Alumni Perspective: Many Paths to Public Service

The Leaders’ Lounge is pleased to bring you this guest post by one of our alumni, Diane Warchola, MPA ’08. Diane’s story demonstrates how public service is also an important part of the corporate sector. Special thanks to Diane for sharing her story with The Leaders’ Lounge!

Many Paths to Public Service

We all know the private sector frequently gets bad press for being “all about the bottom line” and for caring more about shareholders than about people. In some cases this bad press is warranted and in some cases it’s not. There is a growing trend among private sector organizations to have public service as part of their mission.

DianeWThe company I work for (Teleperformance) has two such public service initiatives: Citizen of the World (COTW), which is its philanthropic program, and Citizen of the Planet (COTP), its environmental program. When I interview candidates for open positions and ask them why they’re interested in working for us, nearly all of them mention the COTW program, explaining how they want to work for a company that has a commitment to something other than profitability.

Teleperformance launched the COTW program in 2006, in affiliation with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Our commitment was to raise $5 million between 2007 and 2012 (cash and in-kind donations). We exceeded this goal and renewed our CGI commitment of $5 million for 2012 through 2016.

The primary mission of COTW is to help the world’s most vulnerable infants and children meet basic survival needs and ultimately reach their individual potential. The global company, which employs over 150K folks worldwide, participates in COTW.

Our local Teleperformance division has chosen to focus our COTW efforts on the Mary McCleod Bethune Elementary School (K-8), which is part of the Philadelphia School District. The students and faculty at Mary Bethune struggle with the same budget shortages that face the entire Philadelphia School District; these issues have an even greater impact for Mary Bethune because the majority of its students are considered to be economically disadvantaged.

Many of the teachers at Mary Bethune take second jobs so they can buy school supplies for their students; our COTW Stuff the Bus Back to School campaign augments these efforts to help minimize the shortfall from the District. The school motto of “Excellence is the only option” shines through every student and is fostered by the faculty and administration at the school.

We recently met with the school’s Principal, Ms. Jamina Dingle, and together we developed a project to convert a currently unused room into a student lounge for grades 5-8. Our volunteers were excited to do in-service on the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, to paint and furnish the lounge. We’ve worked with Donnell Thomas from the Chestnut Hill Ricciardi Brothers Benjamin Moore store; they have been generous to donate 100% of the paint and painting supplies needed for the project.

We are glad we work for an organization that has developed such a robust philanthropic program. Through our COTW program, we have an opportunity to do more as a group than we ever could as individuals, to impact more lives than we ever thought we could. And all this public service is coming from the private sector!

More to come in in the next few months when we have an update on the completion of the project…

-Diane Warchola, ’08

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