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AACR convenes roundtable on social media’s role as corporate conscience

AACR explored ways to use social media to advance corporate civic responsibility during its biannual roundtable in Las Vegas.

The Association of Americans for Civic Responsibility hosted its biannual roundtable at Satay Restaurant and Event Center
in Las Vegas, Nev., Dec. 7.Seen from left are, AACR founder Dr. Joy Cherian, Sherman Worldwide Director Sarah Dube,
BoostLocal CEO Blake Cooly, JMA Information Technology Inc.CEO Joseph Melookaran, AACR program chair
and CEO Maria Bailey and CFO Mick Bailey.

Social media companies as well as representatives from small businesses and NGOs attended the Dec. 7 conference at the Satay Restaurant and Event Center, where speakers included business leaders, philanthropists and community service leaders.
‘The nuggets of what is learned at this forum must be shared with friends and family’ – Joy Cherian
The AACR was founded by Joy Cherian, the first IndianAmerican to serve in the U.S. government in a senior position, when he was Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner during the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Cherian, who had also served during the George H.W. Bush administration and part of the Bill Clinton administration, is also the founder of the Indian American Forum for Political Education, the nation’s first and oldest Indian-American political organization. Cherian said the AACR convenes the conferences “to effectively fulfill its mission” while fostering ongoing partnerships, collaboration and networking. The AACR, he said, also develops white papers on civic responsibility issues.
Cherian told India Abroad that the Las Vegas conference was a tangible manifestation of AACR’s “continuing commitment to civic consciousness and social responsibility.”
“There has never been a medium like social media to spread any message across the world, instantaneously and effectively whether that message is good or bad,” said Rudy Pamintuan, CEO of Sherman Consulting communications firm, in kicking off the discussion.

Las Vegas Councilman Steve Serokaspeaks at the Dec. 7 roundtable

Speakers included AACR pro gram chair Joseph Melookaran, CEO of JMA Information Technology Inc. in Kansas; Sarah Dube, director of Sherman Worldwide in Chicago; Maria and Mick Bailey, CEO and CFO, respectively, of, a social media company, and Blake Cooly, CEO of Boost Local, an eCommerce company in Las Vegas.
Melookaran said engaging social media for “giving back” to the community was a no-brainer. He cited the social media-based corporate civic responsibility programs of Procter & Gamble (Future Friendly programs), Tyson Foods (Hunger Relief Program), Molson Coors Canada (Responsible Drinking Program) and Haagen Dazs (Twitter cause campaign on protecting honeybees).
“These four examples demonstrates how impactful these campaigns are for the public good and eliciting extremely fast response and relatively inexpensive” Melookaran said. He said every size organization must have a strategy developed for their civic involvement using social media since it is easier to involve employees, customers and community. The results, he added, are quick and measurable.
Speakers exhorted businesses and NGOs for an enhanced linkage with the community through “giving back” and closer engagement through effective adoption of social media. “While larger corporations have better framework for civic involvement capitalizing on social media strategy, small entities are lacking that awareness and needs lot more guidance,” Dube said. She narrated how a video clip made her response to a situation which made significant difference in “doing good” during the holiday period.
Mick and Maria Bailey elaborated on the pros and cons of social media-based communications, and Cooly discussed significant and accelerating influence of the social media in all levels of society and emphasized the importance of how prudent public must be to understand the risks and benefits of the use of the social media.
Cherian said he hoped to see more forums such as this at universities and sponsored at governmental levels so the practice can become more widely accepted. “In the social media age,” he said, “my dream of this objective is easier and effective and minimally expensive.” He said the forum was an invaluable education. “The nuggets of what is learned at this forum must be shared with friends and family using social media to have exponential effect to their message.”

Former White House Commissioner
and Sherman Consulting CEO Rudy Pamintuan
introduces panelists at the Dec. 7 roundtable

Melookaran, who served as a member of the President’s Council on Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the George W. Bush administration, told India Abroad that “AACR is trying its best to promote and facilitate the perceived gap in having a forum for exchange and education for the those who do good work in promoting civic responsibility. A major initiative is to spread these types of conferences at universities in locations where there are numerous business and non-business entities and communities.”
Melookaran noted that AACR’s website contains several white papers and other information to enhance education on the matter. “We have launched joint programs with chambers of commerce in couple of places,” he said, noting that AACR is the only organization in the country that focuses solely on the education and exchange in the civic responsibility area. He said he believed increased use of social media will place a greater significance on using proper etiquette in campaigns for good causes.

- This report was written by Mr. Aziz Haniffa, of India Abroad.

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