This profile was published as part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who give back in their communities.
Susan McPherson is a serial connector, cause marketer, angel investor, and corporate responsibility expert. She is the founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy focusing on the intersection between brands and social good, providing storytelling, partnership creation and visibility to corporations, NGOs and social enterprises including Intel, Girl Rising, Plum Alley, IF Hummingbird Foundation, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, Blackbaud and JCPenney. She’s a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Triple Pundit and Forbes and has 25+ years experience in marketing, public relations, and sustainability communications. She is a featured speaker at industry events including Net Impact, Center for Corporate Citizenship's Annual Summit, DLD Women, TOA Berlin, and Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy's Summit. Susan founded and hosts the bi-weekly #CSRChat on Twitter.
Currently, Susan invests in, and advises women-led technology start-ups, including ZADY, TheLi.st, Lover.ly, News Deeply, Hint Water, Apolitical, Arlo Skye, GoldBean and The Muse. She serves on the boards of USA for UNHCR, The PVBLIC Foundation and the Lower Eastside Girls Club, and previously served on the board of Bpeace. Additionally, she serves as an adviser to several nonprofits, including Girls Who Code, She’s The First, The Adventure Project, and The OpEd Project. Susan is a Vital Voices global corporate ambassador and was named as one of 40 Women to Watch Over 40, Fortune's 55 Most Influential Women on Twitter, Elle Magazine's Top 25 Women on Twitter and Fast Company's 25 Smartest Women of Twitter.
Read the full interview below to learn more about what inspires Susan to give.
Q1: How do you give back? (Please include the name(s) of any organizations you support.)
I serve on the following boards to raise funds and awareness for the following causes:
- USA for UNHCR (refugee relief, globally)
- Lower Eastside Girls Club
- Blue Sphere Foundation (ocean restoration)
- PVBLIC Foundation
- Plus, I fund women-led startups (not philanthropy), but I do it so these women have a chance at success. Only 4% of venture goes to women-owned companies.
Q2: What inspired you to start giving?
My late mother, who spent much of her professional career working for PBS because she believed in the cause and how important good content was for children and adults in our society. She also taught be to always be mindful of those who need a leg up regardless of how he/she ended up in that situation.
Q3: What does giving mean to you? Why do you continue to give your time, talents, money, or more to your community?
So many reasons:
1. The world needs help. We have so many challenges globally and locally and I feel a sense of responsibility to do my part.
2. It’s a connection. A connection to others who feel the same, who care
3. It works and its fulfilling
Q4: What would you tell others who are looking to start giving back? Share a piece of advice will help them get started.
Nothing is too small so don’t feel you have to start big and volunteer a certain amount of hours per week. You can showcase causes you believe in via your social channels. You can run or walk in a race and ask your loved ones to support you. You can do some research and find a few organizations that could benefit from your wisdom. Just DO it! You can step up and get involved in GivingTuesday!
Q5: Please share a favorite moment or story from when you volunteered or donated to an organization.
Visiting refugee camps in Uganda and Kenya with UNHCR. It was life changing to meet the people stuck in time, with little or no livelihood or future. But each is just like you and me. Wanting the best for the families and loved ones, safety and a future for his/her children.