Meet the new corporate responsibility team members: Kathy Gu and Liz Lipton-McCombie

Kathy GuKathy Gu
Manager, Corporate Responsibility, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Why did you pursue a career in CSR, and how did you begin?
Companies are particularly interesting to me because of the breadth of audiences they are able to reach – employees, vendors, partners, clients – and the influence they can have in a conversation by virtue of their scale. I arrived at a career in CSR through a series of different experiences. I completed my undergraduate studies in business at Georgetown University, whose central tenet of cultivating "men and women for others" ingrained in me a strong desire to serve and better our society.

When I started working in finance at Barclays, one of the first things I did was get involved with corporate volunteering. I experienced the rewards of corporate volunteering firsthand and also observed its importance to my colleagues as well as the company. One of the organizations I volunteered with was City Harvest, a nonprofit organization that works to fight hunger in New York City. I joined City Harvest's corporate partnerships team and engaged companies in employee engagement, corporate giving and cause-related marketing. I was able to build my CSR knowledge and network, and sought to go deeper. Silicon Valley Community Foundation is a thought leader in philanthropy, and I couldn't think of a better place for this next step of my CSR career. 

What subject matter within CSR interests you most, and why?
I am most interested in employee engagement because corporations are ultimately made up of individuals. With an increasingly skills-based environment in which companies are only as successful as the talent they can attract and retain, employee engagement is becoming ever more important. Additionally, millennials make up an increasingly large proportion of the workforce, and this is a generation that cares deeply about purpose and giving. Not only are companies paying more attention to their responsibility strategies, they are also soliciting feedback from employees and inviting them to participate in the process. Tied to this subject are diversity and inclusion, as well as labor rights. Both topics gaining increasing attention.

Liz Lipton-McCombieLiz Lipton-McCombie
Director, Corporate Responsibility

Why did you pursue a career in CSR, and how did you begin?
My career in CSR began with an interest in international development. In high school and college I had opportunities to volunteer in Kenya, and from those experiences I wanted to pursue a career working with underprivileged communities. As I explored this more in graduate school, I became aware of CSR and the power of multinational corporations to provide opportunities and sustainable development to emerging economies.

With this mindset, I was fortunate to find a role in socially responsible investment, where I analyzed corporate responsibility programs among different industries and regions. I then moved in-house with a UK-based retailer, and my career grew from there. 

What subject matter within CSR interests you most, and why?
I am most interested in sustainable sourcing. My passion for this area directly stems from my initial interest in international development. This work falls at the intersection of geo-politics, economic movements and business, which, to me, is fascinating. It is also very tangible. We can all hold items that are made across the world, and think of who made them and in what conditions. Being able to influence those processes and deliver positive impact in those communities is very meaningful.