Alignment and partnership between business and community

In last week’s blog, I summarized a workshop I presented on September 22 at the Carolinas Conference on Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement. The workshop and blog reviewed the growing need for competencies around diversity and global awareness for leaders in today’s fast growing diverse global economy.

In addition to the workshop, I also was one of six panelists on a “Leadership Panel Discussion” along with other business and community leaders. One of the questions posed to the panel was “Is there a need for alignment or partnership between community and business organizations in our constantly changing local or regional landscape? Any recommendations for fostering these partnerships?”

I offered four points:

1. Traditionally, corporations have taken the lead in community partnerships and promoting diversity. For example, IBM provided equal opportunity and equal pay for African American and female employees at least a decade before it became federal law. Today, many corporations include sexual orientation and gender identity / expression in their diversity policies, as well as offer domestic partner benefits whereas our federal government has been unsuccessful in providing these protections and benefits. Especially with the log jam in Congress today, corporations will need to step up and lead.

2. In today’s economy, corporate wealth continues to increase while personal wealth is decreasing. A recent Associated Press article (link to article) reported that in the past quarter, personal wealth declined by 0.3% while at the same time corporate wealth (cash stockpiles specifically) increased 4.5%. It only makes sense that along with corporate wealth increase comes additional responsibility to lead within the community utilizing these resources.

3. A very important way for corporations to help the economy and local community is to focus on business development projects in traditionally poor areas with high levels of unemployment.

4. Finally, corporations, as they participate in corporate projects should continue to encourage employees to individually get involved in their community. This can involve not overworking employees so they have the time to get involved in their communities, providing additional time off for participation in projects, and continuing programs like matching grants where corporations provide matching donations to their employee community contributions.

The Importance of Strong Partnerships

In launching the Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer practice, I learned very early on that to maximize success, I needed to have a strong and diverse set of partners to assist in the many aspects of business start up and on-going operations. And these partners could include service providers, business partners, and even successful business people who simply provide encouragement and inspiration.

Therefore in this blog I would like to highlight and thank the following partners and encouragers: (and use the included links to check them out for yourself)

First, during this entire journey, Vickie Bevenour, the executive career coach and herself a successful entrepreneur, who was assigned to me by Right Management to lead me through a structured approach to maximize my success. Also to Kim Mills, an account manager for Right Management, who first recommended I engage Right Management’s services to assist with the business start up.

Jim Manchester of IYI Creative Services who not only designed, built and maintains my website, and set up my newsletter process, but also provides invaluable and creative advice of how to better utilize the web pages for selling and promoting my business.

Lorana Price and Dan Poindexter at Holy Cow Branding, who providing superb strategic branding consulting services and handled my business launch press release.

Former IBM colleague Sharon Hill, who encouraged and inspired me early in the process with her example of founding her own thriving speaking, writing and educational business Sharon Hill International.com. She also connected me with Holy Cow Branding.

Important in any venture is excellent banking services, and my Wachovia personal banker Patricia Madden-Renouard provided for all my business banking needs.

Experienced industry consultant Val Boston III of Boston and Associates, who welcomed me into the industry with his sage advice and also brought me in as a partner in a potential consulting engagement.

Pat Baillie, Associate Director of Training, at Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, the country’s leading organization for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) workplace equality, has been providing excellent training materials so can further enhance my skills.

The partnership between Global Roots and the Kamba Tribe in Kenya included a communal meal.

Any worthwhile venture needs to include a host of competent and successful associates, and the linking and intersecting with other successful professionals can help all us reach our highest potential.