IMPACT 2030’s Inaugural Summit: Collaborative Meeting and its resulting Action Team Strategy

Planning the first IMPACT 2030 Biennial Summit required the critical examination of how we, as a collaboration and an organization, might bring value to the guests assembling with us at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Acknowledging that the first Summit would play a particular role in setting the tone for the whole of IMPACT 2030’s 15-year charter, its execution was seated in our hope and vision for what IMPACT 2030 would be to its Partners and Stakeholders, corporate employee volunteers, and program beneficiaries; a knowledge and implementation leader in the space of leveraging corporate employee volunteerism for the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The first day of the Summit enjoyed a genuine wealth of speakers, all different, all with the Goals featured firmly at fore. Not only did they approach the SDGs head on, but from different angles; our speakers addressed Partners and Stakeholders from the perspectives of women, education, millennials, UN, corporate volunteering partnership structure, and the global implications of addressing the SDGs correctly. Day one concluded with a reception for attendees in the UN Delegates Dining Room where attendees connected on the topics of the day. Nature was definitely smiling on us, as a massive downpour broke over the spectacular views across the East River from the UN Dining Room. However, the rain didn’t slow the good conversation and then to the great joy of the assembled Partners, Network and Friends, the rain subsided and left the most brilliant double rainbow as a background for a Summit group portrait. What a way to end the first day; filled with inspiration and enthusiasm.

The second day of the Summit was conceived of with the goal of working together to find a way forward for our Partners in their respective, sometimes overlapping and sometimes collaborative, strategies to address the SDGs in an effective manner using corporate volunteering programs; seeking and leveraging scalability. Organized in break-out sessions at our generous Partners’ offices throughout Manhattan, the regions which were suggested by the Partnership to focus on were: India, SE Asia, and USA. Other break-out sessions arrived at a couple of Action Teams: The Global Challenge in SE Asia, a Roundtable convening in India in December, and the city of Philadelphia using its innovative style to address SDG goals appropriate for their city using the power of their local corporate capabilities.

The Measurement break-out session concluded with the establishment of two teams: Alignment and Framework. The SDG Business Imperative presented a rich framework for how the SDGs can be communicated within, as well as without the various institutions. This group also gathered critical information on partnership building, millennial engagement and a concrete connection to the educational platform of the United Nations, UN System Staff College (UNSSC).

On the last day of the Summit, the wealth of findings and action points from day two were shared with the wider Partners, Stakeholders and Network. The range and diversity of work to be done, using just the power of human capital investment via corporate volunteering could be overwhelming; but the resulting plans and partnerships from the Summit shows that collaboration among like-minded partners can convert an unassailable challenge into a roadmap for the future of corporate employee volunteering while having some fun in an innovative learning environment.

As a result of these fruitful days, an Action Team Strategy was developed to organize the work of the Action Teams of IMPACT 2030. Our Action Teams are collaborative efforts driven by the dedication and enthusiasm from our clever Partnership—the corporate, nonprofit, governmental, academic and royal houses that comprise our pioneering network. As with any team effort, these groupings will experience the limitations of individual agendas and ideas for how goals should be accomplished. Given the depth of knowledge among our Partners and Stakeholders, the expectation is that once all of the Action Teams are oriented around a similar point of view and prepared with similar resources, we can move forward together in the spirit of our Charter.

The strategy guiding these teams is independently set and driven by the Action Team members, with the core of IMPACT 2030 prepared to support and convene for the continued maintenance and emboldening these novel, undoubtedly to be impactful, partnerships.

We — IMPACT 2030, our Partners and Stakeholders and everyone who wants to take part — have much to do, but our start to supporting the process of employing human capital investment via corporate volunteering in the three days in mid-September shows that with the right people in the room we can all be part of the solution.

The summary of this first Summit is the beginning of a discussion on a shared vision for the future, and a plan for how we will achieve that vision. The ability to collaborate changes how we work, the ability to work together changes how we live.