Five questions with… Andy Ravens, VP, Director of Public Relations and Social Media for Eastern Bank

 

Andy Ravens
Eastern Bank has been recognized as a leader in Corporate Social Responsibility for its advocacy on behalf of a number of social justice causes, and Andy leads the communication of those efforts while setting strategic direction for the bank’s public relations, social media and corporate communications. Andy served as a panelist for the Publicity Club’s recent Masters’ Institute event covering Corporate Social Responsibility. Designed for senior-level corporate communications professionals, the event’s discussion focused on how CSR can improve the bottom line, increase stakeholder loyalty and help recruit and retain the employees central to both. Following the panel, Andy took a few moments to provide some insight into the state of CSR.

 

It has been called many things, but what does Social Corporate Responsibility mean to you?

It’s about empowering and celebrating employees who volunteer, lead, or advocate for the greater good.

What was your personal journey into a career in corporate responsibility?

The journey began about seven years ago when I joined Eastern Bank, which donates 10 percent of its net income to charity and courageously advocates for those in need.  A lot of what falls under the CSR banner was already happening here at Eastern – in many ways, it’s been a part of our DNA for nearly 200 years.

How is CSR embedded in Eastern Bank’s culture, and how have you seen that make a difference for the business?

Eastern Bank was founded in 1818 when most banks only catered to the very wealthy members of society.  Eastern opened its doors so that “people of modest means” had a safe place to keep their money.  That spirit – to serve the underserved – still rings true. One business advantage that immediately comes to mind – Eastern is often the first choice among small business owners and nonprofits in need of financial services.

What are the biggest mistakes companies and individuals make when it comes to CSR?

Trying to do too much.  It’s a massive space – with a lot to cover – so I’d recommend focusing on a few key initiatives instead of trying to boil the ocean.

What’s the biggest opportunity for CSR today, and what should we expect to see in 2016 and beyond?

Smart businesses will seek out CSR “champion” employees for ideas and advice to ensure that its efforts remain organic and authentic.