Four Burning Questions for the 2016 Annual Summit

This blog post is part one of a two part series where I asked myself key questions going into the Charities@Work Annual Summit, and following the event I will post about the key takeaways that might help me answer these questions.

Like so many people today, I have a lot on my mind. Personally, I’m thinking about what kind of planet will my children inherit, if they’ll be able to afford college and will they be prepared for the job market of the future?  When it comes to work and the topic of employee engagement, I’m constantly asking myself, “Am I pushing the envelope and stretching beyond, ‘how we’ve always done it,’ to whether we are maximizing our potential?”

With the Charities@Work Annual Summit only a few weeks away, I’m eagerly looking forward to connecting with some of the forward-thinking minds in the industry to debate priorities and industry practices as we each strive to own our purpose in the corporate sector in these rapidly changing times. There is an increasing urgency for us as corporate responsibility professionals to make it easy for our people – who are busy and pulled in multiple directions – to give back in meaningful ways, to be able to link their efforts to true impact addressing global needs, and to find shared value in that journey.

As fortune would have it, this urgency comes at a time when we can be opportunistic and positively leverage a number of factors in society. Nonprofits and businesses can finally find impact measurement alignment around common sustainable development goals. The forecast of a millennial dominated workforce – who look for employers with corporate social responsibility values that match their own – is no longer theoretical. And digital natives have joined the workforce, reshaping how we approach the use of technology in our efforts.

My stakeholders are the partners, principals and staff of PwC US who give generously of their time, money and skills each year. They increasingly ask me what else they can do to advance education, end hunger, cure cancer, address student loan debt or support veterans transitioning into the workforce. They also want to know how they can better support each others’ efforts and know if we are making a difference – as individuals and collectively.

But I have questions for them too – if I build it, will you come?

Are the current trends in giving back here to stay? Will you abandon me for solutions you find outside of the workplace? What will compel you to give time and time again?

As we head into the Charities@Work Annual Summit, I have four burning questions:

  1. How do we move intention to action?
  2. How do we measure the effect?
  3. How do we recognize – across generations – the contributions of individuals in not only moving the needle, but in each action of giving, helping create a snowball effect in addressing society’s greatest needs?
  4. And last but not least, I’m asking myself what did you learn regarding engaging the workforce – tomorrow’s and today’s – in leveraging the organizational power of the workplace in making sustainable impact?


I hope you’ll join me and others for the Charities@Work conference in March in New York as I seek answers to these questions, and revisit this page in April when I respond to them.