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Women in CSR: Aman Singh, CSRwire

| Thursday February 13th, 2014 | 13 Comments

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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.

AmanSingh_newpicTriplePundit: Briefly describe your role and responsibilities, and how many years you have been in the business.

Aman Singh: I am the Editorial Director at CSRwire. I lead content distribution, social media strategy – for clients and our own – CSR/sustainability reporting services and other editorial functions, including managing CSRwire’s commentary section Talkback. I have worked with Fortune 500 companies as well as the country’s leading nonprofits and academic institutions on creating and implementing communication strategies focused on stakeholder engagement and behavior change, including Unilever, Verizon, SAP, ARAMARK, Campbell Soup, Sodexo, EarthShare, Points of Light and others.

I am a student of journalism and started my career right after graduating from high school at Tehelka, a website based out of New Delhi, India, that at that time was known for its investigatory exposes and cutting-edge reporting. Along the way, I’ve worked at myriad outlets including ABC News, The Villager, Downtown Express and The Wall Street Journal. So I’ve been in the “business of writing and editing” for over 15 years. But I turned my focus to CSR and sustainability during the 2008 recession when things were crumbling around us economically and responsibility – both corporate and personal – seemed in short supply. Since then I have written for numerous publications including Forbes, Bloomberg, CNBC, The Vault, Greenbiz, and TriplePundit.

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

AS: We have several CSR and sustainability programs in place including a community program where my colleagues in Springfield, Mass. – where CSRwire is headquartered – mentor teenagers who often have been convicted of crimes and lack male role models to lead economically viable careers. We mentor social enterprises through the Gasoline Alley Foundation, also started by CSRwire CEO Joe Sibilia.

Our sustainability programs include offsetting our carbon usage, installing motion detector lights in our offices, monitoring our energy use, recycling all paper and plastic, donating deposit bottles and cans to homeless neighbors on the street, composting all food waste, nurturing over 100 living plants inside our buildings, building our own furniture out of recycled materials, providing a forum and space for aspiring local artists, maintaining a library of sustainability books for local businesses, participating in a Community Garden Program, providing space for the local motorcycle club of public safety officials, holding a live demonstration of PCP, renting street lights from the local utility company for the street we are located on (the city can’t afford more lights and we have lights facing the buildings and the street), and committing to eating and shopping locally.

In October 2013, we also switched to 100 percent renewable energy using Viridian Energy’s Wind Power Program. Additionally, we are signatories to the UNGC and submit a Communication on Progress every year. We are also a benefit corporation and submit our progress report to the B Lab as required. Between the two associations, we are able to gauge and improve upon our sustainability efforts annually.

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

AS: I met Campbell Soup’s CSR VP Dave Stangis on the day of my first panel engagement years ago. Having always been the one asking questions and reporting on issues, I was nervous to switch roles as I am still most comfortable asking the questions! Dave took one look at me and the copious notes I had made in preparation (blame journalism training!) and said, “Just stand straight, look into the crowd and speak from your heart.” His advice has since helped me lead hundreds of discussion panels and even do solo keynotes and presentations at conferences.

Jeffrey Hollender was an early inspiration as well with his mix of activist leanings and corporate experience.

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

AS: “Boring is good.” Said ever so often by my boss Elizabeth Wood when I was at the WSJ. Today, as I juggle my work at CSRwire, where every day brings new challenges and tests of my knowledge, patience and skills, and a newborn at home, her words ring oh so true in my ears!

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

AS: Giving birth and managing a newborn! On the professional front, increasing CSRwire’s editorial capacity twofold last year, growing our traffic by over 60 percent and working with some of the best people and brands in sustainability.

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

AS: Change the way PR and marketing professionals analyze “success.” And train the entire industry on how to contextualize CSR and sustainability at their organizations. Their models are increasingly outdated. With social media offering so much opportunity for authentic and genuine stakeholder engagement, organizations would do well to shed their skins and take advantage of these media to shake things up, face their challenges, get recognized and shift into collaborative mode.


▼▼▼      13 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • davestangis

    Love it. I remember that day Aman – you brought a smile back to my face. You have been a tremendous voice and force in CSR!

  • Aman

    Thank you Dave! Your work in the field is blazing some extraordinary trails. Privileged to have collaborated with you.

  • joe sibilia

    Aman, congratulations on motherhood and your innovative approach to social media. We are proud to be associated with you.

    • Aman

      Appreciate that Joe. Proud to work at CSRwire.

  • Sarah A. Altschuller

    Congrats Aman on your professional and personal achievements!

    • Aman

      Thanks Sarah!

  • AndreaLearned

    Aman – you ARE helping change the way we all measure success (marketing, PR and beyond)! What you have brought to the broader “social” sustainability and CSR discussion has been incredible. We are lucky to get whatever time you give us, now that you’ve added a child to your family!

    • Aman

      Thanks Andrea. I so truly appreciate that. When you work hard you seek
      big results…I feel privileged to know you and to be able to
      collaborate with you!

  • MarcyMurninghan

    A lovely interview, Aman, that showcases your strengths. As someone who has watched you grow during your “tenure” in “the field” (now a sprawling industry), I’ve marveled not only at your own evolution, but your ability to elevate what it means to be a professional. We’re all pioneers in this quest, and yours has been an authentic and powerful voice for good.

    • Aman

      So appreciative of your kind words Marcy! Much to learn from you.

  • Linda Lowson, Esq.

    Congrats, Aman. You certainly deserve the recognition. Your vision, hard work, and dedication are a rare combination of qualities admired by all!

  • http://www.csrindia.com/ sujansharma

    CSR At present time gain immense amount of popularity in each and every part of our society & it may surely be beneficial for our society to improve

    http://www.csrindia.com

  • Claire

    Admirer here, delighted to learn more about you, and cheers for your well-deserved recognition here. I remember meeting you in June 2012 at the Responsible Business Summit and being so impressed with your moderation skills. And today, you’re a model for creating conversations that matter on social media, as if we all were in a room together.