Nov 7

BSR Conference 2014 Kicks Off

Katy Reddin

Weber Shandwick is the global agency partner for the BSR Conference 2014: Transparency & Transformation. Our Social Impact team will be sharing insights from the conference on this blog.


“If we want things to stay as they are, things are going to have to change.” BSR’s President and CEO Aron Cramer shared this line from the Italian novel The Leopard to kick off the 2014 BSR conference, which took place this week (Nov. 4-6) in New York City. This idea resonated through each of the plenary addresses from distinguished C-suite executives as well as the panel sessions with notable decision-makers across industries, with all speakers reflecting on the conference theme of “Transparency and Transformation.”


The conference opened with commentary on the necessary advancement of sustainability and inclusive economies, broadly and specifically to Africa:


  • GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty, reflected on the importance of staying dynamic and actively shifting business models to reflect ongoing changes in culture, tying this to the extension of his company’s work in Africa to not only develop vaccines but also create training programs to cultivate much-needed frontline healthcare workers.  Witty recognized that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa recently highlighted this deficiency.
  • Actor Jeffrey Wright pointed out that the epidemic revealed unsettling biases in our attitude toward Africa that have potentially limited our willingness to help. 
  • Maersk Group CEO Nils S. Anderson also spoke of his company’s work in Africa but through a different lens, presenting compelling data that demonstrated the many ways that trade can enable people from poor backgrounds to become a part of the global economy.




Nov 3


Weber Shandwick is the global agency partner for the BSR Conference 2014: Transparency & Transformation. Our Social Impact team will be sharing insights from the conference on this blog.


This week, members of our Social Impact team are in New York City attending the annual BSR Conference. This year's conference focuses on Transparency & Transformation and will explore how transparent business practices and transformative thinking can help lead the way to a more sustainable future.

 How to Follow Along

  1. Check Out the Storify: We’ll be weaving together the best tweets from the week so you can check out what’s happening at the conference in one stop. Check it out below or follow along here.
  2. Connect on Social: Our team will be sharing insights all week on Twitter @WSSocialImpact Join the conversation on our handle and #BSR14.
  3. Tune in to the Livestream: BSR will broadcast much of the conference, including plenary and I3 speakers and the Take10 and Collaboration in Action sessions. Visit the conference homepage to learn more.

 We're proud to be a sponsor again this year, and to partner with BSR on its strategic communications work. We'll be sharing insights throughout the week, and if you are at #BSR14 be sure to look for EricEmily and Katy.



Oct 9

Your story is worth telling. Here’s how.

Lia Albini

We all know a good story when we see one. From your go-to cocktail party anecdote to a moving account of overcoming the odds – stories make us laugh, educate us and often compel us to take action. 

Storytelling is a critical component of nonprofit communications. And while many cause-focused organizations have compelling and exiting stories to share, they often lack the resources and staff bandwidth to do so effectively.

In order to help nonprofits better share their stories, Georgetown University's Center for Social Impact Communication and the Meyer Foundation recently released Stories Worth Telling: A Guide to Strategic and Sustainable Nonprofit Storytelling—a comprehensive set of research and best practices designed to build storytelling capacity among small nonprofits.

So what makes a story compelling?

There are five essential building blocks:

  • An Effective Character - Stories should contain a single, compelling character that is relatable to the audience and who is comfortable relaying specific details, memories and experiences.
  • Trajectory - Stories should chronicle something that happens—an experience, journey, transformation, or discovery—but they don’t need to be a linear, sequential recounting every time.
  • Authenticity - Stories should show, rather than tell, the audience about the character’s transformation, using rich details and featuring the character’s own voice, devoid of jargon.
  • Action-Oriented Emotions - Stories should convey emotions that move people to act, and marry these with clear, easy-to-find pathways to get them to take action.
  • A Hook - Stories should capture the audience’s attention as quickly as possible, giving them a sense of whose story it is and what is at stake.

Effective storytelling is one of the greatest challenges facing small organizations, but resources like this can go a long way in helping nonprofits demonstrate their impact in long-lasting ways.


May 22

Weber Shandwick Launches 2013 Corporate Citizenship Report

Luisa Castellanos

It’s a pretty exciting day here at Weber Shandwick – especially for us on the Social Impact Practice, as Weber just released our second annual Corporate Citizenship Report showcasing our work as a firm and with our clients to positively impact our global community throughout the course of 2013.


We take “engaging always” seriously at Weber. Striving to be a good corporate citizen is truly at the core of everything we do – both as individuals and as a company. Whether it’s giving back to our communities around the world, maintaining a strong code of conduct across all of our work or creating increasingly “green” office environments, we’re dedicated to making a positive impact every day.


We’re proud to say we’ve taken our commitment a step further with this year’s report, by using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Index as a framework for reporting on sustainability issues material related to our business. You can learn more about the index and how we’re incorporating them here.


As an agency with such a growing global footprint, we’re excited to be part of the conversation that’s exploring how companies can continue driving robust business results, while also delivering meaningful impact for communities. We have both a responsibility and an incredible opportunity to help address the complex issues we face in the world today. Suffice it to say, it’s an exciting place to be.



Mar 25

SXSW: In Search of the Next Big Thing

David Leavitt














Flickr Creative Commons photo by Nan Palmero.


Now that a couple weeks have passed since the interactive portion of South By Southwest (SXSW), what stands out as the Next Big Thing?

Wearable technology? Sure. The SXSW tradeshow floor was a sea of start-ups touting new ways to make clothes “smarter.” 3-D printing technology? Absolutely. Oreo set up an installation that printed edible cookies customized by Twitter’s trending topics at any particular moment. (If that doesn’t make sense, it’s okay. I stood there mesmerized by it but didn’t really understand it myself.)

But with Julian Assange and Edward Snowden as conference speakers — both by video, of course — it’s no surprise that in addition to technology hardware, the big themes this year were big data and privacy. (Are you sick of hearing the term “big data” yet?) On the privacy front, World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee noted that the Internet can simultaneously be a tool for both freedom and oppression. “There are certain rights that should be more enshrined,” he said.

Beyond technology and the Internet, see if you can spot the theme with these three conference speakers:

  • Statistician and writer Nate Silver said his biggest fear with his new FiveThirtyEight project is that his inflated stardom will make it too easy to venture in ill-advised areas. "When you’re somebody’s boss, you don’t get pushback on your bullshit ideas,” he told attendees.
  • During a question-and-answer session with fashion entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso, someone asked how she deals with complicated issues at her vintage clothing company Nasty Gal. Amoruso replied, “When confronted by a problem, I ask a lot of people what they think.”
  • And then there’s astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who made “curiosity” the theme of his keynote address. “Kids turn over rocks. It’s how they learn. We tend to tell people the answer and that denies them the opportunity to find out.”

The common theme? Question the world around you and surround yourself with people who question you. Perhaps that idea isn’t the Next Big Thing, but it’s certainly something that can help us discover what is.



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