Field Notes: Traditions of a giving workplace community
Editor’s note: From time to time, Dean Seavers will tear a page from his notebook and share what he’s learned from customers, stakeholders, and employees across National Grid’s U.S. footprint.
December 12, 2016: It’s around this time of year – the holiday season – that we think about traditions started in childhood. Maybe it’s because they capture favorite memories or bring us back to a simpler time. I think mostly, they remind us of the importance of being together as a family, as friends, and as a community.
In the last few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on my childhood and the lessons my Mom instilled in my siblings and me. And, how those lessons served to inspire traditions. The most important – one that has stayed with me my whole life – is this: I am my brother’s keeper and he is mine.
I’ve been privileged to take part in three recent events that highlighted this very lesson. The first was a United Way fundraiser, early last month in Worcester, MA, where I’d been invited to speak about the importance of giving. This was easy. I grew up learning that charity begins at home, and that extending ourselves beyond home is the right thing to do. It’s why my Mom found an extra hour in the day to volunteer for worthy causes, even though she worked two jobs. And why my grandparents donated money to those less fortunate, even though the food on their table was sparse. And I imagine it’s why National Grid employees have consistently come through for our local communities during our United Way campaign every year. Last year, we raised $3 million to help neighbors in need, and volunteered hundreds of hours at shelters, food banks, schools, and community farms.
Ours is a workplace community that understands that opportunity begets responsibility.
This was evident in two breakfasts I hosted honoring employees who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. To sit down with veterans that have given so much for our country is to truly understand the meaning of “my brother’s keeper.” I learned much about our Veterans Employee Resource Group (VERG), including how it supports external efforts to transition veterans from homelessness and unemployment. I’m so proud that we currently employee more than 700 veterans and have a hiring goal of 150 veterans annually across our entire US footprint.
I wish all of you the joy that holiday traditions bring. And I thank you for keeping our own tradition of giving to neighbors in need right there at the top.