Rediscover

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Posts Tagged ‘Corporate Social Responsibility

How to be WWW (Wonder Woman at Work)

SNOBBY? Yes, sometimes, but mostly, when I work, I really work, as evident from this screenshot from a televised Asia-Pacific Economic Conference presser in 2015.

I vowed to have a new blog post every Monday.

The past three weeks though were chaotic. And all for the good reasons. That my blogging is not on schedule.

Yours truly is working with three clients at the moment for four projects (I have two projects with one client).

The following are my current roles:

  • I am media consultant for a  universal bank’s corporate responsibility initiatives in the country
  • I am also consulting editor for a multinational professional services firm’s foreign-funded project in the Philippines
  • I am project / manager and executive editor for a book project of one of the country’s fast rising entrepreneurs
  • I am communications consultant for personal branding and social media management of that same entrepreneur

I am very thankful for the trust of these clients. My years of work as a business editor was the main reason why I have these opportunities now (for one, I applied for the consulting editor position and my editorial experience proved valuable for the role).

Networking also proves valuable. (I got the book project and the communications job through my former columnist, who happens to be a friend of this entrepreneur. And I would not know about it if I did not show up in this columnist’s event where my Italian friend’s company is one of the major sponsors. And the Italian invited me to be there. I e-introduced the columnist and the Italian early this year.)

My social media presence also helped me to stay in touch with my connections even if I have been out of the media job for four months now. I got the bank project because one of its officials reached out to me via LinkedIn, and asked me if I would be interested (and approvals needed to be secured for this to happen).

Thus as their consultant, I see to it to be on top of their needs. They have different needs that require my expertise. A balancing act on my part indeed.

Consultant vs Freelancer

First, the definitions.

When I was younger and starting to make a name as a business journalist / editor, I was freelancing (of course, with knowledge of my bosses then from my full-time jobs), mainly working on a story or press release basis, until the next similar assignment comes along. These are mostly non-competing with my companies or not similar with what I was doing as a full-time writer / editor.

But over the years, I have accumulated experience across media (from print to online); branding, corporate communications, marketing, sales support (through IBM); social media management (through Rappler.com and entrepreneur.com.ph). I, with help of course, learned what works and what not. I have learned to identify what a client needs versus his / her wants in line with his / her communication requirements.

And such, in a nutshell, makes me now qualified as a consultant because the clients look for detailed guidance on a particular area, which I may have the expertise they need. The projects are more extensive and there could be “mini-projects” within these projects. And a consultancy could be long-term  or an ongoing commitment, again, depending on the client’s need. In some cases, a consultancy could lead to a more permanent employment.

Balancing act

Now, how do I attend to all the requirements of my clients? These three are my basics:

Be honest

They know that I am looking for something temporary where I can contribute my expertise, as I am still looking forward to return to a more regular corporate, executive-level job. They know as well that they are not my only client. As a personal rule and out of decency of course, I do not take in a client that has a similar or competing interest with my current clients.

Prioritize 

At the onset of a new week, I start a weekly email thread with each of my clients (except for one which has no need for this). I detail in the thread what are the pending tasks on my end from the previous week; follow up on tasks or deliverables from their end.

I also inform them as well what is my schedule for the week (there are clients who are quick to set a meeting with me, and the likes). Thus, the remaining client/s, unfortunately or not for them, have to do with whatever schedule I am free.

If they need to get in touch with me urgently, I also advise them of my soonest available time to take their call (as on most days, I am in meetings and traveling from one client office to another).

There were occasions as well that a client would cancel at a short notice and would want to meet ASAP (they probably forgot that I already informed them of my schedule for the week). So I have to gently remind them that this is my week’s schedule so far, and if they are OK, meet instead on a weekend (but as much as possible, we confine the work on weekdays).

Eat the ugliest frog

There are clients who have very urgent and important tasks, meaning, a matter of life and death for them. So I will review it ASAP (I have become a pro in using my iPhone 6S for emails and documents), and work on it as soon as I can.

I attend to such tasks from each clients depending on which is needed soonest or which is the most difficult thing to do — a time management hack of eating the ugliest frog first (in real life, I do not like frogs though).

Still normal

Overall, there are days that are relatively normal. There are days that are crazy. But work is work and I have been known to be a professional and a task master so I deliver quality outputs by always going an extra mile.

Thank heavens not only for these opportunities, but also for heaven-sent people (family, friends) who understand the demands of my job (way back when I was an editor).

I am blessed as well that I have a very patient date, who in the past days was cool to wait for me until I am done; who understands that for my caliber, work is work; and truly understands my work and my lifestyle because he has busier work and lifestyle than I am. That when we are done with our work for the day, we treasure and spend our time together really well.

So, if I can do all these, so can you. We can all be wonder women and men if we know what matters to us, to the people we work with, and to those who are for us and with us no matter what.

Email ma.lynda.corpuz[a]gmail.com for feedback.

