February 18, 2020

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2012 in Retrospect: 3 Trends That Will Shape How We Become Catalysts for Change in 2013

We’re all becoming ‘advoteers’ no matter how young, old, inspired or apathetic we might feel we are today.


Editor's Note: Like last year, we've assembled an impressive lineup of thought leaders and experts who will examine the year that was, guide us on what might be ahead and offer their advice on how our business, social and environmental consciousness continues to converge, in our end of the year CSR & Sustainability 2012 series. They will spotlight achievements, highlight trends and activate the change makers among us. Consider this series a call to action.

Today's editorial is by James Temple, Director of Corporate Responsibility at PwC Canada & aspiring dot connector. Here we go:


I don’t think I’m alone in saying that most people want to have a career with purpose. Most of us want to understand how our professional contributions are helping to address society’s challenges.  We want to understand how we’re part of something bigger, and how our work is aligned with our personal values and aspirations.

This sentiment is probably most associated with the industry’s perception about millennials (those born between 1980-2000) but it’s got me thinking about how we’re all becoming ‘advoteers’ no matter how young, old, inspired or apathetic we might feel we are today.

Each of us wants to be ‘part of it’: we all have an ability to become catalysts for change, highlighting the ways we can use our skills, voice, and relationships to work with others and influence activities that have a meaningful and measurable difference. 

If the news is telling us that the world is falling apart, public discussions on social media are telling us we’ve got to stand together and be the change.

Here are three trends I foresee us staying busy with in 2013. I hope that they will compel you to join the conversation:

1. Recent Graduates Remain Committed To CSR During Tumultuous Economic Times

In PwC’s most recent Millennials at Work survey, results indicated that the tough economic climate PwC millennials at work surveyhas forced many millennials to make compromises when finding a job – 72 percent feel they made some sort of trade-off to get work. That being said, almost 60 percent said that they would consider leaving a company if the organization’s corporate responsibility work didn’t align with their personal values. 

The strong conviction of this generation despite the current economic environment and the reality of today’s job security, is compelling and demonstrates critically the value of a strong CSR program at companies.

2: We’re Already ‘Part Of It,’ So Let Yourself Become A Storyteller & Tell The World Why

Last week I sat down with Fahad Meer - one of our firm’s student bloggers. He joined PwC in 2010 and asked us if he could share his ideas with readers. We made it happen, and I pulled the following quote from his blog. His advice personifies the authenticity behind how and why people are talking about their careers. And Meer has been a leader in sharing his views with new recruits ever since:

When I was in your shoes not too long ago, I was seeking answers to two important questions that would eventually decide which firm I would work for. The first question being “which firm is the best fit for me and my personality?” and the second “which firm would foster and further develop my passion to give back to the community?” The decision was quite simple once I found the answers to my questions:

Everyone has something to give, whether it is money, knowledge or even time to help someone out. It is not a matter of what to give but rather how to give it. Through the PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada Foundation alongside many other unique corporate social responsibility programs at the firm, the question of “how” becomes a question of “when.” For me, I found the answer to that question on May 25, 2010 when I became a proud Summer Intern.”

Fahad’s sentiments mirror my own career choices. I grew up watching the globalization movement unfold, the Internet develop, and the dot com bubble burst. I was disappointed in the lack of leadership that was being shown by corporations, and wanted to understand how I could be a social internships‘intrapreneur.’ As it ends up, I found my way into CSR and have built my career about making the connection between people’s values and ROI: return on integrity.

3: Start With What You’re Good At & Let The Dots Connect Themselves

We’ve all heard about how to strengthen collective impact or to embrace the ideas behind shared value. But I wonder if there’s a simpler way to say it: Just let the dots connect! 

For example, we all know that there is a need within the marketplace to support the not-for-profit community in strengthening governance practice to help enhance financial accountability. At PwC, we’ve been providing our employees with in-depth training related to not-for-profit board governance responsibilities and the role of the board treasurer – a powerful and skills-based role that many nonprofits can use.  Our solution has been to set ourselves a goal of helping get 200 accountants on not-for-profit boards over the next three years.

We aren’t going to try and define the results before we’ve got the ball rolling though.

It’s all about working through the process, letting the dots connect themselves, and empowering other people to share their skills and resources to make a difference in the way that works for them. During 2013, I’m going to be hosting a variety of round table discussions with other funders, government and not-for-profit leaders about how we can reduce power dynamics between sectors to help expedite social outcomes. I want to be next year’s advoteer for collective impact in action.      

How are you going to embrace your inner ‘advoteer’ in 2013 and become a catalyst for change? Join the conversation by leaving a comment, connecting with us on Twitter or emailing us at editor@csrwire.com.


Read the rest of our series: 2012 in Retrospect: CSR and Sustainability News, Views & Trends

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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