Women in CSR: Ginny Cassidy, Medtronic

Welcome to our series of interviews with leading female CSR practitioners where we are learning about what inspires these women and how they found their way to careers in sustainability. Read the rest of the series here.

ginny cassidy head shot2TriplePundit: Briefly describe your role and responsibilities, and how many years you have been in the business.

Ginny Cassidy: I am the Program Leader, 
Collective Investment & Corporate Citizenship Strategy, Medtronic. 

I am responsible for producing Medtronic’s Corporate Citizenship report and recently moved into an expanded role that includes supporting product donations and corporate giving.

3p: How has the sustainability program evolved at your company?

GC: Medtronic’s first focus was on environmental sustainability. The company set five-year goals around energy and water use, waste and emissions that end in 2013 and will be setting new goals in those areas for 2020.

In 2008, we issued our first GRI-based report on the company’s economic, social and environmental performance. We issue a full, comprehensive report every other year and updates on alternate years. In 2010, we introduced five citizenship pillars that guide our efforts. In 2011, we created a governance and management structure to drive performance improvement, and in 2012, we shared public goals related to each of our five pillars. 

Our strategy and management continues to evolve as we learn what is most effective and advantageous for the company.

3p: Tell us about someone (mentor, sponsor, friend, hero) who affected your sustainability journey and how they did it.

ginny cassidy family with Sparty
The Cassidy family with Sparty – Michigan State University’s mascot.

GC: Early in our reporting journey, around 2009, there was a VP at Medtronic who took a real interest in the potential of reporting to drive strategy and performance improvement. That interest resulted in resources that really let us enhance our report and take the first steps in creating a management/governance structure and a more strategic approach to our overall performance.

3p: What is the best advice you have ever received?

GC: Be patient, positive and persistent.

3p: Can you share a recent accomplishment you are especially proud of?

GC: Moving into more of a strategic role. It’s exciting to identify performance improvement opportunities that bring business value, and to move from reporting primarily on what we’ve done, to communicating where we want to go.

3p: If you had the power to make one major change at your company or in your industry, what would it be?

GC: More engagement around citizenship/sustainability at all levels of the company.

3p: Describe your perfect day.

GC: Work or personal? I’ll opt for the latter. It would be to be outside running, biking, walking on a beautiful warm, sunny day.

Andrea Newell has more than ten years of experience designing, developing and writing ERP e-learning materials for large corporations in several industries. She was a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and a contract consultant for companies like IBM, BP, Marathon Oil, Pfizer, and Steelcase, among others. She is a writer and former editor at TriplePundit and a social media blog fellow at The Story of Stuff Project. She has contributed to In Good Company (Vault's CSR blog), Evolved Employer, The Glass Hammer, EcoLocalizer and CSRwire. You can reach her at andrea.g.newell@gmail.com and @anewell3p on Twitter.