2021 purpose
resolutions

are we
there yet?...

As we close this very long chapter called 2020 and turn a new page into the new year, we look back on the personal and professional challenges we’ve faced and the impact they’ve had on CSR and social purpose leaders throughout the industry. In reality, the pandemic has created a dramatic workday shift for most, causing the personal and professional lines to blur more than ever before.

 

With significant experiences, challenges and learnings from 2020 in mind, we asked a handful of purpose-driven leaders from brands and nonprofits to share one change or goal they are seeking to make in the new year. We are inspired by these powerful purposeful resolutions and are confident they will encourage others to consider intentions for 2021 and beyond…

Hannah Koski,
Head of Sustainability & Social Impact,
Blue Apron

2020 has made evident that systemic inequities are deeply woven into the fabric of our institutions and society. It has also shown us that we are interconnected, and as vulnerable as the most vulnerable among us, especially in the food industry – an industry I have worked in for over a decade. Our wellbeing is collective, and our work toward social impact must be, as well. In 2021, my resolution is to set aside time to collaborate with people across sectors and within my network to openly share our knowledge and experience to find new, actionable opportunities to make meaningful change.

Christine Riley Miller,
Director of Sustainability,
Samsonite, LLC.

The enhanced, enforced isolation brought on by nine months of living through a pandemic has opened my eyes to the importance of community. I realize how often I took for granted the casual conversations with family, friends, colleagues and even strangers. I understand more clearly those very strong, invisible and often overlooked connections that were initiated and cultivated through regular, in-person, business and social gatherings. I discovered that I actually miss crowded spaces, loud and boisterous crowds, standing room only meetings and events. Moving into 2020, I am committed to finding ways to more effectively cultivate community in my life and engage in very intentional behaviors that will contribute to building more meaningful connections as we transition from this virtual world into a reimagined real world.

Anne Tremblay,
Communications Lead,
Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to be flexible, creative and more resourceful than ever. My purpose resolution for 2021 is to approach projects and goals with the same out-of-the-box thinking that 2020 required. 

Questions that will stay top of mind: Does our giving and impact continue to meet the highest need, or do we need to redirect, even temporarily? How can we create meaningful employee engagement opportunities during a pandemic? What can be virtual from now on, and what should pivot back to in person when the time comes?

Dan Goldenberg,
Executive Director,
Call of Duty Endowment

There has been a great deal of pressure on major donors this year to relent on accountability measures when funding non-profits during the pandemic. I strongly disagree with this approach. The thinking behind this notion is that in times of great stress, like a pandemic, funders should “lay off” or lighten the load they place on non-profits. This is completely misplaced and wrong.

Even in the best of times, funders should always respect the time of their grantees and never ask for more information than they need to make decisions that drive high performance social impact. We’ve always done that, and therefore did not relent one iota on our information requests to grantees. The results speak for themselves. 2020 will mark our most successful single impact year across our decade of operations, having funded the most veteran job placements annually in the highest quality positions in an incredibly tough job market. We won’t back down, and if your metrics request are correctly calibrated, neither should you.

Jill Davis,
Chief Revenue Officer,
Share Our Strength

My 2021 Purpose Resolution is to
Double Down On Our Mission.

You may be saying, well that is so obvious! What is new about that? As our country continues to grapple with the coronavirus, one thing is clear: children across the U.S. are facing hunger at rates not seen in recent memory. Many families are needing help for the first time, while those already in difficult situations are struggling. No Kid Hungry has a plan to help feed them.

We have a real opportunity to make No Kid Hungry a reality and it is critical that we do that grounded in our core values. These aren’t just words on a page for us, but imperatives that are critical to our mission. My resolution is to lead and work with my colleagues to actively engage – and sometimes struggle – with how to exemplify these values in everything we do together. Our core values: Be Bold. Mobilize Strengths. Demand Diversity. Drive Innovation. Inspire Fun.

Chase Wagner,
Director, Corporate Responsibility,
H&R BLOCK

My 2021 Purpose Resolution is to be more intentional in maintaining personal connections. According to SocialPro, one-third of American adults are feeling lonelier than usual since the pandemic began and we know there are significant health consequences related to loneliness — it can be the same as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

While it may not be the same as grabbing a coffee or traveling to see family or friends; I resolve to reach out and make sure the people I know and have yet to meet hear from me and are better connected to me. I can do a better job of finding ways to connect and bridge the COVID divide. If I’m successful, perhaps we’ll all be a little more resilient and come out on the other side of 2021 better off.

