In my address to the Third Annual International Corporate Volunteerism Conference (ICV) last night, I spoke about the need to link values to business strategy in order to create sustainable value. In other words, corporations must develop and advance a new model of philanthropy that’s grounded in an enduring commitment to service. The old model of “checkbook philanthropy” is outdated. What matters today – what makes a difference – is volunteering one’s expertise to help solve critical societal issues.
IBM’s Corporate Service Corps program delivers a triple benefit for communities, participants, and IBM:
- Communities benefit as IBM sends its best talent and global experience to tackle business and societal issues in growth markets;
- Participants benefit from unique opportunities to expand their leadership skills and understanding of growth markets, and giving back to society;
- IBM benefits from the development of new leaders with a broad range of skills in a global context, a better understanding of developing economies, and the opportunity to introduce the IBM brand.
Since 2008, more than 1,500 IBMers from more than 50 countries have contributed their expertise in nearly 30 countries via the Corporate Service Corps. Through these engagements, IBMers provide high quality business and IT consulting on critical concerns related to job creation, education, the environment, health care, disaster response, and creating smarter cities. This means more effective public agencies and nonprofits to spur local economic development and better services for residents.
Our Corporate Service Corps, Executive Service Corps and Smarter Cities Challenge programs provide outstanding opportunities for IBMers to develop global leadership skills. Collaborating with top-performing colleagues from around the world, developing and refining consulting skills, building relationships with new clients, and gaining exposure to new markets all help prepare leaders in a globally integrated enterprise. It’s why IBM continues to be recognized as the top global company for leaders, and why we’re continuing to expand these programs to involve more participants, reach new markets, and bring our culture of service to communities around the world.
Robin Willner is Vice President for Global Community Initiatives with IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs.