As a company dedicated to living our values every day, Timberland carries our commitment to serve the communities in which employees live and work around the world. Our Global Stewards play a critical role ensuring we meet this goal.
Global Stewards are Timberland employees who volunteer above and beyond their regular job responsibilities to extend the reach and impact of Timberland’s Corporate Social Responsibility team. Stewards serve as CSR ambassadors and drive community service in their locations as well as communicate key messages to employees in their locations.
In all, Timberland has identified 27 Global Stewards—one in each office around the world. Every year, the Stewards are brought together for an annual meeting to enrich their understanding of Timberland’s approach to commerce and justice, share best practices and provide tools to increase effectiveness and success. The meeting always includes a half-day community service event to put Stewards learnings into practice and to build the team through shared service.
This year, Timberland hosted the annual Stewards meeting in Stratham, NH and invited the team to participate in a special Serv-a-palooza celebration that would honor Timberland’s heritage and commitment to service before the company was acquired by the VF Corporation. VF’s involvement in Serv-a-palooza is a story unto itself – click here.
An event that is unique to Timberland, Serv-a-palooza is a full-day service extravaganza held every autumn, in which the entire company engages in serving local communities. “For most of the Stewards, service events involve 30 or 40 people, so it’s not the same as this year’s activities at our global headquarters, which involved 600 people,” explains Atlanta McIlwraith, Timberland’s Senior Manager of Community Engagement. While there were several different service projects going on at once at this year’s Serv-a-palooza, all the Stewards served as a group at the McConnell Center in Dover, New Hampshire. They, along with many other Timberland colleagues, landscaped a grassy area in front of this non-profit, turning it into a welcoming campus that can be enjoyed by the entire local community.
Our Global Steward in Shanghai, Lucia Feng, agrees with the power of participating in a large scale event. “We can learn from participating Stratham’s Serv-a-palooza. The enthusiasm the whole company embodied was something I’d never seen before.” Lorena Ibanez, Timberland’s Global Steward for Spain and Portugal adds, “Now I can say I feel equipped to come back home and be able to deliver this energy to our countries.”
In a survey of the Stewards after this year’s event, McIlwraith asked whether they would prefer to continue engaging in Serv-a-palooza, which takes more time out of their training, or go back to the typical half-day of service. The majority voted to continue to incorporate Serv-a-palooza. “I learned a lot,” says Nicole Snijders, Global Steward at our Enschede, Holland distribution center. “The annual Global Stewards training, as well as Town Hall Stratham, really inspired me to go further with the CSR program.”
While this year’s Serv-a-palooza was especially significant for the company, another important anniversary is looming. 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of Timberland’s Path of Service™ program, in which full-time employees receive up to 40 hours of paid time a year to engage in community service. “We’re going to have special activities going on around the world, and the Stewards are going to be very important in implementing them,” reports McIlwraith. “More than ever, service is going to be led by our Global Stewards. We want every employee to get out and engage in service to their own community.”
It is a sentiment that is shared by the Stewards themselves. “Although we have different languages and customs, we are one team around the world as Global Stewards,” says Eddy Alvarez, one of Timberland’s Stewards in the Dominican Republic. Adds Ibanez, “It is always great to meet with people from around the globe with different cultures, because once you go deeper, you can see we are not as different as it seems at first sight. We fight for the same values, with the same passion and commitment, trying to make the difference in our communities.”