David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation, discusses the meaning of corporate social responsibility at Comcast NBCUniversal.
Giving back to communities is a big focus for corporate social responsibility efforts at Comcast NBCUniversal. How do you describe the company’s approach?
We’re committed to making a lasting impact in the communities we serve — and that goes back to our company’s roots. One of the most visible ways our commitment comes to life each year is through Comcast Cares Day, when our volunteers fan out across communities worldwide to paint, mulch, mentor, and do so much more to help make change happen. In 2016, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of Comcast Cares Day, through which hundreds of thousands of our volunteers have now contributed more than 5 million service hours at nearly 9,000 projects around the world.
Seeing the incredible impact of the work achieved by our employees, extended Comcast NBCUniversal family, and nonprofit partners year after year is amazing — and so are the stories we hear afterwards about the lives we have helped improve. To me, Comcast Cares Day is the ultimate exemplification of our commitment to giving back to our communities each and every day of the year.
We are also focused on evolving the idea of service to create even greater year-round impact, which is one of the reasons we hired Dalila Wilson-Scott to lead collaborative efforts across Comcast NBCUniversal in the new role of Senior Vice President of Community Investment and Corporate Social Responsibility. Our company has such a wealth of talent, and we are creating more ways to tap into our employees’ talents to meet specific needs in our communities.
Speaking of year-round impact, you are a major champion for digital inclusion. Why are you passionate about this issue?
If you’re not connected today, you’re falling behind. The digital divide is unfortunately very real in too many of our communities. And it’s one of the great inequalities in our society, separating potential from opportunity. As a technology and broadband leader, it is our responsibility and obligation to do what we can to help close the divide.
That’s why we’re always looking at how we can push our Internet Essentials program to the next level. This past year, we expanded Internet Essentials to underserved HUD residents. When we’re able to bring the power of the internet to these communities, we’re helping to make them stronger — from the inside out.
Commitment to diversity and inclusion is a core value at Comcast NBCUniversal. What are the tangible benefits of that commitment?
It is our goal to become the model company for diversity and inclusion. We have built a best-in-class diversity and inclusion program that not only helps us operate with an inclusive mindset but also drives business results. Diversity is embedded into every aspect of our business, whether it’s our workforce, our supply chain, our programming, our community investments, or how we govern our business. In every corner of our company, we see how strong diversity and inclusion practices strengthen our business.
As a media and technology company, it is important for Comcast NBCUniversal that our people and our business reflect the communities we serve. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion enables us to create content and products that are more relevant to our customers. It drives innovation and makes us more competitive. And it helps us open up our products to the widest possible audiences. There’s no question that when people with different viewpoints collaborate, good ideas become great ideas, and everyone benefits.
There has been a big focus at Comcast on innovating around the customer service experience. Can you talk about what’s driving that evolution?
We are putting considerable efforts into reinventing the customer experience at Comcast. That includes thinking about serving the needs of generations to come. So, as we deliver the experiences and services our customers demand, we have to find more ways to operate sustainably and use our natural resources more efficiently.
We took several steps forward this past year, including naming Susan Jin Davis as our first Chief Sustainability Officer. We know promoting ideas for a more sustainable future is another way we can help communities flourish by engaging with innovative thinkers and problem-solvers. That will empower all of us to more urgently address critical social needs.