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REDISCOVER Corporate Social Responsibility

Whether as an aid to human resources, to manage risk, to differentiate a brand, or as a license to operate, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been proven that it is beyond a fancy term. While there are still criticizing its real cause, it is undeniable that successful CSR efforts truly make a positive impact.

In recent years, hitting the triple bottom line (TBL) or the “three pillars” — people, planet, and profit — became the model for CSR initiatives, an accountability of sorts, a commitment to some form of TBL reporting aligned with the United Nations and ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) TBL standard for urban and community accounting.

Cascade such big ticket words to the workforce, and most employees would say CSR is about their company’s effort to help the country or the community where they operate. It is also an opportunity for them to socialize – to meet other employees, especially if they work in a company that has various offices and remote workforce. Above all, it is an opportunity for them to help worthy causes and initiatives they are truly passionate about.

Corporate Responsibility: An Integral Part of Corporate Culture

For IBM, corporate responsibility is an integral part of their corporate culture. The 101-year-old company has outlined the following corporate responsibility thrusts: identify and act upon new opportunities to apply their technology and expertise to societal problems; scale their existing programs and initiatives to achieve maximum benefit; empower their employees and others to serve their communities; and integrate corporate citizenship and social responsibility into every aspect of the company.

Among such thrusts, empowering the employees and others to serve their communities was particularly highlighted during the company’s 2011’s Centennial Celebration of Service, wherein more than 300,000 IBMers participated in the activities, resulting in 3.2 million hours of community-based service in 120 countries.

In its IBM Corporate Responsibility Report for 2011, the company explains that when IBMers embarked on an historic effort to volunteer millions of hours of service throughout last year, they were careful to measure the results, citing that the company believe that the best way to give back to the many communities in which their employees live and work is to apply their skills to specific societal challenges.

In its service breakdown, 27% were serviced for education, 26% went to Human Resources, and 23% to community and economic development. Globally, North America clocked in 1,955,808 hours of services, Asia with 519,707 hours, and Europe with 400,054 hours.

The report also highlights IBMers helping to build Smarter Cities, through such efforts as the Smarter Cities Challenge, which so far provided USD50 million in competitive grants to send teams of talented IBMers to help transform 100 cities around the world. IBMers are also helping to re-imagine education, as with the innovative P-TECH high school in Brooklyn, New York, a breakthrough six-year model already spreading to other cities and influencing the national debate. Another very engaging effort of the company is the Corporate Service Corps, which deploy teams of high-potential IBMers in developing markets in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe to make communities smarter and more sustainable, while deepening the global skills of IBM’s future leaders.

Volunteering as “One”

IBM in the Philippines also held activities in line with the company’s Centennial Celebration of Service. In July 2011, the company supported the second phase of the “Save the La Mesa Watershed Project” of Bantay Kalikasan (ABS-CBN Foundation’s environmental arm) by adopting 800 trees. IBMers also participated in an environmental awareness briefing and ‘eco – amazing race’ activity to better understand, protect, and maintain the La Mesa Watershed.

Ready. This author and other IBMers participated in last year’s Big Blue Jungle, an activity in line with the company’s 2011’s Centennial Celebration of Service.

Learning. IBMers are taught to ready their saplings for planting.

Planting now.

As IBM celebrated its 75th year in the Philippines on July 20, 2012, the company held various corporate responsibility activities focusing on education.

It kicked off on July 19 with Voices for a Cause, which part of the proceeds from selling tee-ket (75th anniversary edition t-shirt) will go to 10 MOVES, a program by the Department of Education that aims to build 10,000 classrooms nationwide in a span of 10 months.

Kick-off. IBM Philippines 75th anniversary eve held Voices for a Cause, a benefit concert.

Full house. IBMers filling the venue for Voices for a Cause, a benefit concert.

Despite the heavy downpour brought by tropical depression Freddie, IBMers still banded for the One IBM Service Marathon for Education held last Saturday, July 21. IBMers were deployed across and beyond Metro Manila to help various programs that aim to better the state of education for the Filipino youth, in and out of school.  Activities included Mentoring (Iskul Blue-Kool); rehabilitation and refurbishment of classrooms/school grounds (Brigada Eskwela); outreach for streetchildren in Cavite (Kariton Klasrum); Reading Program (Read to Lead); and KidSmart turnover to select public schools and non-governmental organization.

Citing such efforts, and for a corporate responsibility effort to soar, “business, in particular, must seize the initiative,” IBM President and CEO Virginia Rommety writes in the company’s Corporate Responsibility Report for 2011. “We must not wait for government mandates. We must be active in convening all sectors of society to solve problems that none can solve on their own. We must energize our own resources — not just financial, but also human. Most crucially, we must create corporate citizenship and business strategies that are not merely ‘linked,’ but ‘one.’”

*Big Blue Jungle photos by IBMer Malou Sotto. Voices for a Cause photos by the author.

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