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Be Courageous Sessions

Morning Quick-Talks

1) Courage with Intent: Defining your intent using materiality and stakeholder engagement to have the most impact

So your company wants to tackle major social issues. That’s exciting! But don’t let that courage result in a loud thud. 

Companies often make broad claims about transforming communities or improving lives. A critical question to ask early in the planning process is: What is your intent? Answering this question helps companies identify specific opportunities that will generate the greatest impact both for their communities and for their businesses. In this session, we will explore how practitioners can utilize materiality and stakeholder engagement—the so-called “tools of strategic CSR”—to zero in on their intent and help establish a framework for measuring impact more effectively. We will take participants through an example of how these traditional tools of CSR can be used to enhance corporate action on some of society’s most pressing challenges.


  • Jesse Nishinaga, Senior Consultant, Corporate Citizenship


2) Employee Relief Funds: How to support your employees in times of hardship or crisis

This session takes a deep look into Employee Relief Funds (ERF), the effectiveness in enabling your business to provide immediate charitable support to your employees, and the complexities of design and compliance with regulatory agencies.

The session will first focus on the concept of an ERF, and the second half will dive in to the workings of this kind of fund.

  • Bryan Clontz, President – Employee Assistance Fund
  • Doug Stockham, EP – Employee Assistance Fund

3) Shifting Focus: Successful tactics to change the direction of your corporate responsibility program

As CSR programs and the social impact landscape evolve, companies may need to shift the focus of their corporate philanthropy programs to remain relevant. This session will address two companies’ experience in pivoting the focus of its program, including how it worked with internal (company leadership/board and employees) and external (grantees, community partners, vendors) stakeholders to ensure a successful shift, challenges throughout the process, and lessons learned.

Attendees will leave the session with a greater understanding of the process and approach for successfully shifting their company’s corporate philanthropy focus.

  • Bernard Bourdeaux, Director CSR, Target
  • Cecily Joseph – VP, Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer, Symantec

Afternoon Breakouts

1) Corporate Responsibility Integration: Embedding corporate responsibility values and initiatives to improve commercial operations and drive sustainable business

Corporate Responsibility programs are often treated like separate departments or functions within a company, standing alone in strategy and reach.  However, more and more companies are recognizing the benefit of considering social and environmental issues as they relate to business operations.  This increased awareness is leading more companies to embed corporate responsibility principles throughout business operations, even shaping core competencies to reflect social and environmental sustainability. 

Participants will leave the session with a better understanding of how to successfully integrate corporate responsibility into business and creative ways to leverage their currently CR programs to benefit a broader range of business activities including supply chain, operations and product development.

  • Neal Myrick, Director of Social Impact, Tableau
  • Dana Beckman, Director Corporate Affairs, Alliance Data
  • Moderator - Jaime Barclay, Corporate Responsibility, Symantec

2) Future Proofing: Identifying changes in the corporate responsibility field and the skills practitioners need to thrive

Change is a constant in CR. As organizations merge, are acquired, and “pivot” to adapt to an ever changing competitive landscape, the thrust and focus of our work must adapt to remain impactful and relevant. CR must continuously evolve. Can CR jobs become obsolete in the next 10 years? Will they get absorbed back into business units? Who knows, but CR professionals need to be experts at change management and must possess a powerful arsenal of tools that keep their skills relevant.

Participants in this session will learn practical strategies that they can use to constantly expand their professional toolbox. We will focus on three specific skills: establishing network of mentors and peers, benefitting from a “growth mindset”, and managing self-care.

  • June Sugiyama, Director, Vodafone Americas
  • Mark Shamley, President, ACCP
  • Ellen Weinreb, Founder, Weinreb Group Sustainability Recruiting
  • Moderator - Olivia Khalili, Director Yahoo for Good, Yahoo

3) Courageous Policy: Companies taking a stand to uphold ethics and values

Taking bold and courageous steps is not always easy, especially as a corporation.  But, more and more corporations are choosing to make courageous commitments or public pledges by working in collaboration with other corporations and nonprofit partners.  Companies are making bold commitments to environmental management, leaving a net positive footprint, tackling one of the toughest social ills of our time, modern slavery in supply chains and pledging to make positive impacts in their local communities.

In this session, participants will learn about the value of making courageous commitments and policy by working in collaboration or as part of a coalition to hold each other accountable and move our industries forward.

  • Sandra Seru, Director – Forum for the Future
  • Justin Dillon, CEO/Co-Founder – Made in a Free World
  • Tom Tarantino, Public Policy Manager - Twitter