Highlights from Board Meeting 1 in Washington D.C.

Last week we wrapped up our first official CSR Board Meeting in Washington, D.C.

24 CSR leaders from 20 brands got together to talk about the things that are most important to their work right now.

We heard 5 Show & Tell presentations from CSR Board members, all senior CSR leaders at major companies.

They shared stories about projects they've led, challenges they've faced, what went well, what didn't work, and what they hope to do next. We heard from:

  • Carol Urton from Experian on how they decided to start an employee hardship fund, how they rolled it out, and the results they've seen so far.
  • Griffin Gonzalez at American Airlines on their Stand Up to Cancer name on a plane 2019 cause marketing campaign.
  • Chris Doucet with Ace Hardware on their private foundation's 28-year-old partnership with Children's Miracle Network and their major learnings from that work.
  • Melissa Hazelwood from Ferguson Enterprises on how they worked with the William & Mary School of Business to determine their key business impact measurements and key performance indicators for their philanthropic investments.
  • Lynn Quayle at Constellation Brands on how they tied their brand initiatives to their CSR strategy across their brand portfolio.

We also held four Member-Led Discussions where CSR Board members explored tough questions, shared experiences, and got help with specific challenges they're facing.

Discussions were with:

  • Sharon Vidal at Illumina on delivering a successful external CSR report.
  • Georgia-Pacific's Karen Cole on addressing tough or challenging topics that matter to employees.
  • Jon Hixson from Yum! Brands on dealing with investor social and sustainability demands.
  • Verizon's Steven Shaw on developing tomorrow's workforce in every community.

After the Member Led Discussions, we moved into an afternoon of fast-paced, intense conversations during the unconferences.

Members chose what was most important for them to talk about with their CSR Board tribe in a confidential setting. We covered a lot of ground — topics included:

  • Educating on the full scope of CSR: Creating awareness that CSR is more than just philanthropy, terminology, and sharing with leadership
  • Product stewardship: Tactical implementation of green product design
  • Partnering with NPOs and NGOs: Vetting, leveraging business relationships, and accountability
  • Optimum structure for a CSR team
  • Materiality assessments
  • ERGs and BRGs: Which do you use and what are your goals?
  • STEM education: Workforce inclusion, global partners, and measuring success
  • Climate strategies: Adopting science-based targets, data collection, and carbon offsets
  • Employee engagement: measurement, volunteer verification, and internal communications best practices
  • Creating seamless collaboration across teams

Here are the brands who were there: Ace Hardware, American Airlines, Bombardier Recreation Products, Brown-Forman, CDK Global, Constellation Brands, Experian, Fannie Mae, Ferguson Enterprises, Georgia-Pacific, Hertz, Illumina, MassMutual, Philip Morris International, Spectrum, Subaru, UnitedHealth Group, Verizon, Western Union, and Yum! Brands.

You won't want to miss the next opportunity to have face-to-face conversations with people like you at brands like yours. Stay tuned for information about our next meeting!