Corporate Service Corps

Practicing Citizenship: Being Essential to the Community and IBM

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The practice of corporate citizenship can take varying forms at different organizations. At IBM, corporate citizenship is fully integrated into the company’s overall business strategy. This integration enables IBM – and IBMers – to affect meaningful and sustainable change for our citizenship clients. In the first of a series of articles on the practice of corporate citizenship, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Director for the Americas Doris González outlines the critical role of the corporate citizenship manager as influencer, partner and IBM brand ambassador to public and private sector entities working to build
a smarter planet.

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Though it first emerged in the 1960s, the field of corporate citizenship or corporate responsibility began to get mainstream acceptance in the 1990s as the “new big idea in the business world.” Over the years, corporate citizenship has continued to evolve and mature into a field with great career opportunities, representing the face – and heart – of
a company.

At IBM, social responsibility has been built into the very fabric of the company since it was founded more than a century ago. As the practice of corporate citizenship has evolved, the role of the corporate citizenship manager also has progressed from overseeing the disbursement of cash grants to developing strategies to apply IBM’s best talent and technology to solving the world’s toughest societal issues in such areas as education, global health, literacy, economic development and environmental sustainability. Business and citizenship strategies must be aligned to be sustainable. As part of that strategic alignment, we focus our resources on specific efforts to help educators and school systems, nonprofit organizations and cities succeed. In the process, we develop leadership and collaboration skills among our employees, and open new markets to our business.

Today’s corporate citizenship managers personify IBM’s core values while building on widely ranging expertise in education, economic development, nonprofit management, and civic and community leadership to help governments, municipalities and nonprofits work smarter to serve their constituents better. Through such innovative programs as the P-TECH grades 9 – 14 schools model, the IBM Corporate Service Corps (modeled on the Peace Corps), the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge and IBM Impact Grants, corporate citizenship managers (and IBMers at large) become trusted influencers and partners with the communities they serve.

In addition, our citizenship managers create opportunities for our broader employee base to develop and expand their global collaboration skills. By working with a diversity of nations, cultures and languages – both among our citizenship clients, and within our program teams – IBMers face unique challenges that require them to develop innovative problem-solving skills. The resulting competencies not only enable our employees to deliver the best service to our partners and clients, they also enhance IBM’s competitiveness as a globally integrated enterprise.

Doris B. González is Director of IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs
for the Americas.

Related Resources:

From Shared Value to Real Value

Why IBM Is America’s Most Community-Minded Company

Celebrating Citizen Diplomacy

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