WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Doing well by doing good

I get lots of pitches from companies, but the one a couple weeks ago from Acumen Solutions caught my eye.

The company has launched a program that encourages and supports their employees to get involved with the community by joining boards of local charities.

The program, Eric Pearsall told me, is an extension of the ethos of the company, which was founded in 1999. Pearsall, managing director of U.S. operations for the consulting and systems integration firm, said that they have placed staff members on the boards of seven charities. By the end of the year, they hope to have more than 20 in place.

The move is good for the charities, which so far include Washington area groups such as Child & Family Network Centers, Heads Up D.C., the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena. The charities are getting professionals with a broad range of experience, who have the support of their company behind them.

Acumen is training its staffers to be good board members. Fund-raising skills are one of the topics covered as well as other functions of charity boards and how nonprofits are organized.

For Acumen, it's a great tool for professional development for employees, who get to learn new skills and get more involved in their communities, Pearsall said. As a result, Acumen should get better leaders in the company.

The program could also help with employee retention, he said.

The thing I found remarkable about the program is the size of Acumen Solutions. The company only has about 250 employees. You'd think they'd be focused just on building the business. Who has time for charity work? When you're big and successful then you can spare the people and the resources.

But they are taking a longer view of success and how they want to attain it. This is a people business after all. People need to feel they are contributing to more than the bottom line.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 22, 2008 at 7:22 PM


Reader Comments

Mon, Jan 4, 2010 Mike Rochester, NY

"Acumen Solutions delivers superior solutions to your business challenges." What better way to grow your business than place your people on director boards near the other business leaders to capture their business. Although you give this company kudos for "doing good" next time look at the ulteria motives behind the scheme. I stopped thinking certain business people did volunteer work for the good of the community when a "friend" said he volunteered at the local hopitial 1 day each week at the help desk. It turned out he was a financial investment counselor and this was a great way to meet doctors who just happened to have $$ to invest. Self serving not community serving is what Acumen Solutions is all about. Next time look beyond the obvious. Mike

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