Stuart Brown,
Executive Director,
Inspire Brands Foundation

Vision leaks. I have heard this for years. When life gets busy, complicated or both, vision is easily pushed aside for spreadsheets, presentation decks and meetings. If this happens consistently enough, the next things to fall are clarity, energy and effectiveness. With that as context, my resolution is to incorporate vision into as many meetings, presentations and communications as possible. Vision creates the target for a team to aim at, and the clarity needed for all to move in the same direction. Clarity, in turn, is energizing for team members and a catalyst for overall organizational effectiveness. So, sign me up for a more intentional focus on vision in 2021.

Ashley Phillips,
Director of Communications,
Lubetzky Family Foundation

My 2021 purpose resolution is to read more books. Of course it’s useful to talk to field leaders, academic experts and organizations on the ground doing the work. Their best practices help guide the rest of us forward. But books also house tremendous knowledge. There is a growing pile on my desk including: Blessed Are the Organized (Jeffrey Stout); The Fabric of Character (Anne Snyder); Our Towns (Deborah and James Fallows); Polarity Management (Barry Johnson); Believe in People (Brian Hooks and Charles Koch); The Uninhabitable Earth (David Wallace-Wells); Absolutely American (David Lipsky); Critical Thinking (Jonathan Haber); and On Identity (Amin Maalouf). Hopefully each book will teach me something different and relevant to my work at Lubetzky Family Foundation, where we are focused on building bridges between people, and at the very least they will keep me entertained during a long pandemic winter.

Claudia Prado,
Director, Community Empowerment
Univision Communications

This has been a challenging year for all families around the country and in the world, but it has also been a year in which social good causes have been at the forefront leading change. In the midst of one of the deadliest pandemics in history, we voted in record numbers to elect the next president of the United States and local government officials, we participated in a once-every-decade census and mobilized an entire country to take action on social justice and diversity issues.

As I look forward to 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to disproportionately affect families of color. That’s why my purpose resolution is to collaborate with industry leaders and community influencers to fight misinformation and create awareness around the Covid-19 vaccine among underrepresented communities.

Jodi Patkin,
Vice President, Brand Marketing,
theSkimm

My 2021 purpose resolution is to keep up the momentum.

In 2016, we helped 100,000 Skimm’rs register to vote. In 2018, 200,000 people voted with theSkimm. And this year, we launched Skimm2020, a non-partisan initiative focused on providing the information and tools millennial women needed to cast their ballot with confidence in one of the most unprecedented elections in our history. And we partnered with more than 30 organizations across the nonprofit and corporate space to share our info and tools with as many eligible voters as possible.

Our audience and our partners took action — they registered, they requested and cast absentee ballots, they voted early, they signed up to be poll workers, they texted, they posted and they contributed to the historic voter turnout.

As we look ahead to next year, I’m making a commitment to social impact – beyond our incredible work during election cycles – through strategic partnerships, campaigns and events that continue to empower our audience and our employees to take action.

Courtney Hadden,
Senior Program Manager, Corporate Sustainability
Akamai Technologies

My purpose resolution for 2021 is to engage our employees more in the areas they’re most passionate about. I want to get a better understanding of where their interests lie and how I can help them to feel more connected to giving back, while achieving our company objectives.

Janelle Lin,
SVP, Partnerships & Business Development,
DonorsChoose.org

My 2021 purpose resolution is to synthesize our learnings during COVID so that we can help to jumpstart the next era post-COVID, and not snap back to business as usual.

Marty Posch,
President
JD Sports / Finish Line Youth Foundation

 

In 2021 we are going to be listening more. We are going to be listening to our employees, our customers and each other more. Even in the world of philanthropy we tend to find ourselves in a silo no different than other aspects of the company. That was a big challenge this year. Being in this silo of ZOOM it forced us to communicate and listen more than others and it has helped transform the foundation into huge successes for 2020 and even greater impact in 2021.

Meagan Dorsch,
Head of Social Good,
Visible

I have a few purpose resolutions for 2021, all based on what 2020 has taught me about strength, self- care, and how our lives are more interconnected than ever before.

