We recently talked to Charlene Johnson, Director of Business Development at Affordable Equity Partners, regarding the importance of female business leaders giving back to the community. She says, “When giving is imbedded in the culture of your organization, you attract and retain amazing talent.”
1. Why is it important for businesses leaders, and in particular, women leaders in business to give back to the community?
Women business leaders are redefining power and as a result are broadening their involvement, which includes changing long-held cultural perceptions about women and wealth. In the United States, women control or influence more than 80 percent of purchasing decisions. Companies are recognizing that when they support women – as customers, as employees, leaders, future investors, and partners – both the businesses and communities win.
2. Have you found that by giving back you can actually grow your business? If so, how?
The key to success for any business is the ability to connect with your customers and the employees that serve them. If you incorporate giving to your business, your customers become your markets. When giving is imbedded in the culture of your organization, you attract and retain amazing talent.
3. What should young professionals be doing who want to give back, but might not have the means to give at a leadership level?
Philanthropy is a personal journey in leadership at the highest level. Young professionals can cultivate their leadership skills by investing their time, talent and energy to improve their community. This provides opportunities not always available in the workplace to work alongside and learn from business and civic leaders.
4. Can you share anything else about your experience giving back to the community?
As the daughter of a career Army sergeant and government civil servant, my comfort has always come from a sense of purpose and clearly defined mission. I have been provided amazing opportunities through my service in the community and look forward to playing an active role in the region’s efforts to change the face of St. Louis.