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Breakout Sessions | Corporate Citizenship Conference

The 2019 International Corporate Citizenship Conference breakout sessions are organized into tracks to help you choose the ones most relevant to your work. All of the breakouts are outstanding opportunities for learning. No need to stick to just one track, we encourage you to mix and match to maximize your experience.

*Each breakout session is also notated with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that align most with each topic. Learn more about the SDGs on the UN website.

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Global perspectives on corporate citizenship

Corporate citizenship is an interconnected practice that impacts businesses and communities across the globe. No matter where your company is based, we are all working together to create a stronger, healthier, and more equitable society. That said, the way we go about managing our efforts, and the areas we choose to prioritize, are impacted by the distinctive cultures and contexts in which we operate. In this session, hear from panelists from a variety of countries on how corporate citizenship programs work around the globe. You’ll walk away with a better understanding of how to create holistic programs that speak to a more diverse range of stakeholders, so you can ensure your efforts are making maximum impact. 

  • Andrea Bertels, Vice President, Global Responsibility and Sustainability, Nielsen


Leading change: How to drive progress from wherever you sit

No two corporate citizenship departments are the same. Some are housed in communications or public affairs, others are situated with HR or legal, while some report directly to the CEO. No matter where you sit, every CSR professional must work across the organization to achieve business and social value. In this session, experts will share both the advantages and constraints of their particular organizational structure, as well as the skills and methods they’ve developed to gain buy-in, increase engagement, and achieve success.

  • Moderator: Barb Short, Chief Diversity Officer and President, PSEG Foundation, PSEG
  • Martha Herrera, Corporate Director of Social Responsibility, CEMEX
  • Christopher Lloyd, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Verizon
  • David Steel, Executive Vice President, Samsung



Lean mean CSR machines: How to punch above your weight

Corporate citizenship professionals are masters at achieving a lot with a little. Whether working with a small budget, a small staff, in a small company—or all of the above—the field is full of success stories that illustrate the immense progress that can be achieved by even the smallest of teams. In this session, CSR leaders from small but mighty departments will share how they’ve tapped into their networks, leveraged their resources, and developed creative solutions that deliver major results.

  • Moderator: Stacey Chiocchio, Community Citizenship Manager, Hypertherm
  • Stacy Cline, Director, Corporate Citizenship, GoDaddy
  • Hedieh Fakhriyazdi, Associate Director, Global Diversity and Social Responsibility, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • Mandy Martin, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Las Vegas Sands



Leveraging corporate citizenship to attract and retain employees

From internal efforts such as employee relief funds, wellness programs, and employee resource groups to community involvement initiatives such as sabbaticals, pro-bono programs, and volunteering and giving efforts, companies are developing innovative programs that attract employees now and keep them for years. Join this session to learn how your peers have developed and communicated strategic corporate citizenship programs that appeal to job-seekers and increase human capital in companies.

  • Moderator: Rob Vallentine, Global Director, Corporate Citizenship and President, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Linda Valdez Thompson, Executive Vice President, Administration and Diversity, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
  • Gina West, Executive Manager, Community Investment and Engagement, Fannie Mae
  • Maria Sepulveda, Global Director, Sustainability, Flex



The power of all the people: Inclusion and diversity

While CSR professionals recognize the value that diverse workforces offer, many struggle with advancing from diversity by the numbers to an inclusive culture. By challenging embedded norms and adopting formal processes and programs, some leading companies are achieving progress, diversifying not only the talent pipeline but also their upper ranks, thinking outside the employee base to suppliers and partners, and broadening the concept of diversity to include intersectional issues. In this session, CSR leaders will share how they’ve moved their companies beyond counting differences to embracing the different contributions of every mind.

  • Moderator: Karen Sweeney, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion, Community, and Citizenship, Turner Construction Company
  • Andrea Carter, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility and Inclusion, Atlanta Hawks
  • Sandra Huculak, Managing Director, Corporate Responsibility and Social Enterprise, ATB Financial
  • Phyllis James, Chief Diversity and Corporate Responsibility Officer, MGM Resorts International



Workshop: Tracking and measuring environmental, social and governance risk

Deciding which issues you will try to address with your corporate citizenship program is one of the most important decisions you will make. In addition to thinking about aspects of your business strategy that you can support, there are issues in your operating context that are impacted by your company and that your company can be affected by. These issues can take the form of risks or opportunities. A key responsibility of the corporate citizenship strategist is to continually scan the horizon to monitor your context and identify emerging (and waning) opportunities and risks. In this session, get some hands-on experience with issue tracking and strategy tools that can help you determine which issues affect your company’s ability to pursue its strategy and to determine responses that maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

  • Moderator: Katherine V. Smith, Executive Director, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
  • Okeatta Brown, Senior Strategy and Integration Consultant, Wells Fargo
  • Dave Stangis, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Sustainability Officer for the Campbell Soup Company




Building stronger communities: Collaboration and collabotition

Strategic corporate citizens know that their companies are only as strong as the communities they serve, that’s why many are choosing to create unique partnerships—with nonprofits, government agencies, and even their competitors. These alliances connect the very best of the public and private sectors to deliver progress that could never be achieved by one sector alone. Join this session to hear how CSR leaders have worked with other sectors and competitor companies and organizations to address industry-specific issues, advance shared objectives, and foster healthier and more vibrant communities.

