President’s Corner: April 2009

Greetings from the West Coast

light-blue-swirl-backgroundSpringtime typically brings with it another conference season, and this year I have the pleasure of attending the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC) Conference in San Francisco for the first time. While I am here for work, Net Impact Boston is fortunate to have a strong connection to the BCCCC by way of membership and event partnership as well. It has been a fairly extraordinary day here, with keynote addresses by Adam Werbach, Van Jones and John Elkington, not to mention several breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and a late afternoon chat with Net Impact Executive Director, Liz Maw, herself. Needless to say, I have done a lot of listening and reflecting today, and I wanted to share some of my insights from these experiences with all of you.

First, it is always refreshing to be surrounded by others, who share a similar passion and dedication to making a difference in our businesses and in the world. We all need to have our own ideas challenged and reinforced from time to time.

Secondly, there is much to learn, both from experts in other fields and from peers in other industries and our own. No single person has it all figured out, but through our exchanges with one another, we can certainly increase group understanding and awareness of the complexity of the global issues and the opportunities we face.

Thirdly, there is no single profile or career path of the CSR professional. I have yet to meet two people, who have the exact same job or came to corporate social responsibility via the same professional route. And clearly, the CSR community is not limited to companies alone, but a constantly evolving mix of concerned groups including the government, NGOs, non-profits, academics, and others.
Fourthly, this is a space where everyone is welcome. Older group dynamic traditions of exclusivity, competitiveness, and seniority are displaced by inclusion, collaboration, and leadership. I am part of a much larger CSR community than I perhaps see on a regular basis, and there is tremendous value in this fact.

Finally, there is no better time to be engaged in pursuits of potential positive impact. While we may be inspired by economic, environmental, and social developments to date, there is still no shortage of work to be done, connections to be made, and lives to be changed through education, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

What is most striking about the five points I have expressed above, is that they not only reflect my observations from a day at the BCCCC Conference, but my almost two year involvement with the Net Impact organization. Many of the moments that I found re-energizing and inspiring in today’s agenda, share the same qualities as those that first attracted me to Net Impact Boston and that have since had a very positive impact in my life. Check out the coverage of the conference at www.bcccc.org and visit www.netimpactboston.org to see if these same things resonate with you.

As always, there are a number of great NIB events lined up for this month, and I hope everyone will accept our invitation to join in the conversation, education, opportunity creation, and motivation of others to make a difference.
I look forward to seeing you soon back in Boston!

Kindest regards,
Holly

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