young adults volunteering

Martha Turner Osborne





By Martha Turner Osborne, CMSO, Teachers Life | nowly

Give back, or corporate social responsibility (SR), has been around for some time now. In fact, it’s safe to say SR programs have become table stakes and a normal part of doing business.

The question is – are corporations doing enough? Considering recent events whether that be climate change, current pandemic, war, social injustices – is it time for corporations to rethink how effective their SR programs really are and how important it is for businesses to take a leading role in enabling bold and powerful change.

I also sense consumers are awakening/reawakening their social activist selves. In other words, our intolerance of hatred, cruelty and injustice towards any living form is reaching a feverish pitch. Although younger generations don’t shoulder the sole burden of change agency, I do believe this groundswell is being ignited by the incredible and unabashed social consciousness of younger generations.

To do our part, Teachers Life has worked hard to design a bold new social give back program called Press Start. The mandate for Press Start is to empower young social-preneurs to work collaboratively with multi-disciplinary experts across Canada to arrive at rapid solutions to some of today’s most pressing social challenges.

The program is backed by Teachers Life and our new digital-first brand, nowly. Here’s how Press Start came about and the “why” behind our new program.

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We Need to Do Better

All companies, in my opinion, have an obligation to ensure that their products, services and operating models cause no harm to any living thing – people, animals or the environment. Taken a step further, companies need to now rethink what their role is in finding solutions to the social challenges most relevant to them.

It is no longer acceptable for consumers and companies to play small or relatively passive roles in bringing about positive social change.

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Redefining Our Responsibility

A book recently came out called Change for Good: An Action-Orientated Approach for Businesses to Benefit from Solving the World’s Most Urgent Social Programs written by Paul Klein. Klein argues that with more than a year into a global pandemic, profit and shareholder value are no longer the primary metric of business success. Customers, shareholders, and communities are demanding that companies do good, do more and do better.

His book helps companies move beyond what he calls “social corporate responsibility light” and demonstrate how they can help solve social programs that have been defined as UN Sustainable Development Goals.

I agree with Klein’s pressing message. Dramatic and bold change falls on the responsibility of all companies, not just our governments. We need to all rise to the challenge to make bold social change a critical part of our company’s purpose.

And, when you have that clear purpose, what an incredible way to attract staff and customers aligned to your purpose. And there is nothing more binding than a clearly defined purpose or meaningful work.

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The Power of Press Start

Press Start recently launched alongside with our new digital-first brand called nowly insurance mid-February 2022. Phase one is a “Hub” that provides a curated list of tools and resources for new and established social-preneurs to access to help them build out their businesses.

Phase two, targeted for mid-2022 is the Press Start Co-Lab Event. This event will bring together youth activists with leading experts within a society-centered design framework (observes civic values, equity, common good, public health and the planet) to find radical solutions to some our most challenging social issues.

We’ll bring together all voices, across diverse age cohorts, regionalities, and disciplines to build upon solution sets in an iterative and collaborative process. Each year, we will aim to focus on a new social challenge under the overarching thematic of empowering youth activists.

Our aspiration is to arrive at a co-created, collaborative solution with empowered youth activists to help make this world a better place, one pressing social challenge at a time.

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We Can’t Wait to Press Start

Cultivating a give back culture starts by doing in bold new ways. In my opinion, that starts by challenging the meaning of corporate social responsibility and challenging ourselves to step up, do more and do better.

We’re looking forward to sharing the details of what we are up to with our Press Start Co-Lab event. Let’s all Press Start to this new way of doing the right thing. Learn more about Press Start.

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