Carter Collins, Account Executive, VOX Dallas, co-authored this article. It’s June. That means the rainbow flag is everywhere throughout corporate America. The month, the anniversary of the LGBT rights movement, gives companies a platform to show support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ+) community — including their ...Continue reading >
Carter Collins, Account Executive, VOX Dallas, co-authored this article.
It’s June. That means the rainbow flag is everywhere throughout corporate America.
The month, the anniversary of the LGBT rights movement, gives companies a platform to show support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ+) community — including their employees and customers.
It’s easy to dismiss these gestures as rainbow marketing aimed at younger, urban consumers. Yet, a closer look at two cities, and some big-name brands, suggests that purposeful corporate activism runs deeper and has the potential to create inclusive communities and drive economic growth.
While the Supreme Court granted marriage equality for LGBTQ+ Americans in 2015, corporations helped create a culture that embraced the decision and have advocated for related civil rights issues that affect their employees and their bottom line.
Importantly, cities that have taken note are reaping rewards in new jobs and large corporate investments. Both Indianapolis and the greater Dallas-Fort Worth region make this point abundantly clear.
The Indiana tech-scene recently celebrated the arrival of Salesforce tower — and the 800 jobs, 500 new apprenticeships and spin-off economic development. But business leaders were quick to point out that such investment would only happen if two things happened: Indianapolis’ existing non-discrimination ordinance remained and Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was repealed.
During the RFRA fight, which critics charged opened the door to discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers, Indiana’s corporate titans sent an unmistakable message: there are real and significant economic consequences to discriminatory policies.
Today, the new Indianapolis skyline as both a beacon for high-tech talent and evidence of American’s investment to heartland. All possible when communities and industry combined to create an inclusive, business-friendly culture.
The climate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area has been different, but equally reliant on corporate activism.
In 2014, when Toyota USA announced they would move their headquarters from California to Plano, Texas, they faced a major workforce challenge. Their LGBT employees would lose nondiscrimination laws in the workplace. While Toyota had, and still has, inclusive policies, other companies in Texas could fire their employees for being LGBTQ+. This change risked alienating employees and their spouses; putting Toyota at a disadvantage in the global fight for talent.
So they went to work. Toyota advocated for nondiscrimination ordinances with Plano’s city council and won.
Since then, the city has received billions of dollars in new investment as companies expand their operations alongside Toyota. The car manufacturer’s voice mattered and accelerated the city’s transformation. Today, Toyota joins 20 other Fortune 500 companies in the DFW area, like AT&T, who loudly convince legislators from passing discriminatory laws.
For both Salesforce and Toyota, the fight for inclusive policies was about more than ‘feel-good’ activism. It had real-world implications.
When done right, corporate activism supports core business objectives, engages employees and reflects corporate values. But successful activism requires companies to answer key questions:
How does an issue affect our employees and our key stakeholders (customers, investors and community)? What are our values? How do those values fit within our brand? What actions are we willing to take to make an impact?
Armed with answers, companies can then build a framework for action: Fund aligned advocacy organizations. Convene thought leaders within the industry. Support identity groups within the company. Target stakeholders through digital advertising. And increase CEO thought leadership around solutions.
Today’s issues are evolving and changing, so companies should establish a clear decision-making process to engage. They should know how to capitalize on opportunities in real time and avoid reputational hazards along the way. With honest conversations and careful planning, businesses and communities can both drive and be rewarded for their social leadership.Continue reading >
On the Floor, and in the Air, at the Largest Unmanned and Robotic Trade Show “The Terminator” … “the robots are taking over mankind,” several engineers said — only half in jest — when asked at the AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL 2017 what they believe most worries consumers and policymakers about their technology. Over the last several days, many of the ...Continue reading >
Jessica Abensour co-authored this article. How can organizations effectively create long-term, sustainable social impact? It’s a question that many organizations are grappling with. In an attempt to answer this question, Boston College professors and leading thinkers in the social impact movement, Mary Cronin and Tiziana Dearing, brought ...Continue reading >
Written by Kyle Groetzinger, VOX DC Intern It’s a familiar scene to anyone who has paid attention to the news over the last year: Young people carrying brightly colored protest signs as they march down a blocked off street. A line of stoic police officers around the perimeter of the march, blue lights flashing behind them. Suddenly the scene ...Continue reading >
Unless you were living under a rock or couldn’t tear yourself away from the livestream of April the pregnant giraffe you probably were aware that yesterday was International Women’s Day. Companies big and small celebrated and recognized the day in lots of different ways. A few school districts in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina closed ...Continue reading >
Allison Kopp co-authored this post. The battle over Betsy DeVos’ Senate confirmation as Education Secretary may be over, but the debate over school choice is just heating up. DeVos’ contentious confirmation process demonstrated that school choice remains a polarizing and politicized issue. While education reforms like charter schools have ...Continue reading >
Our nation is politically divided and myriad channels exist for us to share our diversity of opinions online. As individuals, we use social media disclaimers like, “these thoughts are my own” or “my views don’t speak for my employer.” Then, we let our friends and followers know exactly what we think. Corporate ...Continue reading >
From the early days of his campaign to last week’s inaugural address, President Trump has consistently emphasized free trade agreements and immigration as the main threats to economic prosperity in the U.S. Consequently, his administration intends to “follow two simple rules; buy American and hire American,” the president said during his ...Continue reading >
Your Reputation is Now a Target of Cyber Criminals Your organization will be hacked. That is the new reality. Up until now, the battle has been containment: the robbers (i.e., hackers) may get past your front door, so the strategy is to keep them out of your vault (e.g., social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc.). But, what if the new ...Continue reading >
Written By Aysha Khan, Fellow, VOX Dallas What do a homeless New Yorker, an aspiring lawyer from the Democratic Republic of Congo and President Barrack Obama have in common? They were all photographed by Brandon Stanton – and each image has hundreds of thousands of likes on Instagram and Facebook. Brandon Stanton, a Chicago native, ...Continue reading >
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