  • Moderator: Tom Crohan, Assistant Vice President and Counsel, Corporate Responsibility and Government Relations, John Hancock
  • Jeff Bellows, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Jill Hile, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Nationwide
  • Michelle S. Ng, Community Engagement Leader, Financial Services, Ernst and Young LLP



Giving for growth: Building nonprofit capacity

Nonprofit partners are vital to any community involvement program. They offer both expert insights and unique capabilities that help companies create strong and vibrant communities. As efforts to elevate communities become more strategic and complex, however, nonprofits are under increasing presser to deliver more, faster, with less overhead, and with more comprehensive metrics. To help sustain and scale the critical work of nonprofits, many companies are turning to grants that help build nonprofit capacity. In this illuminating session, you’ll hear how your peers are strengthening the systems that support nonprofits through staff training, technology improvements, board development, strategic planning, communication, strategy development, program evaluation, and more.

  • Moderator: Kyra Scalea, Manager Community Stewardship, Vanguard
  • Okeatta Brown, Senior Strategy and Integration Consultant, Wells Fargo
  • Elena Sacca Smith, Group Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Toyota Financial Services
  • Geoffrey Castro, Program Manager, CenterPoint Energy



Looking forward to the future of community involvement

Over the past few decades, community involvement has evolved far beyond checkbook philanthropy to become a strategic business lever that delivers strong returns for both communities and companies. In this session, join experts from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship—as well as leaders in the field—to learn what community involvement professionals are prioritizing in their programs now, and where they expect their efforts to lead. The discussion will include a deep dive into the Center’s 2019 Community Involvement Study, a research report that has examined the field since 1995.

  • Christi Cruz, Senior Manager, Community Investment, TELUS
  • Christina Rehkop, Director, Community Relations, Devon Energy
  • Abigail Hollingsworth, Senior Vice President, Philanthropy Manager, Bank of America
  • Christine Hoisington, Senior Associate, Corporate Citizenship Lead, Booz Allen Hamilton



Preparing for a new normal with disaster prevention, recovery, and relief

Scientists around the world have issued a clear message: Natural disasters are on the rise, and are only expected to become more frequent, and more severe. Now, many companies are working to examine and reprioritize their community investments to foster stability in advance, and are deploying life-saving resources, expertise, and technologies when disasters do strike. Join this session to learn how your forward-looking peers are creating adaptable strategies and cultivating rich partnerships to help communities prepare for and recover from natural disasters.

  • Moderator: Marlene Ibsen, Vice President, Community Relations and Chief Executive Officer and President, Travelers Foundation, Travelers
  • Tracy Janda, Community Relations Manager, CenterPoint Energy
  • Joe Ruiz, Director, Humanitarian Relief and Resilience, Environmental Sustainability, and Communications, The UPS Foundation
  • Beatriz Polhamus Lopez, Executive Director of Corporate Foundations and Social Commitment Division Manager, Banco Popular



Workshop: Demonstrating value through measurement

To ensure your corporate citizenship efforts are most effective, you must identify the outcomes and impacts your company seeks to demonstrate for communities and the business. This requires identifying what you hope to achieve and then developing metrics that help you demonstrate the value. The Logic Model is a tool used by businesses and nonprofits to design, measure, and communicate about their programs. In this hands-on workshop, you will be introduced to the logic model and how to apply it to your corporate citizenship programs to demonstrate impact.

  • Susan Santos, Teaching Fellow, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship




Detangling disclosure: Simple steps to start sustainability reporting

While the value of sustainability reporting is clear—improved reputation, retained consumers, and stronger market value—executing reports sometimes isn’t an easy path. Though it may seem as though the reporting landscape is only becoming more complex, you can find out which method and framework will work best for your company and how to get internal stakeholders involved in the reporting process. In this session, learn how reporting veterans got their start, and how they are leveraging CSR reporting to limit impacts, meet goals, and achieve success.

