens and stewards of the planet.
How do senior leaders in large companies view corporate social impact?
Up until this point, they viewed it as CSR - more through a philanthropic (CSR)check the box, write a check, build a task force to come up with a message about this topic. Now that their customers and employees are being impacted by the damage being done to resources and will to make conscious choices with their wallet and feet moving to those companies, and willing to pay a premium for the goods, they are waking up.
Young professionals seem to be quite interested in corporate social impact, what is driving their interest?
They have inherited the world left behind, and the mess within it, that has come about by shareholder return and money at all costs practice of the past 50 years. Young professionals believe there is a better way, are willing to be more patient and are redefining "enough" "success" and "happiness" seeing each as living life on your terms, by your choice and live and let live philosophies. Peaceful coexistence where all are able to participate rather than one over another and being happy are the legacies they want to leave behind.
What professional opportunities are available for those who want to transition into a company that is dedicated to increasing social impact?
There are amazing opportunities both within corporates who are waking up where intentional/ or an impact mentality can be put to work in all areas such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion but also product development and more.
What will help companies drive more social impact? (For example, additional senior leadership support, other?)
I think this needs to come about both internally in leadership development and employee training, but externally as well from customers, and shareholders demanding more socially conscious practices be it vendor selection, leadership and board make up.