CEO

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Hermes Investment Management is one of the UK’s largest institutional asset managers, advising in both the public and private sectors. What makes Hermes stand out in the crowded market of wealth management is its values or, more likely, the CEO that cultivates them.

On a preliminary search of Saker Nusseibeh, I came across words like ‘stewardship’ or ‘responsible capitalism’, or again statements like ‘We believe that better governed companies create a better society for our investors to live in’, all things often more associated with social enterprise than high finance. I was excited to meet him.

Nusseibeh studied medieval history to PhD level and I was intrigued as to whether this critical academic training gave him a pluralist attitude and the ability to see a situation from all angles and solve it? It was an unequivocal yes. He said it is essential for any leader to think and act rationally in any situation. He champions cross collaboration, saying that when recruiting, he is most interested in candidates with diverse profiles for ‘diversity helps nurture innovation in teams’.

Something that may well have been the deal breaker in winning the title of Global Investor CEO of the year is the culture that he cultivates among his staff that gets half of their bonus each year for ‘being nice’. As vague as this may sound, Nusseibeh assures that it’s simple: ‘we reward attitude. Kindness and care towards your colleagues and clients ensure that every day runs smoothly.’

I agree with him, mentioning my training in yoga that teaches that conflict and tension are wasted energy that does not serve us and is certainly no addition to any workplace.

On a more business note, Hermes have adopted a model that helps cultivate more sustainable behavior in the world of investing, as stated in their latest published survey ‘Responsible Capitalism’: ‘Investment decisions should be about outcomes that are not purely nominal but allow savers to retire into a stable social system’.

Horyou team member Dearbhla Gavin with Saker Nusseibeh
Horyou team member Dearbhla Gavin with Saker Nusseibeh

During the interview, Nusseibeh repeatedly referred to ‘holistic profits’. Intrigued, I asked him to clarify. ‘Reasonable, sustainable companies have a social license to exist; they are part of society, their presence impacts on society and has no right to impact negatively on the majority while benefiting just the few’ he says.

I asked him about his industry predictions for the short to medium term. More specifically, did he think that sustainable business possible? That profit can exist without social cost?

He says that he has never witnessed client demand for measured social impact and transparency like he has in the last twelve months: ‘a key part of Hermes’ strategy is ‘stewardship’, i.e. being completely accountable and responsible for all that they invest in’.

Nusseibeh predicts that attitudes to environmental and social governance will be a key measure of a company’s development and growth over the next year.

Tube-riding home, I read through their survey ‘Responsible Capitalism’.

Statistics peppered each page but in keeping with what I had witnessed at the event all day, they weren’t measures of company growth or consumer confidence in the brand, but social statistics; figures illustrating female representation on boards, or diversity in the workplace, or energy efficiency. In the same vein as Bloomberg hosting a day long conference dedicated to good business, it was a sign of the times to see social impact highlighted on every page of a global asset management survey.

It is no longer the economy at one end and society at the other. As Nusseibeh said himself: ‘we own the economy, we all have a stake, we benefit and we lose out, our fate is in our own hands’.

By Dearbhla Gavin

ryanscott_profile-2Ryan Scott is the CEO and Founder at Causecast, the leading cause integration company. The platform offers workforce matching donations, volunteering including dollars for doers, disaster response, and custom campaigns. He is the Founder of The Impact and Educational Sections of the Huffington Post. Ryan Scott has served as Board Member of the Taproot Foundation. He has been a game platform developer. Ryan also holds a patent from the NetCreations, Inc., a company he co-founded. — by Elena Tarassenko

Can you please speak about the need you see present for improved employee engagement in volunteer work and corporate social responsibility?

The world’s leading companies in 2015 understand the need for employee volunteer programs and the majority offer some sort of opportunities for their employees to give back. Engaging one’s employees in community impact isn’t just a nice thing to do; it’s an essential part of today’s bottom line. But it’s not enough to simply offer a program and assume that your employees will gratefully line up to get involved. Too many companies don’t put forth the effort to foster employee engagement in their programs, and the result is that participation rates are typically low. This is a lost opportunity with many ripples of consequences. Corporate volunteerism presents a powerful opportunity to transform the relationship that companies have with their communities, employees and stakeholders, and it’s vital that companies treat this part of their business with the same degree of care and thought as the rest of their operations.

Explain the new pro-social model for capitalists and why this theory is important.

