In America today there is a huge untapped resource that could dramatically improve the productivity of companies across the nation. Renewable energy? Tax breaks? No… It’s the 1 million military veterans returning to the job market. One million individuals who understand teamwork and leadership, have a proven ability to learn quickly, a strong work ethic, dedication, and the ability to work under pressure.
Time magazine called this wave of returning veterans “The Next Greatest Generation.” If we can tap into this resource we can do much to fill the skills gap that our country faces and make progress toward a faster-growing economy. However, many companies have been slow to see this wave. Unemployment for veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 hovers at a shockingly high 22 percent.
Data isn’t sexy. It doesn’t have the emotional appeal of water flowing from a hand pump for the first time into a child’s waiting hands. Nor does it have the “going viral” potential of Matt Damon refusing to use the toilet for a year.
But data is a valuable commodity for the organizations working to deliver clean water and sanitation to people who lack those basic resources. Having the right data can drive smarter decision-making and make water and sanitation projects more efficient, more effective, and more appealing to funders.
But in parts of the world where clean water is the scarcest, data is often the hardest to gather. Internet connections can be limited or nonexistent in remote parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This makes it difficult to gather data that can be analyzed and shared in a timely way. By the time you’ve gone home, entered your notes into a spreadsheet, compared it to other reports, and shared your findings with colleagues, the situation in the Malawian village you visited might have changed significantly.
This week TriplePundit featured Cisco Corporate Affairs Senior Director Kathy Mulvany in its series on leading female CSR practitioners. Read the complete interview below. Thanks to TriplePundit for permission to republish this interview.
TriplePundit: Briefly describe your role and responsibilities, and how many years you have been in the business.
Kathy Mulvany: As senior director of corporate affairs, I’m responsible for helping to steward Cisco’s overall corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, build awareness of our CSR programs around the world, and engage with a broad set of stakeholders including customers, shareholders, governments, nonprofit partners and advocacy groups. Within Corporate Affairs, I oversee a number of teams, including CSR strategy and planning, marketing and communications, the Cisco Foundation and corporate grant making, CSR reporting and stakeholder engagement, as well as our veterans program.
I’ve been a part of Cisco’s Corporate Affairs organization for seven years and with Cisco since 1996. One benefit of working for a large corporation is that I’ve had the opportunity to move around within the business, which keeps it fresh while broadening my expertise and professional network. Having worked in various Cisco organizations over the years, including Corporate Marketing, Latin America Marketing and Office of the Chairman and CEO, I can honestly say I’ve found my passion in Corporate Affairs with CSR.
3p: How has the sustainability program evolved at your company?
Today, the Wall Street Journal featured a video on Cisco’s Connecting Sichuan program, which revitalized healthcare with technology in Sichuan Province after a massive earthquake in 2008.
The program included mobile clinics equipped with Cisco videoconferencing technology and uplinks. Today these clinics connect rural villages to more than 30 networked hospitals around the region, giving rural doctors real-time face time with more experienced doctors hundreds of miles away.
Amanda Spencer’s young son, Jonathan, needs specialty medical care that isn’t available in the family’s hometown of Monterey, California. But through Cisco HealthPresence technology, Amanda and Jonathan can meet with a pediatric urologist at Stanford University, 80 miles away, without even leaving Monterey.
“In Monterey, it’s a small town and we really don’t have enough children in the community to support certain specialties,” Dr. Todd A. Dwelle, a pediatrician at the Pediatric Group of Monterey, said during an interview with KION-TV. “So this system allows areas such as ours that are underserved in that regard to bring in as needed pediatric specialists from Stanford.”