Spotlight On: Kathryn Nisbet

26 Feb 2014 | AT&T

Tagged: Volunteering and Mentoring, Possibilities, Do One Thing,

What is your typical day like on the job?

I manage AT&T’s Do One Thing movement, commonly called DOT.  DOT is an invitation to every employee to choose one action to make themselves better or the company better. The action each employee chooses should be repeatable, sustainable, impactful and most importantly, enjoyable. DOT demonstrates why AT&T is a thought leader in sustainability. Through this initiative and in general, we’re transparent in sharing what we’ve done and continue to do.

So, my typical day is all about communicating both internally to members of the AT&T community and externally for AT&T. I work with all the business units, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and anyone interested in sustainability. I spend much of the day responding to communities of interest on DOT tSpace and creating messaging for DOT – both written and visual. The visual part is new to me. We also started offering up sample tweets a couple of months ago so that people can share updates with their followers outside of AT&T.

How does your role support AT&T’s efforts to improve environmental and social performance and impact?

My role is to make sustainability understandable, relevant and personal for everyone at AT&T —to help them understand why it’s important to us as individuals, to the communities where we live and work and to the company. In my role, I try to help individuals engage in sustainability around something they’re interested in and passionate about. Cleaning up a local park on a Saturday morning isn’t for everyone. Some people might prefer volunteering at the local arboretum or teaching English as a second language.  I think every job should be about sustainability. It’s just a matter of finding out what they truly care about.  

Why do you think corporate social responsibility is important for businesses?

Because making money is not a reason to exist. We have to have a purpose. Sure, money is great and we need it, but our purpose is to make the connections that matter, so that businesses can serve their customers and so that people can reach out to their loved ones. The business argument for CSR is that it’s innovative and disruptive. It’s a long term growth strategy.

It empowers your business with a positive reputation.  It attracts talented people to join us as far as recruitment. It helps our customers understand what we’re all about. It’s also a benefit to the bottom line and helps to reduce risk. It’s a better way to manage our operations.

If you could have dinner with one historical figure, who would it be and why?

I think it would be Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring. She showed us how we as people impact the natural world—and not in a good way. She kicked everything off and really started it all with environmental sustainability. I think without her, we wouldn’t have the Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Protection Agency or prominent activists like Al Gore. She also received some flak for being non-traditional. She was sort of cool and ahead of her time, so I think she’d be fun to have dinner with.


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