At home in The Suburbs [the neighborhood]
By Lee Broughton
I grew up in England, and Arcade Fire is pretty big across the pond, too. As you can see above, they’re my musical taste of the moment. If this were a video blog, you’d already know me as a Brit. But – aside from the fact that everybody here has an accent – I feel very much at home in Enterprise’s home town of St. Louis. My sense of belonging is in large part from the time I spend at my company – just like most of us that must work for a living. We try to champion and support the communities where we do business, thus making it a little more palatable. Besides a nod to Arcade Fire for their recent Grammy win, I bring them up because a lyric in their song “Ready To Start” got me to thinking: Businessmen drink my blood…like the kids in art school said they would. That comes off as a blanket indictment on business, but that seems odd because the business world today is internalizing various social causes — sustainability and the health of employees, for example — that have historically been thought as social instead of business causes. This polemic is age-old and everyone from Friedman to Bono, and from Goldman Sachs to Patagonia has been involved in defining a business’s responsibility. We certainly play our part, too, and in fact attribute the genesis of our corporate responsibility to our founder Jack Taylor and his belief in giving back to the cities and towns where we operate. I personally have been involved in landscaping at a local senior citizens’ home, helping at food banks, and teaching public school classes, among other things. Some because a customer of ours is concerned by it, others simply because the school is in the same town as a regional HQ. It’s hard to single out one employee endeavor over another – they’re all terrific. And pooling them all together, it’s awesome to think about the impact we have in the communities we serve through more than 6,000 neighborhoods and airport locations. Just a couple of samples:
In Philadelphia, 50 volunteers from the Business Management and Business Rental Sales departments painted and cleaned the Charles Papa Playground and Recreation Center, as well as Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, as part of a Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday service project. We like to think we make people’s lives a little better through projects like these. And we know we’re building some great relationships in the process.
As part of a United Way day of caring in Baltimore, members of the enrichment team tended a strawberry patch and helped with a potato field at Clagett Farm, which hosts educational programs to show how sustainable farming can help save the Chesapeake Bay. But those ties to our neighbors don’t just contribute to stronger communities. We believe they help make our business stronger and better, too. For us, community engagement is one more essential part of running a sustainable business. So, while I sincerely appreciate Arcade Fire’s art, I believe that cynicism is actually the drinker of our blood, and that enormous strides are made when a group of people united by one idea (in this case, the company they work for) get together. Thoughts/Comments? Lee