In the past, creating economic value was purely the domain of corporations while social value creation was left to nonprofits, and never the twain shall meet. But what we’ve found is when corporations and nonprofits work together – combining a company’s unique ability to leverage capital with a nonprofit’s talents in working on social problems – we have something new, and we call it shared value. The magic of shared value is scale. We can finally get solutions at the scale that is required to actually solve those problems. I believe that by leveraging the power of capitalism in the service of causes and stretching the skills of your employees, we will see a historic shift to a world where, ultimately, businesses will compete with each other not only to make the most profit, but to do the most good. That’s the world we’re working toward.

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 2.11.45 PM How does your platform succeed in engaging employees’ corporations?

I think that only when companies demonstrate economic incentive to creating social value will we be able to reach the scale we need to solve our problems, and I’m honored to be a part of helping enable companies to craft and execute these programs. The economic incentive will not come without seeing real impact – within communities and within the companies themselves, and impact won’t happen without robust engagement. At Causecast, we believe that engagement in volunteering and giving comes from a social, mobile and interactive experience. That’s why we designed our platform to foster a real-time connection between employees and their peers, their community and the company. Everything is designed to be easy, highly secure, automated and engaging, making involvement so seamless, trusted and fun that employees want more. Ultimately, the volunteer experience needs to feel rewarding for employees, administrators and nonprofits – that’s how you build on positive experiences to create a corporate culture of giving back.

If you could summarize what corporations have to gain from using a platform such as Causecast in a few phrases, what would they be?

For innovative growth companies, Causecast provides giving and volunteering technology solutions to reach the highest levels of employee engagement and social impact. In contrast to the sluggish, forms-based, top-down administrator focus that has historically dominated employee giving and volunteering mindset, our unique technology and one-on-one support model enables companies to build high-impact employee-led programs that are globally meaningful, locally relevant, and easy to manage – for a far lower total cost of ownership than traditional solutions.

Where do you believe senior executives have the most impact in terms of promoting social impact and investment within corporations?

The more that senior leaders can point to the bottom line benefits of corporate social responsibility, the more investment they’ll see their companies making in these areas. What we’ve started to see happen is more and more of our clients realize they want to invest in our system for recruiting and retention purposes, not just for PR. Recruiting and retention are the real business needs they can measure and something all businesses are struggling with right now. Ultimately, because of financial incentives, retaining top-level employees who are involved with the company’s corporate social responsibility programs will increase giving and the impact they’re going to have on the world. It’s also very important that senior executives demonstrate their leadership and commitment to their philanthropy initiatives by participating in them alongside their employees.

Causecast's team volunteer day for Enrich LA in May 2015.
Causecast’s team volunteer day for Enrich LA in May 2015.

What do you see as the connection between working on boards of nonprofits and the Causecast initiative?

Board service offers unique advantages as a form of volunteering that should influence anyone interested in their personal and professional growth as well as their ability to make a difference. No matter what your professional field or expertise, everyone should step up to the experience of serving on a nonprofit board for its untold positive benefits. That’s why one project I’m particularly enthusiastic about is giving all of our clients’ employees the opportunity to get involved with nonprofit board service, which is typically an opportunity exclusive to VPs and executives. There’s an organization that we’re working with for this project called CariClub.

What about Horyou’s Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF) is most interesting to you?

I’m very excited to see what strategic collaborations and powerful ideas emerge from SIGEF 2015, particularly within the “Technological Evolution for Social Good” theme. I’ve made that my life’s work, first as the co-founder of NetCreations, which paved the way for opt-in email marketing, and now as the CEO and founder of Causecast. It’s not easy to pull off an event like this on a global scale, but I think the world is in desperate need of it. I’m looking forward to the meaningful change that will inevitably result from this exciting social experiment.

Rachel_Hutchisson

Rachel Hutchisson is a corporate responsibility & philanthropy guru. 24 years at Blackbaud led her to grow a passion and true talent for developing and implementing strategic philanthropy and corporate social responsibility in her company. Then she took all that knowledge and experience to create “Business doing Good”, a website she started in order to give advice to businesses that wanted to build a give back function. Rachel believes that “good is for everyone” and that the public discourse and mindsets are being changed thanks to the growth of social good campaigns, initiatives and talks by leaders in many industries. Horyou got to ask her key questions about her career, growing a sustainable business culture and how she sees the future.

Have you always wanted to be an advocate for Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy? How did it come about?

When I joined the workforce with a master’s degree in journalism, I thought I was headed to a career in communications, perhaps for a college or a healthcare center (which is interesting because these are some of the kinds of organizations my company serves). I ended up meeting some interesting people from Blackbaud, a then 130-person technology company providing software to nonprofit organizations, and was offered a job which I thought would be an interesting challenge for a few years. Over the past 24 years, the company has grown tremendously, and I with it, taking on a series of newly formed roles and ultimately formally establishing our strategic philanthropy and corporate social responsibility function. I describe my role as working at the intersection of nonprofits and corporate good, which is especially meaningful for a company where we power the business of philanthropy through the solutions we offer. I walked in the door so many years ago not realizing the incredible power and reach of the philanthropic sector. Now, I look back realizing that my parents raised me to be a part of this world of social good, modeling volunteerism and compassion through their own work in the community, work that I didn’t realize could lead to a profession. Now, my life and my work are intertwined.

