It’s Not Just Profits: Why Successful Businesses Invest in Their Community

Communities take many different forms, but they can all be powerful: they create environments where people feel good about sharing, making things happen, influencing and promoting change - all together. It’s no surprise that successful businesses recognise the importance of the communities they work within and look to invest in those communities, often without any direct commercial benefit.

So, why do businesses invest in “community”? Is it all about altruism or is it fundamentally linked to commercial need? No doubt there is a more complex, nuanced set of drivers at work here that reflect different communities and different businesses.

The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer findings reveal how activities linked to sustainability and CSR can help to enhance trust. According to Edelman’s analysis, public trust is in crisis but there is some good news for the world of business. “Three-quarters of people agree that companies can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the communities where they operate, and increasingly expect businesses to lead.”

This WBI Dinner is a chance to look at some different models of businesses working in the community, and what makes for a successful investment in the relationship. It’s not just about big, corporate PR either – we will be looking at the benefits and challenges of smaller businesses working in their community.

6:00pm | Welcome Drinks

6.15pm | Food is Served 

7:00pm | Welcome from the Workspace Group and Introduction of Chair 

7:05pm | Panel Discussion with Facebook Live Broadcast 

7:50pm | Audience Q&A

8:20pm | Networking Drinks until end

Panel Information

Chair – Rachel Smith, UK Director of Programme and Operations at GlobalGiving

“Rachel co-founded GlobalGiving UK and she leads programs that help non-profit’s, companies and foundations make a genuine and sustained difference in people’s lives. GlobalGiving is an innovative, award-winning digital charity that has connected more than £200m to 17,000+ community-led projects worldwide.

She is passionate about challenging the status quo and exploring new ways of working. Rachel has developed innovative funding and learning programmes that build capacity of smaller, community-led charities, often delivered through collaborative partnerships with both nonprofit and private sector organisations.”

Panellist – Andy Lang, Public Sector Manager at O2 (Telefónica)

Andy Lang has 18 years’ experience working in telecommunications for O2 UK Ltd. With a strong grounding in customer experience and problem solving, Andy collaborates with O2's biggest charity customers to understand strategy and shared goals, to develop modern business partnerships. Andy helps creatively develop solutions spanning B2B2C and which deliver outcomes that have a positive impact on Third Sector organisations and the lives of their customers.

Panellist – Alyson Walsh, Commercial Director at Fareshare UK

For more than 22 years, FareShare has been the UK-wide charity that tackles hunger and food waste by redistributing good food that would otherwise go to waste. This food goes to frontline charities and community groups that support vulnerable people, including homeless shelters, children’s breakfast clubs, and domestic violence refuges. These organisations then transform the food into nutritious meals, which they provide alongside life-changing support.

Alyson possesses a wealth of knowledge of the food and retail sectors, having previously worked for Kingfisher Plc and Sainsbury’s. She is also an accomplished linguist and writer; with work published in both the Guardian and Sunday Times.

Panellist – Chris Lewis – Independent Analyst, RNIB Solutions Board Member

Chris sits on several Boards in the Visually Impaired charity sector where he brings his technology knowledge to help the RNIB and Vision 2020 leverage telecoms and communications technology for the blind and partially sighted community. Through the O2 and RNIB collaboration, O2 have trained over 80 of its in-store tech specialists. “Working with RNIB is an example of O2’s Think Big commitment to make a sustainable and positive contribution to local communities. Think Big is the basis of its sustainability plan, which focuses on people, customers and the planet.”

Panellist – Claire Davey, Global Community Manager - CSR, at Dentsu Aegis Network

Claire has worked in the Global CSR team of advertising giant Dentsu Aegis Network for the past 18 months, and more widely in Corporate Social Responsibility for 5 years at consultancy Three Hands and London City Airport. As a Cambridge Geography graduate, Claire has always been passionate about finding solutions to social and environmental issues, and believes in the pivotal role businesses can play.

In her role at DAN Claire activates the network to share their time and skills with their local communities. She also runs volunteering programmes and projects for the London-based DAN functional teams, and CSR Leadership Development Programme 'Route to Good' in collaboration with GlobalGiving.

What to expect?

The insight events combine an interesting mix of ‘live’ case studies of senior directors from companies who have encountered a relevant challenge, together with Q&A with industry experts.

Our insight events focus on what you can learn and how it might impact you or your business. We don’t spend that much time talking at attendees and we build in plenty of opportunities for attendees to question case study subjects.

How to Join?

Register for a complimentary spot at our #WBIDinner, “It’s not just profits: why successful businesses invest in their community” on Tuesday 26th September at Record Hall from 6pm to 9pm. This #WBIDinner is open to Directors and Senior Leaders from current Workspace customers and Club Workspace members and selected guests

Would you like to bring a guest to our #WBIDinner?

Email and let us know.

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