Recently, I had the good fortune to be included in the National Diversity Council’s Most Powerful Women in Technology. It was a celebration, and a sharing and learning experience for women across the country, and we learned so much from each other.
As part of the conference, we had an opportunity to learn from President Obama on the importance of inclusion and a nation of “We.”
I also had the chance to share how Intuit® addresses the important topic of corporate responsibility with this “We” approach and some of the insights we gained along the way.
We began our journey the way we begin most journeys at Intuit: We learned. We learned by spending time with others we admire in this arena. We learned by spending time in communities in need and engaging with local government leaders, small businesses and educational institutions. Moreover, we learned from our employees with regard to what gives them passion and where they can help us have the most significant impact. We learned from the mindset of “We.”
We focused on the significant problems people have:
- 71% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
- 62% cannot access $1,000 in case of emergency.
- 4% of consumers consider money to be the #1 cause of stress.
Small businesses: They employee 60% of the world’s employees, helping to power prosperity, but the odds are stacked against them:
- 50% of small businesses fail in their first five years.
- 54% of small businesses can’t get access to the funding they need to grow.
Distressed communities: Changing economic environments have created many communities with extremely limited employment opportunities, decreasing population, deteriorating infrastructure and little hope. This creates a widening gap between prosperous and distressed communities:
- One in six Americans lives in distressed communities – some 50 million people.
- Rural communities have lost more than 10% of their educated population in just two decades.
These insights led us to declare our mission, building on the existing Intuit mission to power prosperity around the world. We then announced power prosperity for those who need it the most, choosing to help relevant communities and working to make a difference. We learned that to be the most effective, we should leverage our current assets (people, products and capabilities) and focus our efforts in smaller areas to build measurable momentum. This led us to declare three pillars where “We,” Intuit, our partners and the communities could have the most significant and positive impact to power prosperity, including:
- Providing jobs and skills for the 21st century.
- Helping build success for small businesses.
- Teaching financial well-being with regard to behavior and literacy.
We realized one of the most significant impacts we could have was to bring jobs into these cities, and a few years ago, we began moving some of our off-shored jobs to these communities in need. As for small businesses, we know 50% don’t survive past five years; yet, they are the backbone of the economy and society. We work to help these businesses and their communities succeed through education, coaching and easier access to credit.
And those were just the first steps. Now, we are expanding these sites to be prosperity hubs. These prosperity hubs are centers where the community comes together to experience training, certification courses, entrepreneurship education, and new technologies and opportunities to improve their financial well-being through tax-time savings programs.
In addition to these programs and efforts, at Intuit, we provide 32 hours to every employee to give back. The emotion and commitment from these employees is impressive, and the responses from our partners and these communities is overwhelming. So in every case, we are enabling “We” as an opportunity for our employees, partners and communities to participate.
People and partners want to help. People want to be part of a team. As I learned from President Obama, the power of “We” helps to channel our energy into doing good, and it can make such a positive change for those who need it the most. I encourage others to leverage the power of “We” to make a difference in their communities, and together, we can make a real difference for those who need it the most.