International Women’s Day: I Choose to Challenge Corporations

International Women’s Day: I Choose to Challenge Corporations featured image
Editor’s note: International Women’s Day theme for 2021 is Choose to Challenge. We asked our leaders to present their personal views and share stories of challenges they have undertaken. Meet Adam Greenberg, Vice President for Rizing’s Business Development. These are Adam’s personal observations. 

#ChoosetoChallenge – Do you accept? 

My Story

In 2014 Hurricane Odile, recorded as the most intense landfalling tropical cyclone, devastated much of the coast along Mexico’s southern Baja.  Massive infrastructure was destroyed including airports, resorts, and roads.

I have a winter home in this area. It was miraculously left unscathed. An orphanage to which I had donated in the past did not fare as well; it was quite devasted. Thankfully, none of the children living there were injured, but they were clearly traumatized. One adult woman who volunteered there told me through tear-filled eyes how she felt like a mama chicken protecting her brood under her wings as she huddled with the children under a strong metal table in the boy’s dormitory to ride out the storm.

This is a volunteer-run facility for children who have been abandoned by their parents due to struggles with addiction, violence, and poverty; there is no government funding, and they were in a crisis- situation.

My first thought upon reflecting on the gravity of the situation was that someone should do something.  I showed the photos to my wife and said those exact words to her. Her response literally changed the trajectory of my life. “Everyone is always ‘should-ing on everyone else. Why don’t you do something?  Why don’t we do something together?” This was her #choosetochallenge to me.

Taking Action

Leaders2Inspire and Leaders2Give - #choosetochallenge #iwd2021
The Greenbergs challenge poverty in Mexico through Leaders2Inspire and Leaders2Give

In the months that followed, we campaigned in earnest. The funds necessary to rebuild were raised and construction began. I took an active role as volunteer director of the facility and accepted responsibility for financial sustainment.

Years later, I was approached by a woman who is a semi-retired attorney from California.  She had been following my work and wanted to help create some structure to help with these efforts.  She offered to help establish a formal non-profit organization pro bono. Together we formed the non-profit organization, LEADERS2GIVE INC., a California-based 501(c)3 organization.

My first step was to recruit a Board of Directors. I was joined by, Tracey Greenberg, Deb Lawson, Beth Cartlidge, and Phyllis Newton, the attorney who had approached me. These four incredible women and I set out on a mission to

inspire, teach & empower others to become leaders who possess the skills required to solve the problems facing society by providing an opportunity to convert ideas into action through hands on work in developing communities…” 

In other words, we #choose2challenge individuals to step up in a bigger way.

I also run another non-profit business, LEADERS2INSPIRE which I founded with two women. We #choosetochallenge corporations. Recently, we wrote a white paper entitled Corporate Social Transformation — A Better Way of Operating. The premise is that corporations have an opportunity to lead a transformation in our global society to assist their workers, communities, and consumers, to reach their full potential.

I’d like to highlight how the guidance contained within can be used to specifically support all women as we consider why we celebrate International Woman’s Day and how we want to contribute.

Set Your ‘North Star’

Corporations need to be very clear on the goals, mission, and vision of their organization. Everyone needs to be aligned so they will be able to help realise that vision. Consider adding a clause about gender equality as part of your organization’s mission.

Improve Lives

Pause before considering any transformation in your company and ask yourself and your team whether that change will ultimately be improving lives. Let us be certain, for example, that our changes are supporting gender equality for our employees, customers, and all stakeholders. If corporations adopt the tenant that transformation is only worthwhile if you are improving lives then they will employ and attract the next generation of leaders while having the strongest, most loyal workforce and customer base.

Understand the Transformation Process

When a leader in any organization wants to make a change, it’s important to understand and support the process their colleagues and teams need to experience to decide if the proposed change really is an improvement. This adopted process will then not only be accepted but will help to drive the change.

Consider Employee and Customer Experience

When looking to better your business outcomes, calculate your employee and customer experience levels through surveys. When combing through responses, look for red flags that could have gender inequality at their core. Include specific questions that could potentially highlight any gender inequality. Ensure that experience data is used to improve operations.

Create New Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

Traditionally, businesses have been primarily focused on financial KPIs. In other words, a business is deemed healthy based upon financial metrics. In most corporations today, there is far less value placed on other metrics such as employee satisfaction, wellbeing, consumer net promoter scores, customer loyalty, and contributions to the community. We recommend picking new KPIs that make the above topics a priority. A KPI that supports gender equality could be, “What percentage of leadership positions are held by women in our organization?”

Stand up for Gender Equality

On this International Women’s Day, I #choosetochallenge you just as my wife challenged me after the orphanage had been devasted –

Everyone is always ‘should-ing’ on everyone else. Why don’t you do something?  Why don’t we do something together” to stand up for gender equality?

I believe organizations that could follow the guidance offered above will be leading the transformation in our global society to assist their people, teams, and communities to reach their full potential.

They will then be able to attract/retain the best talent, creating the most innovative products and services resulting in a desirable brand that yields better business outcomes. These businesses will also attract the consumers who are increasingly demanding social responsibility from the retailers they choose to shop at and refer products and services from.

Do you accept?

About the Author

Adam Greenberg is Vice President, Business Development Program in Rizing’s Sales organization. His expertise includes helping companies improve execution, increase engagement and drive performance to achieve superior business results through a collaborative approach. In his work, he is focused on unifying corporate social responsibility, talent development, and branding for improved financial performance. He is the Founder and CEO of Leaders2Give and Co-Founder and President of Leaders2Inspire.

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Rizing’s International Women’s Day 2021 Series: