Making Sense of Sustainability 2011 / 2012 Report

20 ACROSS
a national network of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies and investors to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change

For Our Communities

Community Engagement

Our principals, Barb Brown and Margie Flynn, are active on the speaking engagement circuit and have been since the Firm’s inception. On average, both participate in at least one speaking engagement a month that can be local, regional or national in reach. They have moderated and participated in panel discussions for NIRI, US SIF, US BCSD, NSSGA, IMA-NA, IABC, Commit!Forum, The Conference Board and the Sustainability Leadership Forum. Also, many of our consultants participate in speaking engagements, teach at local colleges and universities and are regular contributors to sustainability publications.

Serving on a board is another significant way we give back to the community. Our board commitments demonstrate our passion for social issues, and we take them very seriously. We also serve as an advisor on several councils and steering committees for local organizations to offer guidance on strategic initiatives. In 2012, our staff has given their time and treasure to the following organizations:

  • Adoption Network Cleveland
  • American Red Cross Blood Services of Northern Ohio
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland
  • Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Foundation
    (now Catholic Community Foundation)
  • Cleveland Carbon Fund
  • Cleveland Leadership Institute
  • Corporate Sustainability Network
  • Fowler Center for Sustainable Development
  • GreenCityBlueLake
  • John Carroll University
  • JumpStart
  • National Investor Relations Institute
  • Saint Martin de Porres High School
  • Sustainable Cleveland 2019

Though we are busy serving our clients, we try to take the time to engage in professional development activities, trainings and events. This is encouraged at BrownFlynn and our staff takes advantage of these opportunities as often as we can. We have attended workshops on Appreciative Inquiry (AI), Socially Responsible Investments (SRI), civic leadership, organizational behavior, marketing and social media, and, of course, sustainability reporting. Our staff is always eager to learn new things and enhance our knowledge and expertise in certain topic areas to better serve our clients and potential clients.

Unfortunately, 2012 saw many tragedies in our society, including the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Compelled to join the cause and help those who were displaced by the storm, 100 percent of our staff donated to the American Red Cross with BrownFlynn matching our gift. Though we cannot give the victims of the hurricane their lives back, we were proud to have contributed to the fund and hope we were able to help at least one person affected by the storm. We donated to the Chardon Healing Fund to help the students and families affected by the Chardon High School shooting. One of our clients, Fairmount Minerals, is based in Chardon, Ohio and played an integral role in setting up the Fund and contributing time, talent and treasure to the cause. Throughout the year, BrownFlynn donates to many local charitable organizations aimed at providing support to those in need.

As a team, we strike a balance between work, community engagement and having fun. We volunteer at the local food bank and other non-profits, but also make the time to get together outside of the office and continue to bond our team. We have gone kayaking, played bocce, attended plays and movies, had dinner out and engaged in other fun activities. Each year we have a staff retreat where we spend equal parts planning for the coming year and participating in team building activities. At our retreat this past year, each of our senior consultants made presentations on their particular area of expertise to share knowledge, experiences and lessons learned among the team. In general, we also take the time every day to stop at each other’s desks and just say “hello”.

To reinforce “walking the talk,” we gave our employees “clean energy generators” called nPower® PEGs that are made locally in Cleveland by Tremont Electric. The nPower® PEG is a small device which creates power through kinetic energy (movement) that can be used to charge cell phones and other electronic devices. And, to encourage them to get moving, each employee was given the One™ by Fitbit to track their physical activity day and night. All employees now have a personal sustainability goal embedded in their performance reviews—these range from how frequently they exercise to eating healthy to committing to coaching their kids.

We hope this range of activities our staff engages in outside of the office is a good indication of the dedication we have to our work, our clients, our families, our communities and most importantly, each other. We would not be as successful as we are without working together as a team. We function as a family and a small firm, supporting each other both professionally and personally. What better way to sustain ourselves well into the future?

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