“Step It Up” Campaign Launch!

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Why launch a campaign around social responsibility? To start, charity work is not only a great way to help individuals and our society as a whole, but also helps build your own personal brand, networks and experience, making it a win-win situation for everyone involved. Not only that, helping others results in a “feel good” factor too. What’s not to like?

pink ribbons
However, we are often too blinkered in the ways we go about it, limiting ourselves to the tried and tested charity runs, dry months or financial donations. While acknowledging that these are still important ways to get involved, we are using this campaign to encourage those who can to step up and become more invested, perhaps in ways they haven’t thought of.

Some of these include:

  • Become a charity trustee or member of advisory board
  • Offering your professional skills, pro bono
  • Be “hands on” and volunteer your time
  • Help organise events
  • Join community or church projects
  • Raise awareness or campaign for causes
  • Put a talent to use (e.g., make blankets or clothing for those in need)

We’ve been busy collating interviews and video clips that follow from people who are involved in charities, as well as getting the low down from the charities themselves on what they look for in a volunteer. Our aim is to inspire others to step up and do more.

So please check back often for our Step it Up interviews, and get in touch if you would like to share your own story!


I’ll Start!

To kick off our campaign, I thought I’d share a bit about my own experience with social responsibility and why it’s such an integral part of my personal brand.

While I’ve certainly dabbled in various causes many times in the past, the first spark of commitment to a specific cause happened during my graduate student days in New York. As a psychologist in training, I had a very unique opportunity to work with at-risk and sexual minority youth. This opened my eyes to the importance of HIV prevention and research. In 2002, I was introduced to amfAR (The American Foundation for AIDS research) by a friend, and completely fell in love with the organization, the people behind it, and their mission. The idea of giving back to the community and supporting those in need also aligned with my personal and professional values. For the next six years, I served on an amfAR committee that organized an annual benefit event. My early professional years were also shaped in this direction, as I started working in HIV prevention and research. It all just seemed to click.

In 2005, I was fortunate enough to be invited onto the board of SMART, Inc., a grassroots non-profit organization for women with HIV. Soon other volunteer opportunities grew from this, including assisting the MAC AIDS Fund with a “Get Tested” campaign and HIV testing messages for Viva Glam V postcards. At a SMART fundraiser, I met the dynamic people behind BK Style Foundation, a Brooklyn based non-profit to identify and assist emerging fashion designers. Recruited for their Style Counsel, I soon was assisting with their fundraising, event planning and fashion shows.

Moving to London in 2008 meant limiting my involvement with the charities I had grown to love. To fill what felt like a pretty big void, I called up Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) to arrange an exploratory meeting. I soon became active on two event-planning committees, which included organizing a cocktail event and their annual Christie’s Auction Gala. Today, I host a table for the THT Supper Club every year to raise money for the charity, and have also committed to becoming a “Friend for Life” with THT. Given my early professional roots in HIV prevention, this cause will most likely always be near and dear to me.

Supperclub2014My guests at last year’s THT Supper Club, dining at Marcus

To round out the socially responsible side of my brand, I also support other causes that are close to my heart, including animal charities (RSPCA, Battersea Dogs Home) and the arts (The National Theatre Young Patrons). Together, these organizations reflect not only my personal interests, but also the core part of my personal brand, a combination of purpose, passion, strengths, values and vision.

And this brings me to our Step It Up campaign launch.

I feel so very honored to present the stories of others who have made social responsibility a part of their personal brand, along side of those working for charities. Through sharing these collective experiences, our mission is to inspire others to step it up and get socially responsible!


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