Katrina Drabeck – Corporate Responsibility Associate
Why did you pursue a career in CSR, and how did you begin?
The incredible experience I’ve had so far at Silicon Valley Community Foundation working with our matching gifts program greatly influenced my focus on a career in CSR. But my experiences prior to joining SVCF led me perfectly to this point. As a young, idealistic, post-undergraduate professional, I set out for a career in politics. After gaining some valuable experience, I made the decision to turn my attention from politics to causes, with the ultimate dream of putting on concerts for a cause. I loved the idea of harnessing the collective energy of large groups of people for good. I spent some years working in development for a wonderful nonprofit in Los Angeles, getting some charitable event experience under my belt. During this time, I also worked very closely with a large board of directors, with a focus on fostering engagement – something I very much enjoyed.
Now that I’m a bit older and wiser, my interest lies in impact and innovation, which leads me to my passion for CSR. I’m excited by the way corporations can really move the needle in a substantial way, the way companies can drive change through innovation, and the collective power and energy that can be harnessed through employee engagement.
What subject matter within CSR interests you most, and why?
Sustainability and global development. I think we are at such an important moment for CSR. It’s exciting to see companies that are integrating sustainability solutions into their business models and building strategic social impact into their core business strategies. Consumers are becoming more savvy than ever and are increasingly aware of the impact of the products they buy. Employees are now more than ever rating good corporate citizenship as a deciding factor in choosing an employer. It’s inspiring to see these trends working in tandem, encouraging companies to set their sights even higher as they pursue socially responsible initiatives.
Blessing Okorougo – Manager, Corporate Responsibility
Why did you pursue a career in CSR?
One of my main passions and a driver in my global development career has been the desire to see change and positive uplift for underserved communities. Three years ago while I was working in India for a nonprofit focused on gender development, the India Companies Act was passed. Along with calling for stronger corporate governance provisions, it also made India the first country to mandate CSR. The Act changed the nonprofit landscape and really elevated discourse around the role of CSR in public-private partnerships. It was an opportunity to see firsthand just how powerful the voice of nonprofits could be when marketing the meaningful work they do, as well as how corporations could increase their social output through nonprofit engagement. I decided to pursue a career in CSR to be a part of this exciting time. It’s an opportunity to help create more inclusive and diverse giving that ultimately drives more meaningful change for those that need it the most.
What aspects of SVCF have made an impression on you since you began serving on the CR team?
Everyone is an in expert in engagement and is passionate about what they do. Every single person I have met is where they want to be and relishes the opportunities they have to make a difference. The work is as challenging as it is exciting. It’s comforting to know that the work being done here is being driven by the strength of SVCF voices – diverse voices.