Anne-Marie Staples, STP Investment Services
STP Investment Services, Executive Assistant to CEO
Years in Field: Over 20 years in various executive enablement roles
My Employee Engagement Journey
I worked for many years part-time in Greek life at the University of Pennsylvania and have always been active in my sorority, Tri Delta. While most people think of Greek organizations as being strictly social, they are very service-oriented, and that community influenced me.
Although I have never held a position dedicated exclusively to employee engagement or volunteerism, important responsibilities of my roles supporting executives most certainly have included employee engagement and functioning as a culture carrier.
When I look back, my interest in supporting various philanthropies over the years has meshed well with the cultures of the companies I have worked for. Establishing a relationship with the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia through the guest chef program and coordinating a successful fundraiser event for an ill coworker were two highlights of my previous role.
One thing that attracted me to my current role at STP Investment Services is its strong commitment to helping out those in need. STP feels a responsibility to demonstrate leadership not only in the financial services industry, but also in the greater community in which we operate.
Developing STP Investment Services CSR Initiatives
Certainly employee engagement is a big part of my role assisting Patrick Murray, our CEO. STP has enjoyed rapid growth since our founding in 2008 and many activities that are part of our strong culture have grown with the company.
In the earlier days of the company, our community outreach efforts were coordinated by a committee that also coordinated our social events. Shortly after I joined STP in 2018, I suggested that we spin off the service-oriented programs to a newly formed Charitable Leadership Committee.
At that time, I had recently attended a talk by a local hospital executive for businesswomen in West Chester entitled “Charitable Leadership”. We adopted the name for our committee because the message that being a leader in the community carries with it the responsibility of being charitable is really powerful.
Advice for Those Considering Working In Corporate Volunteerism
Regardless of whether corporate social responsibility is implied by your job title or it is one of the many hats that you wear, partnering with colleagues to help others is so rewarding.
The a-ha moments come when you least expect them. Several years ago, when coordinating a group of co-workers to prepare a dinner meal at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, the father of a sick child called me over. He was so appreciative that our group had not only prepared the meal, but also that we spread out and sat down among the families to eat with them. Having a sick child is terribly scary, stressful and exhausting.
The appreciation and gratitude of that father made such an impression on me. Important gifts can be in the form of a check, but sometimes an empathetic ear of a kind adult listening to your story or to distract you by talking about the Eagles, cheesesteaks or the Philadelphia Zoo is the best gift you can give.
The importance of networking cannot be understated. I met Liz and Jay Scott, co-executive directors of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), on the sidelines of our sons’ ultimate frisbee games and subsequently established a relationship between ALSF and STP Investment Services.
Not long ago I participated in a “speed dating” style networking event hosted by the Ronald McDonald House and through it met Marie Gillespie of Independence Blue Cross who introduced me to the Greater Philadelphia Corporate Volunteer Council. You never know who you are going to sit next to on a plane, cheer next to in the bleachers, or meet on a Zoom call and how those introductions and connections may lead to some impactful opportunity.
My Company’s Approach to Volunteerism
Corporate volunteerism is a great way to engage employees. STP coordinates a variety of programming to appeal to the wide interests and availability of our employees. We don’t just pick one cause or one vehicle for participating.
We support very local organizations from the community outreach center at the church down the street, the local borough parks department, and the local Salvation Army to locally-headquartered, but international-in-reach organizations, such as Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation that is funding cutting edge children’s cancer research to end childhood cancer.
Employee engagement through volunteerism brings together people from varying departments and positions in the company to get to know each other while helping those less fortunate. It is a win-win to be able to foster employee relationships while connecting with community organizations to help people.
STP recently initiated a Volunteer Time Off program to encourage employees to use paid worktime for volunteer service. This is a benefit that sends the message about what our company values. Employees not only feel good about helping the community, but they feel good about their employer who created the opportunities to do so.
Aspects of Corporate Volunteerism That Excite And Motivate Me
It is so rewarding to tap into the kindness of a group and be able to magnify the results and impact on the organizations you are partnering with to assist. The structure and numbers inherent in a company allow for so much more benefit than any one person could affect alone.
Trends to follow in the Future
The current chair of STP’s Charitable Leadership Committee, Denise Haines, has been very successful in tapping the generosity of our remote employees (which during the pandemic has been most of our staff) by encouraging use of Amazon and payment portals to collect donations in safe and efficient ways. The use of technology in this way has leveled the playing field, not limiting participation just to those who are available for local hands-on projects. Employees appreciate the inclusion and the end results are great.