Corporate Citizenship Conference: Winning a Seat at the Table

By Glenn Gutterman

How do you convince your CEO to serve double duty as Chief Sustainability Officer? Winning a Seat at the Table – the theme for the 2010 Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship Conference – underscores the importance of having visible buy-in from the C-suite. The BCCCC Conference convenes high-level CSR professionals and thought-leaders for strategy sessions and networking.

Celebrating 25 years of research, training and connecting professionals, the BCCCC hosts this exclusive annual event to create a safe space for in-house corporate responsibility practitioners to open up about shortcomings and challenges across industries. It’s a coup that Triple Pundit was invited to report from inside the conferences.

The 400-plus conference participants come primarily from large corporations with just a smattering of small and medium size enterprises, non-profits, consultants and students.

BCCCC corporate membership is at an historic high and the number of conference attendees is up by 25 percent over last year, signaling that some recession-motivated travel restrictions and budget cuts have been lifted. The vibe is high-energy with a heavy emphasis on networking. The “In Good Conversation” salon has been set up to facilitate schmoozing. The salon is a great place to watch the ten finalists of the film festival, or catch an insightful presentation from Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth on leveraging social media and demystifying Twitter. On display is the latest research from BCCCC. The Center’s reports are available for free.

The conference boasts incredible keynote speakers, including visual thinking consultant Dan Roam, who won Business Week’s first place prize for World’s Best Presentation of 2009. Roam asserted “Whoever best describes a problem is the person most likely to solve it. Therefore, whoever draws the best picture gets the funding.” Roam encouraged conference participants to get in touch with their inner-doodler and think about solving problems in a completely different way.

Check back for more posts over the next few days as I interview panelists offering expertise spanning the CSR spectrum from community involvement to socially responsible investing.

Pass along your questions and I will post the responses from CSR luminaries.

Glenn Gutterman is a CSR and institutional development consultant who lives in Bogotá, Colombia. His expertise spans employee volunteerism to sustainability reporting. He consults with businesses and organizations that value people, planet and profit, and seek competitive advantage through CSR.

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