How did the idea for Business doing good come about and what is its purpose?

Business Doing Good, the website I launched on #GivingTuesday 2013 to offer advice to small businesses interested in building a give back function into their firms, was born out of my own experiences. When I took on the challenge of building the philanthropy and corporate social responsibility function at Blackbaud, I looked to the broader business world to learn the best practices. However, the examples and resources I found were mainly for very large corporates with operations around the world. So I pieced together my own plans and learned along the way. With a really good operation now in place, I thought it was important to give back by sharing insights and experience, making it easier for those who followed. It’s also important to know that I have a fundamental belief that “good is for everyone,” (individuals, nonprofits, government, small businesses or corporates). So I was seeking, by making the advice on the site clear and easy to understand, to empower anyone in business who wanted to give back.

What are your best/favorite success stories from creating and building give back programs?

My favorite success stories over the years are always about people, whether they are our employees who are engaging in the community or the people we are serving through our philanthropy. I am hugely proud of Camp Blackbaud, a STEM-focused camp where staff from our Products team introduce disadvantaged middle school kids to programming and careers in tech. They walk in the door thinking technology is something unreachable to them and leave saying they’ll be back to work for us after they graduate from college. That’s the goal, to help Charleston Promise Neighborhood (our nonprofit partner) open these kids’ eyes to education and the role it can play in changing their lives. The kids are great, smart, lively and so enthusiastic. Our people love leading the camp, especially how they can share their skills (programmers, usability designers, quality assurance, etc., not being skills nonprofits typically ask for in volunteers).

Camp Blackbaud
]7 Camp Blackbaud

What in your opinion are the three building blocks for a company to establish solid corporate citizenship and philanthropic practice?

1) Vocal CEO Support – Having vocal support from the very top of the company is essential to building a solid corporate social responsibility practice. There is absolutely nothing that compares to a CEO’s ability to make citizenship, service and giving a priority from a corporate level, across the management team and with individual employees. Your CEO needs to be your strongest advocate and be willing to open doors or ensure you are involved in the conversations where your work can truly make a difference.

2) Partnerships with key leaders in the company – corporate social responsibility teams are traditionally small but span across entire operations and locations. For this reason, you will need strong partnerships with people who understand how your collective work will deepen their success. Key leaders should include those leading talent acquisition, HR, culture, corporate marketing, business units or company sites. Working together to determine how what you can offer will help them succeed is at the heart of corporate social responsibility.

3) Engaging employees as advocates and a key audience – corporate social responsibility is important inside and outside the company, and employees are both key agents of telling the story and a key audience to engage. Design your program to be one that helps bring good people to the company who want to engage and who, by engaging, are more likely to stay and thrive, telling their own stories. Make your giving and service a differentiator that makes you an employer of choice, one your people are proud to speak about.

We live in a culture of consumerism as opposed to a giving back culture, how do we slowly change that mindset? Is it really possible to combine the two?

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Yes, I not only believe but see every day at Blackbaud that it is possible to combine a culture of doing good with doing well. We can change those with a purely consumer mindset by what we do as people, how we give back and the priorities we set, and how we lead the organizations where we pursue our careers. Also, there are many positive messages in the world about how to advance good. I like to say that my kids are hearing from their president, their priest, their teachers and their parents that they should give back, and these messages are sinking in. The number of degrees available in nonprofit management, philanthropy and social innovation are a sign of this positive shift, as is the growing understanding that you can bring socially minded philosophies into the business world.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years? Any ideals?

In five to ten years, I see myself working in the middle of a cause and an organization that I’m proud to champion and feel driven to help succeed. There is so much more to do, and the idea of how social good can help drive positive change brings much promise.

You joined Horyou, what does our mantra Dream, Act and Inspire mean to you personally and professionally?

I never dared to dream that I would end up with such a wonderful, fulfilling career focused on good. But now that I am here and looking at how else I can add value, I see this mantra as a responsibility, a charge to make sure I do dream, I continue to act, and I always take the time to inspire. Finally, I would say that it reminds me of my personal commitment to mentor as many women in my community as I can. There are a few people who helped me immeasurably on my own journey, and I strongly believe it is my duty to pay that forward.

By Amma Aburam

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