Helping provide prescription medicines in Philadelphia. Reuniting refugee children with their mothers in Vancouver. Rebuilding schools destroyed by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. When United Way partners and staffers come together to talk about improving lives, they aren’t messing around. And when 1,400 of them came together last week in Vancouver at the United Way Worldwide Community Leaders Conference, it’s a wonder the building could contain all the inspiration.
Our own Chairman of the Board, President and CEO Inge Thulin shared his perspective in a keynote address on the value of 3M’s successful collaboration with United Way. Inge’s passion for the people of 3M and our communities worldwide earned a standing ovation from the audience. Specifically, he shared 3M’s commitment to improving lives across the globe through our investments in education, diversity and our communities and the service leadership of 3M’s volunteers.
And while we were moved and inspired by all these stories, we also had the opportunity through formal sessions and informal networking to explore new strategies and techniques to make the work we do even more impactful. Other keynote speakers, such as former President of Mexico Felipe Calderon, highlighted the important role of businesses and community partners in strengthening families and communities.
It’s something we know well at 3M, where service leadership really goes to the heart of who we are as a company. In fact, Inge chaired the Twin Cities United Way annual campaign during the organization’s centennial year. The overall campaign raised more than $82 million and drove the work of more than 109,000 volunteers. I could not have been prouder to represent 3M in Vancouver, but the real excitement comes when I think about where we go next.