Apparently Stephen Kelly fancied a lay-in on Wednesday, because he handed keynote control over to Marc Scheipe, Sage’s president of North America. Or perhaps they just thought, Branson is British, he can chat with Kelly, while American Scheipe can chinwag with locals Gwyneth Paltrow and Zooey Deschanel – just to prevent any confusion around pavements, sidewalks and the like. Each day of the Summit so far has had an specific theme – at least in my mind, that’s been the case. Collaboration was day one and day two was about inspiration, so philanthropy is at the heart of day three. When Scheipe spoke to Paltrow and Deschanel, he asked about their stance on “the giving economy” – doing something good for the local community. As HelloGiggles was bought for around $30m, Deschanel said her goal is to make people feel safe and happy on her platform. However, Paltrow has high expectations for Goop. “We like to think of ourselves as really supporting women and the feminine mind and perspective. Content is designed to offer women good choices,” she said. The actress added that there is room for charitable components to launch within the business in the new year. “2017 will be when we get clear on our charitable mission to align and make an impact,” said Paltrow. As if being an actress and entrepreneur weren’t enough, another project Deschanel works on is running an organic farming outfit in Texas. Despite questions from Paltrow about the legitimacy of her venture, it came to light it is indeed food and not marijuana that’s being grown. The aim is to develop fresh food while using tech to improve people’s access to nutrition.
Of course, Sage has its eye on the giving economy, or corporate social responsibility (CSR) , with the Sage Foundation which launched in 2015. Chief people officer Sandra Campopiano said that in a year since launching, staff members have changed lives and communities. “We’ve invested financially and donated products, but we are driving Sage Foundation to be more than we every could have imagined,” she said. Three groups in particular have special attention from the firm, including young people, veterans and women. A former veteran himself, Scheipe admits that supporting veterans is very close to his heart, having completed two deployments himself. Dropping some numbers on the room, he said one in ten small US businesses are owned by veterans – in fact, businesses owned by former servicemen and servicewomen generated over $1tn in sales last year. “Veterans are often faced with decisions of what to do next and find meaning. Starting a business is a great way to find passion and purpose. What people may not know is veterans are two times more likely to be business owners,” he added. What’s the point of all of this though? Why do businesses need to be prepared to give? Talking about the Foundation, Scheipe said: “It expects colleagues to stop make a difference in communities. Businesses can be a forced for good, and Sage has committed time, money and products to bring that to life.” He claims that getting involved with life-changing projects has resulted in an energised organisation appearing with mission and focus.”People expect businesses they buy from, and companies they work for, to have higher purpose. And businesses want a trusted partner that’s having a positive impact on communities,” he reasoned. “Business is at its most powerful when it gives back. I encourage you to give back. It might be through colleagues or through a fundraiser, but the main thing is to find higher purpose to inspire colleagues, which will bring out so much satisfaction.” By Zen Terrelonge
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