Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives with a High Return

On Thursday, April 30, 2015, the BABC of Greater Philadelphia Young Professionals Group (YPG) hosted their fourth annual panel discussion about a top-of-mind topic.  This year’s focus was on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and the increasing significance this subject plays in the business environment.  The back room of Philadelphia’s famous whiskey and go go bar – The Trestle Inn – owned and managed the BABC’s very own Marketing & Communications Chairman Ian Cross, was filled to capacity with more than 50 attendees.  Program participants included those who are passionate about the subject matter, and are committed to supporting the local underserved community and the environment.

During the past two decades CSR has evolved as an important area for everyone to be aware of and involved in as they conduct themselves in both their professional and personal lives.  Moderator, Jason Gosselin, BABC Board Member, and Chair of Drinker, Biddle & Reath’s Life Insurance and Annuities Practice Group remarked about the difference between recent college graduates interviewing for jobs and his own experience entering the work force.  Today people are notably committed to and interested in working for entities that support CSR initiatives.

The five panelists informally discussed how their companies embrace CSR.  John Cerrone, RFP Associate, Business Development Team, Aberdeen Asset Management talked about Aberdeen’s Foundation and the Company’s focus on children, education, and the needs of the local community where Aberdeen operates, and throughout the globe.  Nicole Koedyker, VP of Values & Impact, MilkCrate explained how her family cattle ranch ignited her passion and spirit for environmental responsibility.  She co-founded Forsei Consulting, a social and environmental consulting firm based in Philadelphia and is VP of Values and Impact for MilkCrate, an app that connects consumers to local, sustainable choices.  Ahsiya Mencin, Director, PULSE Volunteer Partnership, Talent, Leadership and OD Centre of Excellence, GlaxoSmithKline PLC presented the Company’s four pillar approach to CSR: “Health for All, Our Behavior, Our People, and Our Planet.”  Douglas Oliver, former senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications for Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), and current Philadelphia mayoral candidate spoke about PGW’s business development and emerging markets efforts.  Doug also spoke extensively about the importance of education, and the City’s need to focus on the younger, future generation.  Rhett Workman, Managing Director Government and Airport Affairs, American Airlines, discussed the Company’s position as a hometown airline and a global enterprise with operations all over the world.  Rhett discussed the Airline’s support of US military personnel and their families, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programs for children.

All panelists expressed the importance and value of sustainable initiatives to big corporate shareholders, individuals, and the community at large.  Jason engaged the speakers about how the entities they work for decide what CSR initiatives to support, and what innovative approaches are embraced to ensure CSR work is both sustainable and core to business objectives, while ensuring employees feel connected and empowered to make a difference.  Despite representing various sectors and entities, all of the presenters agreed it is important for businesses to engage their employees in areas that matter to them, and to focus on educating and making a difference in children’s lives.

Immediately following the educational portion of the evening, attendees networked long after the program ended.  Everyone enjoyed their signature whiskey sours, while developing new and enhancing old business ties.  The BABC encourages those who were unable to attend the program to visit The Trestle Inn.

Special thanks to the Irish American Business Chamber & Network and the Young Leaders Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association for partnering with us.

Click here to view photos from the event.


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The BABCPHL recognizes our Club Level Members:

  • Almac
  • American Airlines
  • Baker Tilly
  • Cigna
  • Cigna
  • Duane Morris
  • EisnerAmper LLP
  • Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
  • Forensic Resolutions
  • Johnson, Kendall & Johnson, Inc.
  • Johnson Matthey
  • Morgan Lewis
  • Olympus
  • Penn Medicine
  • Welsh Government