  • Moderator: Richard Pearl, Vice President, Global CR Officer, Corporate Citizenship, State Street Corporation
  • Uchenna Hicks, Public Affairs Manager, Health Care Service Corporation
  • Jennifer Leitsch, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, CBRE
  • Scenario Adebesin, Senior Vice President Director of Corporate Social 



Making the most of your network: How to build and nurture a community of colleagues who will drive corporate citizenship success across the organization

Effective corporate citizenship is a company-wide endeavor—and getting everyone involved is half the battle. The key to cultivating a powerful network dedicated to create sustainable change lies in understanding what matters MOST to each department—and framing your corporate citizenship program to deliver on those objectives. In this session, experts will share their secrets to connecting successfully to colleagues across their companies. Learn how to convert agnostics and detractors into ambassadors.

  • Moderator: Patricia McCann, Vice President, National Civic Affairs Manager, Comerica Bank
  • Casey Cortese, Managing Director, Schwab Community Services and Charles Schwab Foundation, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
  • Laura Freveletti, Senior Manager, Corporate Responsibility, Allstate Insurance Company
  • Sherri Nugent, Director, Community Relations, Teradata



Storytelling and statistics: How to paint a vivid picture of success

People love stories and need the facts. As corporate citizenship professionals, you have the privilege of telling some of the most inspiring stories your company has to offer. To establish credibility and galvanize further action—from executives, employees, and external stakeholders—these stories need to convey information and touch emotions. This session will dive into how you can select, integrate, and communicate important facts through compelling story-telling—so you can paint a powerful picture of sustainable success.

  • Moderator: Susan McPherson, Founder and CEO, McPherson Strategies
  • Hal Garling, Assistant Manager, Corporate Giving, General Motors
  • Michele Glaze, Director of Communications & Community Affairs, Samsung Austin Semiconductor
  • Samantha Nierman, Manager, Corporate Affairs and Communication, TransUnion



The next step in reporting: Future trends

No matter where you are in your reporting journey, all CSR professionals recognize the growing expectation for greater transparency on both financial and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) dimensions. It has become widely accepted that sustainability reporting works to meet those expectations and more—offering an essential tool for strategic decision-making and stakeholder engagement. In this session, leaders from throughout the field will explore the future of reporting and lend their expertise to put you ahead of the curve.

  • Moderator: Lynnette McIntire, Teaching Fellow, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
  • Kathy Alsegaf, Global Internal Sustainability Leader, Deloitte Global
  • Alyson Genovese, Director, North America, GRI
  • Sonya Hetrick, Sector Analyst, Services, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)



Workshop: Communicating corporate citizenship persuasively

As a corporate citizenship practitioner, you need more than just passion to be good at your job. You need to be able to articulate the value of your leadership and your programs to executives, colleagues, and the public. This interactive workshop will focus on two rhetorical skills that will help you communicate professionally and persuasively: 1. Develop message “packages” that allow you to adapt core messages to multiple contexts and audiences; 2. Align your nonverbal and verbal communication to tell a consistent story. Get real-time feedback on your key corporate citizenship program messages.  Even very skilled communicators will learn how to be make their communications even more persuasive in this workshop.

  • Nancy Dunbar, Teaching Fellow, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship




Examining the ESG horizon: Attracting investor attention now and in the future

Investors are increasingly evaluating corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts—both in response to growing stakeholder interest AND as a measure of how firms manage future risk. By understanding what ESG metrics your investors are most interested in, you can better plan for, measure, and communicate the impacts of your programs. This not only benefits your company’s bottom line now, but also encourages future investment in ESG initiatives. In this session, experts will share how investors are focusing their attention now, and what trends are expected in the future, so you can maximize the impact of your efforts.

  • Moderator: Kelli E. Palmer, Director, Corporate Citizenship, CFA Institute
  • Richard Pearl, Vice President, Global CR Officer, Corporate Citizenship, State Street Corporation



From survive to thrive: The future of environmental sustainability

Too often the case for corporate environmental efforts is focused on mitigating potential damage. While limiting impacts continues to be vital—some forward-looking companies are flipping the script, proving that business can actually contribute to ecosystem services, and in doing so, protect natural resources and also their own operating environments. Join this session to hear from peers who have navigated the particular challenges posed by environmental programs and are now tapping into the trends shaping the future of the field. You’ll walk away with tools and tactics to create your own virtuous cycle of sustainability.

  • Moderator: Stephen Donofrio, Teaching Fellow, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship
  • Katie Rothenberg, Vice President, Sustainability and Innovation, HITT Contracting
  • Bill Steers, General Manager, Communications and Corporate Responsibility, ArcelorMittal
  • Jennifer Grimaudo, Director, Corporate Responsibility, Iron Mountain



The role of corporations in addressing climate change

With world leaders, CEOs, and the media issuing urgent calls to action, the task of addressing climate change can seem daunting. Like any other force of nature, it offers challenges and opportunities to every aspect of business that must be considered by strategic CSR professionals. Join this session to learn how companies are stepping up and banding together to face climate change head on, and how you can embed climate considerations into your own work to mitigate risk, deliver value, and preserve the planet.

