Fostering a Socially Responsible Organization: Circle of Fellows #24


The evidence continues to mount that companies need to move beyond traditional corporate social responsibility (CSR):

  • Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer found that 75 percent of people worldwide believe organizations need to take actions that not only increase their profits but also improve the economic and social conditions in the communities where they operate.
  • More than half of millennials are more likely to do business with companies led by a CEO who speaks out on issues they agree with, according to the second annual Weber Shandwick’s survey on how Americans view CEO activism.
  • MWWPR research found that one-third of Americans base their behaviors on corporate reputation, not just product price and quality.
  • Ninety-eight percent of institutional investors believe companies with strong environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives are better investments, according to a Burson-Marsteller report.

And those are just the most recent studies pointing to a profound shift in expectations of business. In short, companies that live their values will increasingly be the winners in the marketplace.

August’s Circle of Fellows panel—an hour-long conversation among a group of IABC Fellows—tackled the issue of communication and social responsibility.

Note: Some audio issues plagued this episode, but they’re brief and most have been edited out of the audio version.

You can watch the discussion below or on YouTube. You can also subscribe to the Circle of Fellows podcast to get the audio for listening later (and never miss a future episode). 

Panelists for “Fostering a Socially Responsible Organization” are:

Priya Bates is a senior communication executive who provides strategic internal communication counsel in order to ensure leaders, managers, and employees understand the strategy, believe in the vision, act in accordance to the values, and contribute to business results. She is president of Inner Strength Communications in Toronto, and previously served as senior director of Internal Communications at Loblaw Companies Limited.


John Gerstner is a strategic communications leader whose work has spanned 30 years and 30 countries on five continents. He has career experience as an internal communications and intranet manager, consultant, marketer, website developer, video producer, book author, magazine editor, photo-journalist, conference producer, radio announcer and public speaker. He is CEO and founder of Communitelligence, an online learning community for corporate communicators. Previously he managed diverse communication assignments at John Deere. These included launching John Deere’s internal communication program and intranet, serving as the company’s first manager of environmental and safety communications and authoring an award-winning coffee-table history book, Genuine Value: The John Deere Journey. 

Mary Hills’s career as a marketing and communication professional has been in companies undergoing significant evolution, change and growth. She has held leadership positions with responsibility for developing plans and schemas to support long term growth and business sustainability goals. She has more than 20 years experience and expertise in designing and delivering training and development programs for companies and organizations, bringing theories, models and frameworks into everyday practice. In addition to her role at HeimannHills Marketing Group, Mary serves as Adjunct Faculty in the MS – Global Strategic Communication program at Loyola University Chicago. Mary speaks internationally and nationally on marketing, communication, standards and practices and women’s leadership topics. She is licensed in Adobe Connect and WebEx, using these to conduct virtual professional learning and education sessions.

Jessica Burnette-Lemon

Jessica Burnette-Lemon is the senior content manager for IABC.

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