Learning through Listening
2020 has taught me a lot about what I didn’t know or what I thought I knew. I have learned I’m ignorant about many things and by listening to my colleagues, mentors, friends and community partners, I will continue to learn what it means to be an ally and partner in the community.

Redefining Community
I was moved to tears several times this year by how people showed up for one another and came together. There is power and strength in numbers and we need to rethink how our company, employees and customers can come together to find solutions. Together is the only way we are going to change the world!

Continue Self-Care
2020 has taken a toll on every facet of our lives, and I hope to continue investing in my health and wellness. Whether it’s taking the 90 minutes a day our company offers for mental health or repurposing my “commute” time in the morning and afternoon to focus on exercise, meditate or read, I will continue to prioritize my own health and wellness.

Elyse Cohen,
VP, Social Impact
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez

As we close out 2020 (the year of Rare Beauty’s launch), and welcome in 2021, we seek new partners to join our efforts and commitments around addressing mental health, with a specific focus on underserved communities.

Mental illness impacts one in five adults in the United States each year. The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the challenges in mental health and catapulted the need to address these long-standing societal issues, making it now, more important than ever, to provide awareness, action, and support for resources.

For Rare Beauty, the mission-driven beauty brand founded by Selena Gomez, addressing mental health and chronic loneliness have been at the center since day one – from the products we make to the community we engage and the issues we support. Selena’s been open about her own mental health struggles and wanted her company to create products and conversations that celebrate what makes people unique, and to take it beyond physical products to truly address mental health. That mentality has been woven into the DNA of Rare Beauty – which is why the company launched The Rare Impact Fund even before Rare Beauty sold their first products.

The Rare Impact Fund has a goal of raising $100 million in ten years in support of mental health and we are looking for other partners who share in our mission.

Lauren Lawson-Zilai,
Senior Director, Public Relations
Goodwill Industries International

My purpose resolution is using my voice for change management. The uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has helped us to recognize leadership and employee sentiments and explore new ways of working for business continuity. At a time when we have seen layoffs, devastating health crises impacting loved ones or families of personal or professional contacts, and economic uncertainties, I have questioned my capacity, my limitations and my wellbeing as well as those of my colleagues. Additionally, it has forced me to ensure employees are seen and heard but also question our approach to campaigns, plans and processes. Change management cannot occur unless you advocate for others and raise your voice. In that same vein, I intend to lead with compassion for my team at Goodwill Industries International and the communities we serve as the world’s leading workforce development provider, as well my board colleagues, and ensure that I am consistently connecting and communicating with them. As the pandemic and social and civic challenges have brought new challenges to business, I am intent on fostering collaboration and ensuring everyone has equitable opportunities and that Goodwill® and any organizations I’m affiliated with are more progressive and market-driven, and that diversity, equity, inclusion, and allyship are all priorities. As the incoming president of PRSA NCC, the larger chapter in the U.S., I am establishing the organization’s first-ever Advisory Council with that exact focus in mind.

Finally, I want to put a renewed focus on engaging, empowering and upskilling disadvantaged populations. The past few months have been a critical time, with women leaving the workforce in droves. I want to work with the right thought leaders in both a professional and personal capacity to evolve gender relations and organizational cultures in the workplace. As a business imperative that boosts the bottom line, companies and organizations won’t be able to speak effectively to their audiences without women at the table. I recently joined the networking group, HeyMama, with that in mind. HeyMama is a social and professional membership network created to propel women — entrepreneurs, working professionals, etc. — forward in work and in life. To close the gap, women must network, find cross-promotional and networking opportunities. We need both a women’s network and a gender-integrated network. This means building a community at a time when that community is most needed. I intend to continue to dedicate my time to building a strong network, thus making a personal investment in myself while offering my support, mentorship and resources to women who may need it.

Ashley Gravlee,
Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility
Novelis, Inc.

