When Amber Peacher convinced her CEO that Optiv, a growing Denver-based cyber security company, needed a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, she wasn’t sure where to begin. Peacher, a Client Operations Specialist, was passionate about giving back to the community and saw Optiv’s rapid growth as a prime opportunity to generate greater social impact. Optiv CEO Dan Burns agreed and was happy that a trusted team member took the initiative to propose the program.
Professional education in CSR
Peacher’s first step was to gain a deeper understanding of CSR, and get practical knowledge to help her build this new program, so she signed up for the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility (CCSR) course at Leeds. The CCSR course from the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility is meant for a variety of individuals, whether they are currently within a CSR position, looking to switch into a CSR career, or simply trying to give their current job more meaning. The class, taught by three-time B Corp CEO Pete Dignan, provides students with a more complete understanding of CSR, practical applications, and a network of individuals with similar interests.
Prior to taking the CCSR course, Peacher knew very little about CSR. For years, she has enjoyed organizing a toy drive among friends and family, but she had no formal education in CSR and did not comprehend all it entails beyond community service, such as environmental sustainability and diversity and inclusion. Translating her interests from private life to her work would not be an easy task.
“I couldn’t have done it without the class,” Peacher explains. “There’s so much depth to a CSR program that I didn’t understand before.”
Building a professional network
The course content is intense, but after investing in her experience Peacher feels prepared to take on her new role as head of the CSR department at Optiv. What Peacher gained from the course goes far beyond a better understanding of the elements of a CSR program. She developed a large network of business professionals who have common interests and experiences.
“I think I will know these people forever - we just have a deeper connection,” she says. She knows she can rely on her professor, classmates, and even the guest speakers from the class for advice in her new career. This network is equally as valuable to her future success as the education she received during the course. When asked if she would recommend this course to others, she responded, “one-hundred percent; I wish there was a second course that I could take. I was so sad when it ended.”
Aligning with company values
As she develops the program, Peacher plans to focus on tying the company mission of security into her and Burns’ passion for helping children. She is currently considering programs focused on food security, housing security, secure communities, and STEM opportunities.
However, none of Peacher’s success would have been possible without the support she received from CEO Dan Burns. His encouragement and openness to new suggestions is what will continue to make this company successful, and Peacher expressed deep gratitude for his help. Many CEO’s would not have given her the time to make the proposal, but Burns welcomes new ideas with excitement.
If you are interested in a career in CSR, Peacher’s best advice is to just start. Starting is the hardest part, but you can make a big difference if you find the courage take the initiative as she did at Optiv.
If you are interested in deepening your knowledge in corporate social responsibility, sign up for an interview on our website, and see if the CCSR program is right for you. To learn more about CSR, see our previous blog here.