My favorite session of the week was the seminar about the role of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Public Relations practice. Dr. Daniel Korschun of Drexel University and Jennifer Gazzero; the sustainability analyst at FMC were the presenters of this session.
I honestly look up to Jennifer so much. In my opinion, she has the best and most rewarding job. Her position involves working closely with those in the crisis communication sector and creating company goals and campaigns to work on in order to gradually find solutions to problems facing the company. Gazzero is responsible for creating community engagement, workplace safety and environmental programs.
The session was set out in an interview-type form with Dr. Korschun asking Gazzero a series of questions, and her replying with great detail. One question and answer that really stuck with me from this session was when Korschun asked Gazzero what motivated the company to become sustainable. Her response was:
• The company acquired new management.
• Stakeholder and shareholders were applying pressure on the company and sales persons to be more environmentally conscious.
• The number of customer requests in general had risen significantly.
This company had no means of CSR until Gazzero came into the company’s picture. That is actually really shocking to me because environmental awareness and community engagement are important concepts in society. To think that there are companies in contemporary society who do not have sustainability programs and initiatives is perplexing to me, although it does mean that when the time comes, there will be a position in the field for me somewhere.
With only about 50 people in attendance, it is obvious to me that there are people who do not understand the important role CSR plays in contemporary society. I am really glad I attended this session and feel as though it has given me the guidance I need in order to move in the right career direction.