40 Hours: What Footprint Would You Leave?
Every full-time Timberland employee is entrusted with 40 hours of paid time off (part-timers get 20) to serve in their communities and for organizations and causes that are important to them. 40 hours – that’s one full week, over the course of a year, in which they can invest their time and talent to whatever personal passions they have: coaching a soccer team, volunteering at a local animal shelter, organizing a fundraiser, stocking shelves at a food bank. No politics, no organized religious activities—otherwise, serve from your heart.
The program is called the Path of Service, and in the 18 years we’ve had it in place, my colleagues’ enthusiasm for the serving has inspired and astounded. And the good we’ve accomplished in communities around the world has grown exponentially.
As the CEO, I’m proud of Path of Service—it stands proof that for-profit business can be a force for positive social change, that we can deliver the quarter’s financial result, and make a difference in the communities we live and work in.
Service is a corporate value, but a personal choice and effort. As CEO, I need to ensure that our corporate investment in service serves our business strategies, explicitly and clearly. So—planting trees, serving on Earth Day, urban green space clean ups—the CEO spends plenty of hours underscoring that environmental sustainability is a key element of Timberland’s business strategy.
But the nice thing about volunteer service is, even the CEO is accountable for his or her own path of service. When I serve as Jeff the citizen—I can act on the passions that drive me, personally and individually.
As a blessed individual in this time and place, I can’t get my head around the reality of childhood hunger. Just can’t. And so for my personal 40 hours of citizen service, I am enrolled as a volunteer in the campaign to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.
End Childhood Hunger in America—end it. Yeah—I know the numbers, nearly 50 million Americans lack the means to regularly put enough nutritious food on their tables – and of that number, nearly 17 million are children—but I have seen what Share Our Strength is doing, state by state, to change this reality, and I know that this campaign can and will succeed. If you are interested, look at this link—nokidhungry.org. Ending childhood hunger is not a dream, it is a concrete and deliverable reality, and as citizen, this is where I’m investing my personal and passion.
I am grateful beyond words that I have 40 hours to feed my soul, and to dedicate to feeding hungry kids in America. Imagine if every business leader in corporate America had 40 hours to fight for his or her passion. I wonder–if you had 40 hours, what footprint would you leave?