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Takeaways From The 4th Annual International Corporate Volunteerism Conference: Leadership, Talent Development, and Social Impact

SOURCE: CDC Development Solutions


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 23, 2013 /3BL Media/ - Earlier this month, the 4th Annual International Corporate Volunteerism Conference convened leaders from PepsiCo, Dow Corning, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, John Deere, Merck, Pfizer, and SAP alongside members of the U.S. Department of State, USAID, International Business Leaders Forum, and other prominent public-sector groups. These organizations looked at the growing field of International Corporate Volunteerism (ICV) and its ability to foster responsible leadership in the public and private sector.

Steady Increase in ICV Programs Annually

At the conference, CDC Development Solutions released the 2013 ICV Benchmarking Survey, a study of twenty-two corporations on the state of ICV today.  According to the survey, in 2012, two dozen major companies sent over 1700 volunteers abroad compared to 6 companies in 2008.   The study also pointed to a few major conclusions:

  • The major benefit to participating companies is skills development of the volunteers, most especially in the area of professional leadership.
  • Companies are confident that their programs’ benefits significantly outweigh the costs.

ICV Develops Individual and Corporate Leaders
Sue Tsokris, PepsiCo’s Vice President, Global Citizenship & Sustainability and Keynote Speaker, spoke on the evolution of leadership and how PepsiCo’s PepsiCorps program aims to build skills for a new generation of leaders. She pointed out that, in the past, leadership was often based on criteria as simple as length of tenure, most senior title, or most vocal opinions. But as organizations evolve to manage new global dynamics, she stressed that models of leadership are also changing. Successful leaders will need skills such as the ability to influence more diverse teams over whom they may not have direct authority, the flexibility to succeed with limited resources, and the adaptability to deal with fast- changing work environments.

Gina Tesla, Director of Corporate Citizenship at IBM, gave the talk, “Leadership in Frontier Markets; Behind the Triple Benefit.”  Ms. Tesla shared how with ICV leadership development as one of its priorities, IBM has documented tangible benefits to its business, its employees, and local communities. She addressed how this is driving the growth and scale of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps, which has deployed 2,000 IBM employees in the last five years -- the largest such program by a wide margin.  Ms. Tesla pointed out that the immersion experience of the Corporate Service Corps has been powerfully effective in strengthening employees' skills.  “Immersive leadership development is stronger away from direct business,” she stated, “and often new thinking and new solutions emerge.”

ICV Delivers Social Impact
Through a series of “Flash Chats,” John Deere, PepsiCo, and Merck addressed social issues close to their business priorities:

PepsiCo: Marcie Passarella, Senior Director of Global Citizenship and Sustainability at PepsiCo, gave the talk, “Water Stewardship, A Case of Enlightened Self Interest.”  Ms. Passarella spoke about the constructive role corporations such as PepsiCo can play in environmental issues such as water stewardship.  She noted the company’s recent announcement that it had reached the goal of partnering to provide access to safe water to three million people in developing countries by the end of 2015, three years earlier than originally anticipated. Given this success, PepsiCo is doubling the original goal and will provide access to safe water to an additional three million people over the next three years through continued partnerships with water organizations.

John Deere: Nate Clark, Vice President of the John Deere Foundation, spoke on the topic, “Solving World Hunger through History.”  Looking closely at the issue of food security, Mr. Clark stressed that taking historically proven technologies and thoughtfully introducing them to smallholder farmers can both boost agricultural production as well as promote overall rural development.

Merck: Brian Grill, Executive Director of the Merck Foundation spoke with PSI’s Cate O’Kane and Merck’s Robert Dribbon on how ICV and private sector engagement can be a force for positive change in the health sector – helping to make health care institutions around the world more efficient, and provide stronger health care to communities in need.

What’s Next in Measurement
Mr. Levy also spoke on a panel with Pfizer, who is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of its Global Health Fellows Program and showcased the impact of this program through its ten year partnership with Accordia Global Health Foundation.  Since 2003, 15 Global Health Fellows have been placed at Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) of Makerere University.  Based in Uganda, IDI provides high-quality care and prevention of HIV/AIDS and related infectious diseases. This long-term partnership demonstrates how corporate volunteers can strengthen the sustainability of institutions when strategically placed.  Since IDI’s inception in 2003, the organization has grown into a recognized regional Center of Excellence with 2010 - 11 revenues of $18 million.

CSRwire’s Aman Singh also moderated a panel with GlaxoSmithKline, SAP, and CDC Development Solutions, who shared perspectives on communicating ICV programs to gain support and awareness from internal and external stakeholders, as well as volunteer recruits.  CDC Development Solutions also introduced the New Global Citizen, an online magazine that seeks to elevate stories of innovative leadership and international engagement.  For more information on the magazine and guest contributions, go here.

Read the full story on Storify on the hashtag #ICVLead2013 here:

About CDC Development Solutions
CDC Development Solutions’ mission is to reinvent how public, private and social interests converge to address global challenges. It achieves this through three practices: Global Citizenship and Volunteerism, Local Content Development and Economic Growth Development and Empowerment. Based in Washington, D.C., this international nonprofit designs International Corporate Volunteer programs for over a dozen corporations, including IBM, SAP, John Deere, PepsiCo and Pfizer and manages all aspects of these programs, from strategic planning and on-the-ground implementation and support.


Contact: Katie Levey, Director of Media Relations,; 917.593.1989

Tweet me: Check out the what you missed at #ICVLead2013 with @PepsiCo @citizenIBM @Pfizer_News @CDCDevSolutions

KEYWORDS: CDC Development Solutions, 4th annual ICV conference, international corporate volunteerism, Pepsico, Dow Corning, GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, John Deere, Merck, Pfizer, SAP, professional leadership

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