Column: Georgia values corporate generosity, goBeyondProfit study finds
By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on April 12, 2019
GoBeyondProfit was launched 16 months ago by Jackson Healthcare’s Rick Jackson to encourage more corporate generosity among Georgia companies to strengthen local communities. At that time, 50 companies and business leaders had signed on.
Today more than 500 companies and individuals have signed up, according to Megan McCamey, executive director of goBeyondProfit.
The nonprofit has just completed a research study on Georgia’s corporate generosity – surveying 500 Georgia business leaders as well as 1,000 national leaders.
The study found that Georgia companies are view as being more generous than others. A majority – 66 percent – of Georgia leaders and adults rated state businesses as good or excellent in their outreach efforts – 10 percent higher than the way companies were viewed nationally.
Still, there is a perception gap of how well those companies are doing between leaders and employees, especially their younger employees. Employers tended to think more highly about their corporate giving plans than their employees did. Younger employees tended to value corporate generosity more than the workforce as a whole, and they were more likely to be award of their employers’ charitable activities.
“Georgia values the idea of corporate generosity – both corporate executives as well as employees and consumers – more than other states,” McCamey said. “It’s important the perception is that they’re doing well but there’s a perception gap on how well. Maybe they are not communicating effectively to their employees or it may be they are not doing enough.”
Corporate generosity also plays an important role in the recruitment and retention of employees, according to 50 percent of the respondents. But 66 percent of Georgia employees between the age of 18 and 34 said a company’s generosity factors into their decision to work for a company or stay there. Nationally 53 percent of workers in that age group said corporate philanthropy was a major factor.
“If you aren’t on board, you are going to lag behind,” McCamey said. “If you do this well and communicate effectively to your employees and customers, it will become part of your identity.”
Developing a strong corporate generosity initiative and communicating that effectively to employees and customers will make companies more competitive, especially in their efforts to attract a younger, qualified workforce, the study showed.
“The employees and customers say loudly through the research that this is super important to them,” McCamey said. “They will reward companies with loyalty.
And the younger you go, the more important it is.”
McCamey said there are a host of examples of Georgia companies that are excelling in their corporate generosity. She mentioned Delta Air Lines, Gas South and Sunnyland Farms as examples of large and mid-sized companies that have been able to make corporate engagement part of their brand.
“We do hope to use this research to show good models and what enriches the community,” she said. “It’s an opportunity and a competitive advantage.”
GoBeyondProfit’s founder, Rick Jackson, said in a statement that Georgia business leaders understand the vital role they play as the backbone of their communities, describing their work as inspiring.
“Yet there are perception gaps that show CEOs might benefit from communicating more clearly and/or increasing this purpose driven extension of their business,” Jackson said. “Our employees and customers care more than we might realize!”
CARE names new COO
Tjada D’Oyen McKenna has been named as CARE’s new chief operating officer.
McKenna is joining CARE from Atlanta-based Habitat for Humanity International, where she has been for the last three years overseeing program execution and service delivery across more than 70 countries. She will begin her new role on May 28.
“It’s clear that she can confidently chart and achieve ambitious goals and transformational change which are critical as CARE strives to accelerate and multiply our impact in the world,” said Michelle Nunn, CARE’s president and CEO.
Prior to working at Habitat, McKenna spent over a decade working to end world hunger through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. government. She was a key figure in establishing and leading Feed the Future, the U.S.’s global hunger and food security initiative as well as the 2012 G8 initiative to unite governments and the private sector to end hunger.
McKenna also has worked in corporate arena, having served in various roles at McKinsey & Company, American Express and GE.
As COO of CARE, McKenna will oversee the global nonprofit’s operations in more than 90 countries. She will work alongside Nunn and others to scale CARE’s fight against poverty and social injustice. She will continue to drive CARE’s strategic plan which aims to impact 200 million lives by 2020.
“My work has been grounded in the simple belief that, no matter where someone’s born, no matter where they live, they should have the ability to live a thriving and successful life,” McKenna said. “I’m eager to continue pursuing this mission at CARE, joining the global fight against poverty.”
McKenna replaces Heather Higginbottom, who served as CARE’s COO for the last two years. Higginbottom will join the JP Morgan Chase corporate responsibility team in May to lead a new global public policy effort.
McKenna earned a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She and her husband, Joe, have two young sons.
CARE was founded in 1945 as a humanitarian organization that distributed CARE packages after World War II. It moved its headquarters to Atlanta in 1993.
Phil Kent and Cable Hall of Fame
Phil Kent, the former chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System, will be inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame on May 2 in New York City at the Ziegfeld Ballroom.
The 22nd annual Hall of Fame is one of the highest honors given in the cable industry.
The other inductees include Leslie Ellis, president of Ellis Edits; Kyle McSlarrow, senior vice president of customer experience for Comcast; Steve Miron, CEO of Advance/Newhouse; Susan Swain and Rob Kennedy, co-CEOs of C-Span; and MTV founding creators.
Kent served as chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting from 2003 to 2014, the last such executive to be based in Atlanta. After leaving Turner, Kent served as a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School and he also served as a 2016 Advanced Leadership Fellow.
While at Turner, Kent served as chair of the Woodruff Arts Center, the Advertising Council and the Atlanta Committee for Progress.