Executive Perspective: Domestic Violence – A Corporate Social Responsibility

For many years now, Verizon Wireless has been committed to using the innovative power of its technology and resources to address critical social issues like domestic violence. On October 3, Verizon did just that when it partnered with When Georgia Smiled: The Robin McGraw Revelation Foundation to host the 2014 Domestic Violence Summit: A Day to Connect, Inspire & Heal at the Paramount Studios lot. The event brought hundreds of domestic violence prevention leaders together from across the country to share ideas on prevention and create awareness for the cause.

During the event, the senior vice president of human resources for Verizon Wireless, M. Alan Gardner, participated in a panel that explored the relationship between corporations and nonprofit organizations as they work together to tackle the big issues facing our society. He shared several insights around Verizon’s role in the summit and how men, in particular, can take a bigger role in ending domestic violence.

Why was it important for Verizon to participate in the 2014 Domestic Violence Summit?

For nearly 20 years, Verizon has worked side-by-side with national and local organizations to end domestic violence, many of whom are in attendance at the summit. This is an incredibly important cause and it’s critical for corporate leaders to get involved, be visible, speak up and address this social issue.

It also provided a great opportunity for Verizon to partner with When Georgia Smiled. This is a new relationship for Verizon but a very important one, and we expect it to be rewarding as we move forward and work to find a solution that will end domestic violence.

What goals did Verizon and When Georgia Smiled hope to achieve putting on this summit?

This event is all about generating awareness and sharing information with individuals who don’t have all of the details about the challenges and problems that continue to surround the issue of domestic violence. By bringing together domestic violence organizations from across the country, the event provided a platform for providing tools, resources and insights into how we can continue to advance the cause.

More importantly, the summit provided a time of healing and we hope that domestic violence victims that may have been watching know that they are not alone. There are hundreds of organizations and people committed to the challenge of addressing domestic violence and putting an end to it.

What is the role of men in the conversation?  How should men get involved

As statistics show, nearly one in four women, one in seven men and 3 million children living in the U.S. will experience domestic violence. It is something that impacts nearly everyone, and we believe that we will only create change and end domestic violence when everyone – men and women – are part of the conversation.

Men are in a unique position to engage in conversations with younger males so they can begin to understand what a healthy relationship is and how to treat one another with respect. A Call to Men talks about shifting the social and cultural norms that define manhood. Men need to take ownership of the problem to create the positive social change that is needed. They need to step out of the “man box” when raising sons and demonstrate how to be honest, transparent and loving – a true example to all men around them. This includes influencing other men in their communities to stand up and speak out against all forms of violence and discrimination.

Tell us about Verizon’s Relationship with A Call to Men.

Verizon works with A Call to Men to further its mission of training and educating men, boys and the community on building healthy and respectful relationships. Specifically, Verizon supports A Call to Coaches – an event that brings together coaches and other men who mentor young boys to provide them with the tools necessary to have conversations about healthy masculinity. 

Verizon employees are involved in A Call to Coaches events at every level on the day of the event – from senior leaders sharing their personal commitment in this area to employees volunteering and recruiting attendees.

This initiative is a great example of how corporations can lend support to its partners beyond just financial resources, and because of Verizon’s and my personal commitment to ending domestic violence, it was a natural progression for me to join the board of directors for A Call to Men.

If you’re looking for additional ways to speak out against domestic violence, you can submit messages of hope to victims and survivors through Verizon’s Because Voices Have Power campaign. Add your voice to the conversation by submitting a message of hope online at www.voiceshavepower.com, sending a text to 94079 or through social media using the hashtag #VoicesHavePower.