Article by Lauren Dixon, Humanity in Business

Image by Charl Folscher on Unsplash

Corporate social responsibility leaders can help companies align mission to actions, thus helping employees find purpose at work.

Shannon Schuyler’s career was not always in corporate social responsibility. She started her time at PwC about 24 years ago, beginning in human capital and recruiting roles, moving to marketing and sales, then eventually beginning their corporate social responsibility efforts on 2008. Back then, the recession meant attitudes toward big businesses were bad. “There was a need for organizations to say, ‘No, in actuality, there’s a lot of good that we do,’ ” she said.

Now, Schuyler is chief purpose officer and principal for responsible business leadership at PwC and president of the PwC Charitable Foundation, and she has observed the profession evolve both at her employer, and at other organizations.

Schuyler said that leaders in corporate social responsibility can sit in different parts of their organizations, including marketing, human capital or government affairs, but there is no guiding structure. “Based upon where you sit, your programs take on that look and feel, and there’s no one way that seems to be the one that has risen to the top,” she said.

Most who oversee this role are full-time employees, but small startups are likely to fill it part time. Few corporate social responsibility leaders report to their CEO, Schuyler said; most report to general counsel or to the CFO.

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