Hope is on the horizon, but it’s looking like another tough year for our community. What encouragement do you have for people who aren’t sure they can give?
I think everyone has a role to play to make sure no one gets left behind this year. Every donation, no matter the size, makes a difference. Every hour of volunteering, that makes a difference. Every act of kindness, that makes a difference too. It all adds up to help United Way support essential local programs and services across our region and advocate for a fair and equitable recovery.
When I look back at how strongly we made it through our first pandemic United Way Campaign last year, I’m amazed by this community’s generosity toward helping friends, neighbours and colleagues. Whether that was donating money or delivering groceries for a friend, we came together to help each other. We can do it again.
From post-it notes to PPE, 3M is known for constant innovation—the perfect mindset for a world where our ‘new normal’ continues to change daily. What are some new ideas you’ll bring to the United Way 2021 Campaign this fall?
Going virtual gives us new ways to engage more people. United Way’s 3M Harvest Lunch & Campaign Launch is a great example. I remember thinking last year, how on earth will we create a memorable, effective event during a pandemic? Because there’s no way 2,000 people are getting together for lunch in Budweiser Gardens!
So we tried something new: every ticket sold bought lunch for a neighbour in need. It was a fantastic success and we delivered more than 3,500 meals through United Way partner agencies across our region. What a great way to gather virtually and do good!
This year we have to be even more creative for a couple of reasons. We all have Zoom fatigue, so what can we do to re-energize and leverage the best of technology? And we need to think about moving forward.
Right now we’re in the throes of this third wave but vaccines are catching up and we’re going to get in front of it. Does this mean we’ll be able to do some events or volunteer in-person this Campaign? I hope so. Our job is to create options and be really agile: this is the virtual version, this is the in-person version and this is the hybrid.
As President of 3M Canada, you lead more than 800 people here in London and diverse teams across the country—all during a pandemic when it’s difficult to connect. How will you lead a Campaign Cabinet of virtual volunteers? What’s your secret for motivating a team you can’t shake hands with?
I’ve worked for 3M 20-plus years—10 here in Canada and 10 most recently in our head office in St. Paul, Minnesota. I came back home in January 2020, just before the pandemic started.
My plans to get out across the country and engage with employees, re-connect with those I knew from before, and meet new employees who joined while I was gone—well those all went out the window in March.
There’s been a lot of work in 2020 about how to engage with employees when you can’t be together in person. The most important thing I’ll bring forward is recognizing that, whether it’s 3M-ers or the United Way Campaign Cabinet, these are incredibly talented, smart, inspirational and motivated people.