What it means to be a corporate citizen in 2021
Rose Marie Glazer draws on life lessons to help AIG be an ESG leader.
As AIG’s Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Rose Marie Glazer manages and addresses the needs of the company’s increasingly diverse range of corporate stakeholders with the level of conviction and empathy she saw in her earliest role model – her mother, who immigrated to the US from Peru.
“From a very young age, she would counsel me that my future had no limits,” Rose Marie says. “To be successful, I learned from her that you don’t have to have a lot of money and you don’t have to be in the right clubs.”
The key, Rose Marie adds, is knowing who you are at your core and backing your purpose and values with hard work – tenets that have shaped her personally and professionally throughout her career as a corporate attorney advising companies in a range of industries.
“You must go into the trenches with confidence,” says Rose Marie, recalling one of her first jobs as an attorney for an airline where she volunteered to fly several legs as a flight attendant. She went on to take basic flight training courses and became certified to sit in the cockpit and observe how pilots do their jobs.
“As a lawyer, it’s incredibly important to understand the perspectives of the people you are supporting so that you can give them guidance from a position of knowledge and empathy.”
Through Rose Marie’s leadership, AIG aims to continually deepen its understanding of the needs of not only its employees and shareholders, but also across the diverse communities where they live and work. This is more important than ever.
Leading with strategy and empathy to create positive change
The recent wave of social justice movements amid an ongoing pandemic has accelerated changes in the way the public views the role of businesses in society. No longer is it enough to hit quarterly revenue and other financial targets. Increasingly, investors, employees, and clients expect companies to address broader social issues – ranging from climate change to gender pay equity.
“Now companies are expected to deliver sustainable profitable growth while also making sustainable positive contributions to society,” says Rose Marie, who works with AIG’s Board of Directors and communicates regularly with its shareholders about the company’s environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) goals. “Successful companies must be able to do both credibly.”
For the past several years, AIG has been proactively transforming certain aspects of its business – particularly as they relate to corporate governance, sustainability, and corporate citizenship. This comes as investors and social activists increasingly shape what it means for companies to act as corporate citizens going forward: Investors’ demand for climate and other ESG information is soaring. The US Securities and Exchange Commission recently introduced rules requiring public companies to expand human capital disclosures to provide investors with increased transparency about a company’s workforce, and the agency has announced that it is developing proposals for more disclosures around climate and ESG issues for the future.
Taking bold actions to address the needs of AIG’s employees, investors, and clients
Against this backdrop, companies are evaluating (and re-evaluating) their organization’s purpose and values and translating these goals into actions that make a difference beyond what’s happening inside corporate headquarters.
“Corporate Boards are engaged in knowing what their companies are saying about social issues, and also what companies are doing about them,” says Rose Marie, who also oversees our philanthropic initiatives through the AIG Foundation®.
AIG prioritizes taking care of its workforce. For example, the company launched a hardship fund called the Compassionate Colleagues Fund to help colleagues recover from disasters and other unforeseen financial adversities. AIG’s employees had expressed their eagerness to help each other in times of need. The fund enables the company and employees to make donations, and in return, provides grants to colleagues dealing with the unexpected.
And in the wake of George Floyd’s death, AIG responded to calls for action with respect to racial equity and justice. For example, the AIG Foundation strategically donated to organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), that address disparities and drive change. In addition, AIG’s Legal Pro Bono Program added criminal and social justice reform to its key pillars and launched a five-year partnership with the Legal Aid Society, the nation’s oldest non-profit legal services organization.
Rose Marie notes that AIG’s role as a corporate citizen doesn’t always involve monetary donations. The company has a policy that provides employees with paid time off to engage in volunteer activities. In 2020, AIG employees gave 30,000 hours of their time and during Volunteer Month in April, they donated 5,000 hours. Also, AIG’s Pro Bono Program is one of the largest in Corporate America and employees consistently give their time and expertise to various programs around the globe.
“Sometimes, time is more valuable than money,” Rose Marie says.
In an increasingly interdependent world, AIG anticipates that the interests of its stakeholders will continue to evolve and expand. AIG’s goal is to address the varied needs of its stakeholders and build enduring relationships that not only sustain its business but that also fosters lasting positive change in the world.
To learn more about AIG’s commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen, read AIG’s 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report.