Friday, September 19, 2008

Obama, McCain and Time Magazine on Service and Leadership

Chris Warren the 2008 Tutor/Mentor Connection Public Service Fellow from Northwestern University as written an informative article about the public service commitments of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

He also has written an article showing the benefits that companies and employees incurr when businesses encourage volunteers to become involved in tutor/mentor programs, as part of their own workforce development strategies.

I've created a pdf titled "recruiting talent volunteers" which illustrates the benefits to non profit infrastructure if corporations were encouraging back-office talent, such as technology, human resources, marketing, training, to take roles that support non profit organizations.

Furthermore, I use maps to illustrate a planning strategy that we hope hospitals, universities, churches and hospitals will use to encourage employee involvement in multiple locations where they do business, not just in one or two.

Yesterday I attended a conference and had the opportunity to meet a Diversity Officer at American Airlines. He told how companies like Texaco and Coke incurred millions of dollars in legal expenses in past years because of diversity related law suites and how other companies face similar lawsuits today. I suggested to him that if a company had a volunteer-engagement strategy that encouraged employees to connect with inner city youth and volunteers from other companies throughout the city, rather than in one or two places. With such a strategy, they could demonstrate their diversity commitment by plotting locations in poverty and minority neighborhoods where they are involved, with maps similar to the one on this page which shows donations from the legal community to tutor/mentor programs in 2007.

This is a visual illustration of a corporate strategy. It does not cost much to encourage this type of volunteer involvement. As Chris's article shows, there are many benefits to the company and its employees. If such a strategy helps a big company avoid a multi million dollar legal suite, that's just one more reason to invest in such a strategy. Read some of the other tags on "talent", "workforce" and "volunteerism" that are on the side of this blog to see more ideas on this topic.

Of cource the biggest winner of all is the child who connects with a volunteer and a tutor/mentor program one year, and who is starting a job/career 10 or 20 years later because of the consistent mentoring, tutoring and adult support he received over this journey.

We all win when this happens. I hope our leaders recognize this and provide the day to day encouragement that makes such programs happen in more places.

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