An interview with a PNC Board member
Q: You are the former Chief Executive Officer of Sprint Corporation and initiated the launch of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. Why did you make this program a strategic priority for you and Sprint?
A: There are three reasons why I made CSR a priority. First, I viewed CSR as an opportunity to differentiate our brand with customers. Second, CSR is a great recruiting tool and can be an effective way to increase employee engagement and satisfaction. This was especially important, as we were competing with companies like Microsoft, Google and Facebook to recruit talented millennials. Finally, I personally am passionate about corporate ethics and responsibility.
Q: How did Sprint’s CSR program impact the company?
A: In 2010, the Reputation Institute recognized Sprint for having the most improved corporate reputation among the world’s 1000 largest public companies. Also, in 2012, Sprint was ranked first in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the very same index in which Sprint had ranked last just four years earlier. Furthermore, Sprint’s annual employee survey reflected a noticeable increase in workplace satisfaction, with “Act with Integrity” being consistently ranked first among our cultural attributes.
Q: As a Board member, how do you ensure that CSR is being addressed strategically at a particular company or organization?
A: CSR initiatives should be reviewed with the Board of Directors, so I want to see them front and center on the Board’s agenda. PNC’s commitment to corporate responsibility is part of the reason why I joined PNC’s Board in the first place. Recently, I attended a PNC Board dinner that featured a presentation from Sally McCrady, director of Community Affairs, about Grow Up Great. This is just one example of PNC’s CSR commitment that warrants—and is receiving—attention from the Board. Equally important are PNC’s environmental lending practices, which Mike Lyons, head of Corporate & Institutional Banking, has incorporated into recent Board discussions.
Q: What aspect of PNC’s commitment to CSR are you personally most proud of?
A: For starters, I am very proud of PNC’s corporate headquarters, The Tower at PNC Plaza, which received LEED Platinum certification. I am familiar with LEED, so I understand what’s involved with earning that level of recognition. I also am proud of our investments in our communities.
Q: What do you view as PNC’s greatest CSR challenges and opportunities?
A: We must make lending decisions in which we effectively balance the needs of our customers and prospective customers with the interests of our other stakeholders. Determining which industries or companies within a particular industry we should lend to isn’t always easy. Another challenge is balancing the long-term payback of CSR with Wall Street’s focus on the next quarter.
Q: How do you expect corporate sustainability to evolve over the next five or 10 years?
A: As millennials move into positions of power and inherit greater wealth, corporate responsibility will only grow in importance. Therefore, I expect greater emphasis on reporting and transparency as customers and investors increasingly care about how all stakeholders are treated: customers, shareholders, communities, the environment, and especially employees.
Corporate Awards & Recognition
- World's Most Admired Companies, FORTUNE magazine (2018)
- 100 Most Sustainable Companies, Barron’s (2018)
- J.D. Power 2017 National Bank Satisfaction StudySM (First-Place Ranking)
- Forbes Global 2000, Forbes magazine (2017)
Employer of Choice
- Top 50 Employers, CAREERS & the disABLED magazine (2018)
- Great Workplace Award, Gallup (2017)
- 50 Happiest Companies in America, CareerBliss (2017)
Diversity & Inclusion
- Bloomberg Financial Gender Equality Index (2018)
- Top Financial Companies, Professional Woman’s magazine (2018)
- The Most Powerful Women in Banking, American Banker (2017)
- Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality, Human Rights Campaign (2017)
- Top 50 Companies for Executive Women, National Association for Female Executives (2017)
- America’s 2017 “Best-of-the-Best” Corporations for Inclusion, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) (2017)
- 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers, Working Mother magazine (2017)
- Top Diversity Employer 2017, Professional Woman’s magazine (2017)
- Best Places for Women & Diverse Managers to Work, Diversity MBA Magazine's 50 Out Front Companies for Diversity Leadership (2017)
- Best of the Best for Top Disability-Friendly Companies, DIVERSEability magazine (2017)
- Top Corporation for Disability-Owned Businesses, US Business Leadership Network (2017)
Military & Veteran Support
- 2017 Best Corporations for Veterans Business Enterprises, National Veteran Owned Business Association (2017)
- Sponsor of the Year, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. (2017)
- Employee Business Resource Group Exemplar Award, Vibrant Pittsburgh (2017)
- Spotlight Impact Award, PRISM (2017)
- Outstanding Community Reinvestment Act Rating
- Corporate Social Responsibility Leadership Award, Financial Services Roundtable (2017)
- Corporate Citizenship Award, Pittsburgh Business Times (2017)
- Leader in Climate Disclosure, Carbon Disclosure Project (2017)