Generation Startup: A Documentary Hosted by PwC Shows the Importance of Entrepreneurship
CR Magazine spoke with Shannon Schuyler, principal, chief purpose officer, chief corporate responsibility officer, and president of the PwC Charitable Foundation at PricewaterhouseCoopers about the film and the power of purpose at the company.
CR Magazine: What drives the focus on purpose at PwC?
PwC’s purpose—to build trust in society and solve important problems—articulates our collective ability to tackle critical and complex challenges by applying our professional experiences. By understanding the implications and opportunities of our actions gives us a deeper sense of meaning in our work, and allows our people to see the humanity in our services. In short, why we do what we do. The need to understand why our work matters was a need clearly identified in PwC's Putting Purpose to Work study, which found 83 percent of employees prioritize finding meaning in their day-to- day work.
CR: How do you expect to see purpose evolve in the future?
SS: There is incredible potential behind a purpose-driven organization, an organization that has all its people focused on “why are we in business?” Why do we do the things we do, how we do them differently, what makes us unique, and can that truly drive lasting, positive change combined with commercial success?
As chief purpose officer, I was tasked to find out what that looks like, and I think business leaders are at the forefront of really thinking about the idea of purpose, and why purpose is important. According to PwC’s 19th Annual CEO Global Survey, CEOs across industries are acknowledging that a business purpose—a clear reason to exist beyond making money—goes hand-in-hand with a sound business strategy. And while the vast majority of leaders agree this is an imperative, the conversation is still evolving around how purpose is being activated and embedded within an organization.
If we truly believe in the value of purpose, we have to make it a fundamental part of our business—from decision-making to internal communications, to recruiting and professional development. As the purpose conversation evolves, I think we will see a shift from ideation to action in these key areas.
CR: Why should people attend the screening of the movie funded by the PwC Charitable Foundation at COMMIT? What will they learn?
SS: Entrepreneurship is critical to the success of our cities. Sharing the stories of the men and women who take this career path is an incredibly powerful way to demonstrate not only what they experience, but the hope they can bring to cities in need of revitalization. Generation Startup is a documentary partially funded in part by the PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. that brings to life the experience of six recent college graduates working at startups in Detroit through Venture for America.
The PwC Foundation got involved with this project as an extension of its work with Venture for America, which channels talented young people to early-stage startup to train as entrepreneurs. At the PwC Foundation, we believe in the power of social entrepreneurship as a catalyst for creating innovative technologies and designing promising solutions to tackle some of society's most challenging problems.
It's my hope that those who attend the screening will walk away with a deeper respect for the personal and professional struggles of budding entrepreneurs, and a desire to actively support the revitalization of American cities and communities through entrepreneurship.
CR: Why is participation in the COMMIT!Forum important, in your opinion?
SS: For those with intellectual curiosity around topics of corporate responsibility, sustainability and purpose, COMMIT!Forum provides a rich source of dialogue and networking that is invaluable in our field.