Activate with Impact Webinar Recap: Unlocking Leadership Support

Activate with Impact Webinar Recap: Unlocking Leadership Support
Activate with Impact Webinar Recap: Unlocking Leadership Support
May 24, 2024
Employee Engagement

WizeHive’s Chief Influencer of Social Impact and Engagement, Ben Sampson, recently hosted an insightful webinar on how to get leadership buy-in and support for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social impact programs. The webinar featured Associate Director of Philanthropy and Sponsorships John Altieri from Sun Life and Corporate Global Community Engagement leader Neki Catron from Sylvamo sharing strategies for driving social impact initiatives forward through leadership buy-in.

The Journey into CSR Roles

Altieri and Catron opened by sharing their unique career journeys that led them into CSR leadership roles. Catron started in nonprofits doing counseling and fundraising work before transitioning into developing CSR programs for companies like a casino group and later Sylvamo. Altieri interned with the Boston Bruins Foundation in college, sparking his passion for community impact before taking roles at nonprofits and then joining Sun Life's CSR team.

Getting Leadership Involvement 

Both emphasized the importance of getting company leaders actively involved and invested in CSR efforts. At Sun Life, Altieri works closely with leaders to include them in program planning, events, nonprofit board participation, and employee volunteering. He hosts orientations for new executives to align on the CSR strategy.

At Sylvamo, Catron extensively partners with the leadership team, educating them on community data and needs. She ensures that at least one leader attends all volunteer events. Sylvamo's CSR goals are embedded into the company's objectives, solidifying leadership's commitment.

Making the Case with Data

A key way Altieri and Catron gain leadership buy-in is by presenting data that resonates with leaders' priorities. This includes employee survey data showing a desire for CSR involvement, which aids recruitment, retention, and culture. It also includes mapping CSR focus areas to core business objectives around healthcare access, community engagement, cost savings, and more.

Overcoming "Too Busy" Objections

When faced with the common objection that leaders are too busy, Altieri and Catron emphasized finding creative ways to make involvement easy and automatic. This included piggybacking CSR activations onto existing leadership meetings, embedding volunteer events into conference agendas, and heavy coordination with executive assistants for scheduling.

The Strategic Imperative of Leadership Buy-In

Overall, the webinar provided invaluable insights into gaining leadership commitment to social impact as a strategic imperative and then continually integrating leaders throughout program execution. Persistent education, data-focused storylines, and skillful planning for easy participation were highlighted as key ingredients for success.

This is the first in our webinar series Activate with Impact - follow us on social media to hear when registration opens for our next episode! Want to meet with one of our implementation experts and learn more about powering your social impact programs? Book a demo now!