- corporate social responsibility
- communication techniques
- global CSR programme
Robin Alexander is the Impact Manager at GeoComply, a global technology company offering cybersecurity solutions that detect location fraud and verify a customer’s true digital identity. Currently based in London, Robin designs and leads their CSR program by establishing and nurturing relationships with nonprofits, universities, and other types of organizations that help them to advance their key social causes.
Hear her full story on the Purpose Heroes Podcast, below.
Robin’s Personal Purpose
“I think that it’s really important for what we are doing as CSR professionals to be authentic. Our work should come from a place where we do really want to make a difference – because this passion helps to drive it forward. I’ve always been a little bit of an activist, particuarly for women’s right, and came from a political background, so naturally that helps a lot with our focus on gender equality at GeoComply. I also do a lot of work in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and, again, it helps when this passion comes from an authentic place.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
GeoComply’s Program Mission
With just over 400 employees across the world, GeoComply is a global company headquartered in Canada with hubs in Vietnam, Poland, Ukraine, the UK, and the U.S. Their corporate mission is to build a safer and more secure internet for all, which they translate into their daily operations and corporate relationships.
Building fraud detection, geolocation, and cybersecurity technology, their function as a company is to ensure that their clients can trust who is on the other end of a transaction. This goal naturally lends itself to their greater missions as a company: to help law enforcement and organizations fight online child exploitation and to make the technology industry a more diverse space.
“We really want to create opportunities for groups that have traditionally been marginalized by systemic barriers to exclusion, education, and employment. So we actively seek out partnerships with organizations that are, for example, supporting women in STEM or Indigenous people in STEM to really provide those opportunities where they otherwise might not be. Therefore, we’re creating more equitable working environments, particularly in the technology industry, which is obviously where we operate. We want to ensure that it’s a fair playing field for everyone so that kind of echoes internally what we do at GeoComply and the opportunities that we establish externally.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
Read on to learn how Robin and her team incorporate their big goals of protecting people online and providing tech opportunities to underrepresented groups into their social efforts – and how they get all employees at GeoComply involved in the process.
How GeoComply embeds their corporate purpose into their business operations
Speaking to Robin, it’s clear that her intention is always to cultivate a sense of authenticity when it comes to the social impact initiatives at GeoComply. Whether this is staying true to her own passions as an individual, encouraging other employees to support the causes that are meaningful to them, or bolstering the larger issues that the company and its software help to protect, she believes that everything should be connected back to a genuine sense of purpose and meaning.
This is why, at GeoComply, they work to embed their corporate purpose directly into their operations to ensure that all employees feel anchored in the company’s mission and understand how their work contributes to the greater good.
“When I first arrived to GeoComply, I saw that the technology that we were using was actually really helpful in fighting child exploitation. I really liked the fact that the technology of the company marries up to the social causes that we try to advance, as well. And it all comes from a very logical place; it makes sense that we’re helping to fight these issues.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
Of course, infusing corporate purpose into your company culture is an on-going process, one that Robin works tirelessly to execute. Let’s explore her techniques for ensuring that all employees not only feel connected to the company’s mission – but also understand how to contribute to it.
Spreading the word around the world
GeoComply is a rapidly-growing company with employees all around the globe. With that, Robin believes that it’s important from a CSR perspective to put a focus on communications. She finds that the more employees feel bought into the process and that the company is held accountable to them, the more engaged they are.
And if part of her role is to ensure that the company has meaningful impact, then she must think of engaging ways to spread not only information about company-wide initiatives but also effectively reporting back what’s being achieved as a group.
“I’ll give you an example of our internal communications: We have a big office in Ukraine so obviously when the conflict started in February, all of our employees wanted to do something to support their colleagues that were based there. We quickly mobilized, ensuring that everyone was aware of what options were available to them in terms of supporting their colleagues, what they could do internally, and what they could do to support external organizations. It was crucial to provide that information through those internal communication channels on a regular basis so that people felt that they had an outlet where they can go if they want to help. We were also getting information from our team in Ukraine as to what nonprofits they would recommend to ensure that the funds were being spent in a meaningful way in places that were close to our hearts.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
To spread information to employees, Robin and her team use a number of channels:
- Internal podcast
- Instant messaging services
- Town hall meetings
While all of these communication methods are crucial to the success of their program, their internal podcast is a particularly interesting tool at GeoComply. During their monthly segment on social impact, they cover key celebrations, share stats, information, and updates, raise awareness, and conduct interviews with nonprofits to tell real stories that connect employees to GeoComply’s key issues.
“I think the podcast interviews are really beneficial for the team as they get to understand why exactly we’re doing what we’re doing, what our motivations are, and they feel more bought into it when listening to a real person. So they hear stories as opposed to it just coming from one or two people within the CSR team.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
All of these forms of communication ensure that Robin and her team are accountable to GeoComply’s workforce, giving them opportunities to really get involved in their social impact offerings.
