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17th Annual Employee Engagement Summit Tackles Tough Topics and Inspires Action

More than 135 leaders from companies including American Express, Best Buy, Campbell Soup Company, the Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, and PwC US joined forces at the 2018 Charities@Work Employee Engagement Summit to drive greater social impact

Published 07-16-18

Submitted by Charities@Work

This year’s new Charities@Work preconference peer-learning workshop brought a sold-out crowd to PwC in New York City on June 27, where CSR experts and newcomers shared fresh ideas for success and aligning efforts with business objectives.

“The expectations and awareness in the CSR field have grown considerably in the past several years,” said Heather Lofkin Wright, Director, Responsible Business Leadership, PwC US. “Today’s practitioners can make the biggest impact if they lead with intention and purpose and learn from each other. I’m glad we could host this strong group of leaders for this important dialogue.”

An even larger group of leading global companies gathered at the annual Employee Engagement Summit on June 28 for frank conversations where everyone had a voice. Top trends discussed included keeping it real with authentic communications; understanding the corporate imperative to speak up on social issues and ignite employee activism; moving beyond numbers to impact; and aligning employee engagement and CSR efforts with business objectives. 

Andrew Davis, Global Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Coca-Cola Company, kicked off the Summit, challenging companies to address today’s social issues head on and unlock the power of people. “By saying nothing, that’s a message,” said Davis. “Companies must make a stand. This is the new normal. Employees are no longer checking their conscience at the door.” Davis also discussed leveraging business resource groups and diversity and inclusion initiatives to drive company growth and continued success.

Representatives from Campbell Soup Company shared how they engage employees through purpose-inspired communications, leveraging storytelling and internal platforms like Workplace by Facebook, Instagram takeovers, and employee crowdsourcing campaigns to explore new ideas and ensure authenticity and two-way communication. The results? A more than 234% increase in employee comments and 121% increase in views on their internal platform alone, reported Megan Maltenfort, Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Jackie Lagratta, Integrated Digital Marketing Manager, Campbell Soup Company. 

Many companies discussed the move to focus on tangible impact versus numbers. “It’s about lifelong learning and supporting the passions of our people. It’s not about the number of hours your employees volunteer anymore,” said Jennifer Flynn, Executive Director of Citizenship at KPMG LLP. “It’s about the impact you can have.”

Michael Bzdak, Global Director of Employee Engagement in the Office of Global Community Impact at Johnson & Johnson, shared the importance of “collaborative glue” in partnerships to monitor, measure, and sustain progress. “The next time a team leader says they want to tack a three-hour skills-based project to an upcoming meeting, don’t burden a nonprofit if it won’t help them,” said Bzdak. “Instead, task that employee group with ideation and problem solving for your own CSR initiatives.”

Attendees broke into workshops to delve deeper into connecting social issues and employee engagement with brand, led by Best Buy, as well as a panel on how to engage harder-to-reach employees through skilled-based volunteerism, hosted by Common Impact, John Hancock Financial, JPMorgan Chase, Marriott International, and Wells Fargo. “Through volunteering, companies have the opportunity to develop employee skills and acquire talent by serving communities where they do business,” said Jerome Tennille, Manager of Volunteerism at Marriott International.

Matthew Nelson, CVP Corporate Responsibility, New York Life Insurance Company, served as Summit emcee. He joined Tiffany Calderon, Senior Manager, Community Relations, Best Buy; Michael Carren, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, The Guardian Life Insurance Company; Heather Lofkin Wright, Director, Responsible Business Leadership, PwC US; Katherine Friesz, Executive Director, Winnebago Foundation and Corporate Responsibility, Winnebago Industries; and Peter Dudley, Corporate Social Responsibility Executive, most recently with Wells Fargo, as faculty for the preconference peer-learning workshop.

The 2018 Employee Engagement Summit was the 17th annual conference hosted by the founding partners of Charities@Work: America’s Charities, Community Health Charities, EarthShare and Global Impact.

Check out the preconference and Summit presentations, resources, photos, interviews, news, and more:  

Many thanks to generous Summit sponsors:

Pre-Conference Sponsor 

Summit Networking Event Sponsor 
Wells Fargo 

Gold Sponsors
Best Buy
The Guardian Life Insurance Company
New York Life Insurance Company

Silver Sponsors
American Express
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bronze Sponsors
Berkshire Bank
Bright Funds
Group Sales, Inc.
Realized Worth

About Charities@Work
Charities@Work bridges the corporate and nonprofit sectors to achieve greater social impact. Charities@Work is an alliance of four nonprofit organizations – America’s Charities, Community Health Charities, EarthShare and Global Impact – that collectively represent more than 3,000 of the leading health, environmental, international development, and community nonprofits making a difference in the U.S. and around the world today. These four nonprofits exist to facilitate interaction and partnerships between charities, companies, and their employees for meaningful outcomes and impact for all.

Charities@Work logo



Charities@Work is an alliance of three nonprofit organizations—Community Heath Charities, EarthShare, Global Impact—that collectively represent more than 3,000 of the leading health, environmental, international development, and community nonprofits making a difference in the U.S. and around the world today. Their members include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, UNICEF USA, the Nature Conservancy, and many other powerful, passionate and committed causes. The Charities@Work alliance bridges corporations and nonprofits for greater social impact.

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