While 2020 will go down in our history as a year full of immense challenges, I am looking to 2021 as a year of transformation. We will still be facing the same challenges such as remote work, lack of a true sense of community we gain through social gatherings and volunteerism and economic hardships. While this is taking a toll on all of us, the impact is certainly disproportionate in vulnerable communities. However, I am a firm believer that with great challenges come opportunities for unleashing ingenuity. And since ingenuity is often inspired by various viewpoints and perspectives, 2021 will be a year where I’ll be keenly focused on inviting collaboration with Novelis business partners up and down the supply chain, together with non-profit partners and our colleagues, to create and bolster sustainable solutions to some of our most pressing community needs. At Novelis, this vision of collaboration to advance good is best expressed through our company purpose of Shaping a Sustainable World Together. Together we are better, and together we can transform. Here’s to a transformative 2021!

Kathleen Owsley,
President,
Bosch Community Fund

I’d like for our team to feel empowered to spend more time in preparation for community discussions and to be more deliberate in encouraging and supporting our partners’ input as it relates to their needs, goals and obstacles. Now more than ever, I am convinced that the funding we provide is only one piece of the puzzle—our partnership, our ability to connect our partners and to shine a light on their work is, arguably, just as important as the grant itself.

Amy Wendel,
Director & Global Head of Corporate Responsibility
LogMeIn

As LogMeIn moves to a remote-centric working model, I am looking at how our ESG/ CSR programs will continue to evolve in 2021 and beyond. Additionally, our nearly 4,000 global employees are incredibly passionate about social and environmental issues and in a work-from-anywhere-era, employee engagement opportunities naturally shift. LogMeIn will continue to support organizations and programs in local markets in which we operate, but this opportunity opens up a new dialogue. With 2020 behind us, and many impactful and positive initiatives under our belt, we are excited to tackle our new year’s “purpose resolution”.

Jonathon R. Pearson,
Executive Director, Corporate Social Responsibility
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

 

The importance of building strong and mutually beneficial relationships with key opinion leaders and stakeholders, particularly during this time, is more significant in helping achieve success and meeting your goals and objectives. Collaboration with nonprofits, business associations, community-based and provider organizations drive innovation and programs to improve the health of our members and all communities we serve.

Allison Hill,
Head of Diversity&Social Responsibility,
Roark Capital Group

2020 taught me a lot of things, with the most impactful being the ability to intersect all facets of our lives. As we became more unified as family units with quarantines and new behaviors, it also gave tremendous insight into how our roles as social responsibility leaders can extend into society more holistically. Mid 2020, I was asked to Chair the President’s Council of Cornell Women’s new DEI committee. Next, my daughter’s coach asked for help with how to approach social justice issues. It opened my eyes to how transferrable our work is even in service organizations, volunteering or providing an ear. I love being able to reach a broader audience than what we see even within our professional purview.

My purpose resolution for 2021 is to actively seek vs. react to opportunities to share the knowledge of our social responsibility roles more broadly. Starting an ally group at our kids school? Sharing knowledge with written articles or speaking engagements with smaller companies? Assisting our non-profit partners with their DEI plans? In turn, we learn quite a bit more about the world and how to make our work better, stronger and more sustainable. Like many, can’t wait for 2021!

Carolyn Berkowitz,
President & CEO
Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals (ACCP)

The corporate citizenship profession has been profoundly changed by the three crises of 2020 – COVID-19, the resulting economic downturn, and the reckoning with racial injustice. Funding priorities are shifting, expectations from senior leaders are at an all-time high, and strategies regarding corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability are aligning. As we enter 2021, ACCP will continue to champion our members’ impact, support corporate citizenship professionals as they work to catalyze change in their companies and communities, and challenge and guide them to advance racial equity.

Adam Vasallo
Chief Development Officer
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, we believe in the power of relationships and connection. Throughout 2020, I have continued to be inspired by the youth, families and volunteer mentors who power our mission. In the face of so much disruption, their resilience has been a light. The unprecedented challenges we have all faced this year will continue to require out-of-the box thinking in 2021. Across the United States, social impact organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America are committed to breaking down societal barriers, closing opportunity gaps and overcoming adversities like poverty and identity based discrimination. Our collective response as a field should be multilayered and unified because the events of 2020 have impacted every facet of life for the families and communities we serve together.

In 2021, my purpose resolution is to team up with organizations and brands that share our vision to ensure all youth achieve their full potential. 2020 has reinforced the importance of connections to all Americans. In 2021, banding together and harnessing the power of our relationships will be a key to our recovery.

wishing you a
happy new year!

Melanie Newell
Senior Vice President, Rocket Social Impact
melanie@rocketsocialimpact.com