However, providing interesting activities to employees can be a challenge when your workforce is spread around the world. Luckily, Robin also shared some advice about how GeoComply manages to plan local events on a global scale.
Planning global campaigns with a local feel
From her base in London, Robin works closely with team members based in other hubs to ensure that their program seeps into each region where GeoComply is present. These program ambassadors help the impact team build global campaigns that resonate regionally – and make certain that employees across the world have the information they need to participate.
“I work with the office management and HR teams in our different offices to organize together. As I sit in the middle, I help to plan and align the teams, coordinating on the social issues that we want to celebrate. I very much encourage our teams that are actually local in those areas to also get involved and celebrate how they want to celebrate. Particularly when it comes to Vietnam and Ukraine, as they know their local areas and nonprofits best. So my role is really to empower them to do that and execute the broader vision of the program.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
These relationships are crucial to the success of their global program and are particularly effective when paired with an online platform that helps GeoComply source volunteering and fundraising activities in each specific area where they’re present.
“Going back to the Ukraine example, when that conflict started, we were happy to offer many options on the Benevity platform when it came to humanitarian aid organizations that people could donate to – both internationally and more locally focused. We essentially directed our team towards a list of nonprofits that they could choose to donate to depending on the area. And we saw a lot of activity around that, especially because we have a matching program at GeoComply. So it’s a super easy way for the company to quickly match the dollars to ensure that the funds are being raised, especially in a very dynamic situation like Ukraine, when they need funds quickly – and people want to donate quickly. We also used the announcement function within Benevity to always display a little banner that says ‘Support Ukraine,’ which is still there now.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
Further from sourcing activities, CSR platforms also act as a space for bringing employees together to support meaningful causes as one group – no matter where they are in the world.
“I think it’s super engaging for the team to have a space where they can meet with other people and get involved externally on these issues. We have a really big culture of education at GeoComply, so it aligns quite well with what Benevity offers. It’s great to have so many options available for our team to go on and support social causes that they care about in the way that they want to.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
Inspiring participation by leveraging relevant awareness days
One useful tactic that Robin has adopted when planning a full calendar of yearly events is to root their initiatives in meaningful awareness days that are linked to their corporate purpose.
For example, on an annual basis they prioritise honoring Black History Month, International Women’s Day, and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada – all of which align with the core causes that GeoComply stands-by.
“The campaign that I’m most proud of is our International Women’s Day event. We’ve done a couple of annual events that focus around professional development for local women by partnering with nonprofits and women’s shelters to bring in women who have faced difficult circumstances and are seeking professional help. Maybe they’re changing jobs, changing careers, reentering the workforce, perhaps after taking a break, maybe due to having children – it’s very much a catch-all event. And we have amazing volunteers that always get involved in GeoComply. We also have an incredible training team that trains our clients and teams on our product through informational sessions, resume and interview workshops, and more, all for giving women those professional skills that are needed to enter a very competitive workforce.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
Plus, Robin finds that these cause day campaigns are an effective opportunity to rally further engagement through Challenges on the Benevity platform.
“We used a lot of Benevity’s Challenges for Black History month to encourage people to read a book, learn more, and even chat about history and educate themselves.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
Awareness days are a useful tool for guaranteeing that your team provides interesting campaigns year-round, and Robin can certainly attest to their power in fostering engagement. However, she advises everyone working in the industry to pay attention to what’s happening in the world and stay reactive.
“Certainly for big Awareness Day, we do an education and awareness campaign, encourage donations, and then maybe also do a volunteer event. But it’s also important to continue to be agile and pay attention to what’s going on around you in the world to ensure that you stay current and that you’re responding to immediate need. Ukraine is one example, but obviously we live in a time, unfortunately, of more frequent extreme weather events. So the extent to which we as a company and then as a team can be helpful in responding to those and mobilising our team to really give back to society in times when they really need it – that’s quite powerful.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
Tips & advice for other companies
- Keep it authentic. Marry your purpose to your broader company mission and who you are as a team – this is very powerful because your people feel like they’re part of a movement as opposed to just the CSR program sitting alongside the company.
- Utilize local champions and advocates. For example, your local HR team or office management team that can talk about what’s going on and promote it within their own offices, particularly if you have employees across the globe.
- Plan your yearly campaigns out in advance by picking a few awareness days throughout that connect to your corporate purpose. However, remain agile for the unpredictable causes that will come up.
“The main thing I wish I knew before I started is the importance of having a super engaged team that is aware of what you’re doing. This is really powerful because the more people are aware, the more they want to help and get involved. And you feel like you have a whole team of people behind you as opposed to being one small department.”Robin Alexander, Impact Manager at GeoComply
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