Last week (June 6-8), I had the opportunity to represent Starbucks at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in New Orleans. This annual conference is hosted by the Points of Light Institute and the Corporation for National and Community Service. (Points of Light Institute is the parent organization of HandsOn Network – Starbucks national partner during the global month of service and contributor to our Community Service website.)
I spoke on two panels while at the conference. I was joined on the first panel with a representative from Toyota to discuss how social media can advance a corporation’s community efforts. The second panel was a practitioners’ session focused on how companies staffed with small community teams execute national or global community strategies locally. I spoke alongside folks from JP Morgan Chase, The Hitachi Foundation and University of Phoenix.
One of the highlights of the conference was hearing from Cliff Burrows during a CEO Roundtable. The conversation, moderated by Deborah Roberts from ABC news, ranged from corporate philosophy about why companies do or should engage their employees in service and disaster response to how innovation is important to community engagement.
Starbucks will be playing a more significant role in shaping the future and direction of corporate community service thanks to Cliff’s role as incoming chair for Points of Light’s Corporate Service Council. If you haven’t seen it already, you can read Points of Light Institute press release here.
I participated in a community service project with Cliff, Rodney Hines (director, Community Investments) and other members of the Corporate Service Council at Sam Bonart Park in the Lower Ninth Ward. This park is the only outdoor recreation space in the Lower Ninth Ward and has been unusable since Hurricane Katrina nearly six years ago. Groups tackled building playground equipment, assembling trash bins and putting together benches and picnic tables … all in 93 degree heat and high humidity. While the sweat was temporary, the impact on the neighborhood will be lasting.
Overall, Starbucks participation in the National Conference on Volunteering and Service this year positioned Starbucks as an informative and inspiring practitioner and thought-leader in service. I’m proud to be the loudspeaker for YOUR commitment to improving communities through service and will share your successes at next year’s conference in Chicago.