  • Moderator: Lance Pierce, President, Global Development and Special Representative, ADEC Foundation, ADEC Innovations
  • CaSondra Devine, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Wells Fargo
  • Christine McElhinney, Senior Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Communications, AvalonBay Communities
  • Patrick McLaughlin, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Verisk



When Zero = A+ : Innovative ways to eliminate waste

Today, many companies are attempting what seemed impossible only a few years ago, creating innovative programs to drastically reduce—and even eliminate—waste from their operations. Now, CSR teams are leading their organizations to set ambitious goals, take part in collaborative efforts such as RE100, and engage employees to develop creative solutions that get to zero. In this session, you’ll learn directly from the experts how to create impactful initiatives—from carbon pricing to efficiency upgrades to upcycled products—so you can guide your company toward a more sustainable future.

  • ​Moderator: Denise Coogan, Environmental Partnership Manager, Subaru of America, Inc.​
  • Keith Dailey, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, The Kroger Co.
  • Jacob Madsen, Director Global Sustainability, SC Johnson



Workshop: Aligning and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals

Many companies are taking action on the Sustainable Development Goals. The goals provide a powerful framework for strategizing, measuring, and communicating corporate citizenship; however, the means of corporate implementation varies significantly. In this hands-on workshop, you will discuss how your colleagues are connecting their efforts to the SDGs, dig into the specific indicators that provide additional credibility to the 17 goals, explore how the SDGs align with other reporting frameworks, and create a plan to further integrate the SDGs into your company.

  • Bo Miller, Teaching Fellow, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship




ALLIANCE DATA | Data for Good: Maximizing Impact through Data-Driven Nonprofit Partnerships

Today’s corporate citizenship professionals are faced with the ongoing challenge to demonstrate the ROI for their philanthropic investment. Operating in an environment that scrutinizes every dollar puts the burden of proof not only on CSR leaders, but their nonprofit and community partners as well. Frequently overwhelmed and under-resourced, nonprofits are expected to readily deliver to corporate donors metrics and measurable progress. Hear from both sides in this session and learn about dynamic data-driven tools that are sharpening the return-on-investment.

  • Dana Beckman, Director of Corporate Affairs, Alliance Data
  • Daniel Roby, Executive Director, Austin Street Center
  • Tina Weinfurther, President and CEO, CNM



EY | Mentoring to engage employees and empower youth: Celebrating ten years of College MAP

EY College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence) is a model of private-sector mentoring that supports access to education for underserved youth while meaningfully engaging EY employees. Now celebrating its 10th year, College MAP is active in 37 U.S. locations and hailed as one of the most innovative and high-impact corporate volunteer programs in the country. Marisa Glassman, College MAP National Team Member, will be joined by College MAP mentors and mentees. Together, they’ll discuss how a unique group mentoring model provides students with a supportive and encouraging academic community while supercharging engagement for EY professionals. Join the discussion and explore how private-sector mentoring changes young lives, creates value in communities and fosters career development for employees. Learn more at



VANGUARD | Community evolution: From good intentions to strategic alignment

Corporate responsibility takes many forms at leading companies, from volunteer programs to corporate grants all the way to diversity and inclusion and responsible corporate governance. Vanguard has traversed the spectrum of corporate citizenship activity and has successfully navigated the path from good intentions to strategic alignment. Find out how they evolved their traditional employee giving and volunteering programs into a community engagement strategy that finds the sweet spot for both the company and the community. Where are you in your journey? Are you looking to keep the momentum going? This interactive case study will give you actionable tools to discover where you are along the evolution continuum and help move your company along the journey to strategic alignment.

  • Carra Cote-Ackah, Executive Director, Community Stewardship, Vanguard
  • Matt Baker, Program Manager, Corporate Responsibility, Vanguard
  • Jessica Davis, Senior Manager, Brand Strategy, Vanguard
  • Donald Giannella, Project Coordinator, Senior Associate, Vanguard
  • Kelly Jackson, Client Experience Journey Owner, Vanguard
  • Ashley Johnston, Associate Program Officer, Vanguard
  • Rashanda Perryman, Program Officer, Vanguard
  • Kyra Scalea, Manager Community Stewardship, Vanguard
  • Jimmy Taylor, Financial Advisor Manger, Vanguard



TOYOTA | How to deliver both business and social value 

Corporate citizenship has the potential to deliver value to both business and society. When conducted strategically—it can achieve both at once. In this session, Toyota will share how they designed a comprehensive approach to their CSR investments, aligning their own business objectives with the needs of the community to achieve sustainable progress. Join to hear how they developed and deployed this cohesive strategy—from stakeholder engagement to partner selection—and what tools, technologies, and tactics they’re utilizing to strengthen communities AND their company.


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Read slides and summaries from the 2018 Conference breakout sessions. View Highlights