2015 International Corporate Citizenship Conference begins tomorrow in Austin


Every year, the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship gathers CSR leaders from around the globe for our International Corporate Citizenship Conference. Drawing experts from our more than 400 Member companies, leading corporate citizenship and management thinkers, and organizations such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and CDP, we create unique space—one that admits corporate citizenship practitioners only—for the free exchange of ideas.

This year, our conference is sponsored by Dell, and will be held in Austin, a city famous for hosting innovative groups intent on growth through collaboration. This two-and-a-half-day event will be packed with information and guidance to help corporate citizenship practitioners take their current initiatives to the next level, while at the same time creating the blueprint for how to achieve long-term success in the future. Here are just a few things we’re excited about exploring in Austin:

Insights from CSR leaders

Tomorrow, some of the brightest minds from around the world will begin arriving in Austin to concentrate on one concept—how CSR practitioners can make, plan for, meet—and even exceed—their long-term corporate citizenship goals. During seven illuminating general sessions, attendees gain insights on issues as varying as the future of technology and environmental innovation from leaders like:

  • Michael Dell, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dell Inc.
  • Don Sull, Senior Lecturer, Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management group, MIT Sloan School of Management; Professor, London Business School; Author, Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World
  • Alexis Madrigal, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, Fusion; Former Deputy Editor, TheAtlantic.com; Author, Powering The Dream
  • Rey Ocanas, Executive Vice President, Director, Corporate Responsibility and Reputation, BBVA Compass
  • Crayton W. Webb, Vice President, Corporate Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility, Mary Kay Inc.
  • Mary Wenzel, Senior Vice President, Director, Environmental Affairs, Wells Fargo & Company
  • Ashley Grosh, Vice President, Business Initiatives Manager, Environmental Affairs, Wells Fargo & Company
  • Richard Adams, Director, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Numerous networking opportunities

CSR practitioners are often part of very small teams—or in many cases—are brave teams of one. As such, they don’t always have the same opportunities to share ideas and best practices that those from other professions enjoy.  That’s why we’ve built ample time into our conference for networking. From Industry Summits catering to specific fields, to networking breaks and receptions, conference attendees will be bouncing ideas off of each other from dawn to dusk.

Corporate “Fitizens” Networking Walk

While we’re excited to exchange ideas in the Hilton Austin, we want to make sure our attendees get a chance to see all that the city has to offer, which is why—for the first time—we’ll be conducting Corporate “Fitizens” Networking Walks. Guided by Center staff, participants will have the opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of Austin while getting to know their peers.

Wise Crowds: How to Make Your Program Their Solution

During Monday afternoon’s breakout sessions, participants will have the opportunity to participate in a structured, Center-facilitated brainstorming session with peers to determine the best ways to increase employee engagement, improve volunteer participation numbers, and get executives involved with CSR efforts.

On-site volunteer project

During the conference, many attendees will take advantage of the opportunity to give back while they get to know one another. This year’s onsite volunteer project—sponsored by Target—will help Austin’s middle schoolers succeed on their standardized tests. Volunteers will pack supplies and write letters of encouragement for each student at Mendez Middle School in Southeast Austin, where 63 percent of students are considered at risk of dropping out of high school.

A session for every issue

Working in corporate citizenship can be a complex task. CSR professionals are tasked with advancing the environmental, social, and governance issues that are material to their business, which are as numerous as they are varied.  That’s why we’ve planned 26 breakout sessions—each with their own distinguished panel—to help tackle a pressing CSR challenge or amplify an emerging opportunity. Attendees should reference their Conference Guide for a full list of sessions, below are just a few we’re excited about:

Managing Reputation Across the Value Chain

Research finds that consumers are likely to hold a firm responsible for the impacts of their product, regardless of where it occurs within the value chain. Whether CSR professionals are sourcing materials, designing environmental initiatives, or navigating labor standards across international borders, companies must carefully balance transparency and competitive advantage. This session will explore how companies can manage risk and drive reputation by engaging stakeholders, owning product lifecycles, operating strict codes of conduct, and reporting transparently. Panelists will offer first-hand insight into building trust and managing a sustainable value chain.

Ages and Stages: Engaging Today's Multi-Generational Workforce in Your CSR Programs

Different generations approach community involvement differently. The growing number of employees at each end of the spectrum is creating a need to think more creatively about how employees are integrated, challenged, and developed in organizations. This session will cover how companies can understand the values and motivations of their employees to encourage greater performance.

Collective Impact

No single company has the resources to manage and solve social or environmental problems from inception through resolution. Many companies are partnering with organizations and communities to solve what had been considered intractable issues. True partnerships engage in long-term relationship building, planning, and goal setting with a cohesive vision and strategy to make the most of diverse resources and skills. This session will offer examples of how CSR professionals have worked with others to make the greatest impact on pressing corporate citizenship issues.

We’ll be blogging throughout the 2015 International Corporate Citizenship Conference to give you daily recaps and deep dives into the event’s unique content. Keep informed by subscribing to the Corporate Citizenship Blog by clicking below.