FENTON: SUSAN MCPHERSON

Fenton opened its doors in 1982 with a unique mission: serve the public interest by creating powerful issue campaigns that make change. With our clients,  we have contributed to some of the defining change movements of the past quarter century, from ending apartheid and curbing global warming to protecting people from harmful toxins.

ABOUT SUSAN MCPHERSON:

Susan McPherson is a serial connector, passionate cause marketer, writer and corporate responsibility expert. As Senior vice president/director of global marketing at Fenton, she focuses on creating visibility for the firm and running its corporate social responsibility practice.  She’s a regular writer and contributor for the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Triple Pundit, and has 20+ years experience in marketing, public relations, sustainability communications. She speaks at a variety of industry-leading conferences including Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy, Sustainable Brands, and Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship.

Prior to joining Fenton, McPherson was vice president, CSR services at PR Newswire, a leading provider of electronic news distribution, media targeting, and measurement and multimedia services.  In this role, she was responsible for creating a series of product offerings for companies to better communicate their CSR activities with stakeholders in addition to generating new business for the newswire from CSR professionals. Earlier roles with the company included assisting in development of the firm’s first bureaus in China (Beijing and Shanghai) and the launch of MediaSense, a media measurement tool. Prior to her career at PR Newswire, she worked in both the editorial and marketing departments of USA Today.

Currently, McPherson invests in and advises technology start-ups including TheLi.st and The Daily Muse. She serves on the boards of 10×10, a social action campaign/platform funded by Intel to expand girls’ education in the developing world; Bpeace, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting women in regions of conflict and post-conflict start businesses; and Earth 2 Hub, a London-based innovative media platform for science and technology. She is also a member of Echoing Green’s Vanguard Council and Social Media Week’s New York Advisory Council.

Additionally, she serves as an adviser to several non-profits, including Girls Who CodePlant A FishShe’s The FirstThe Adventure Project and The OpEd Project. Recently, McPherson was selected as a Vital Voices global corporate ambassador.

Q&A WITH SUSAN

WHY ARE YOU AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Over the last several years, I’ve emerged as a leader in the corporate social responsibility space.  At Fenton, a social change communications agency, I built out and currently lead our CSR practice. On Twitter, I host a bi-weekly #CSRchat that has grown to be one of the central online conversation platforms for CSR professionals. I am frequently asked to write and speak about the intersection of CSR and communications.

WHAT CAN A FELLOW LEARN FROM YOU?

I’m looking forward to helping the fellow develop his or her skills and experience in several areas. Much of my success has been a product of building and maintaining a strong network and putting time into relationships. This is an area where I can provide support, insight and guidance for the fellow. It is at the heart of my approach to marketing—an approach that I imagine the fellow playing an active role in. Additionally, I’m excited to share my enthusiasm for the corporate social responsibility field and to support the fellow in building his or her communications skills.

WHAT WILL YOUR FELLOW BE EXPOSED TO?

The fellow will have the opportunity to participate in a range of non-admin activities, including social media marketing, new business, public relations, relationship building, event management and writing.

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT OUT OF A FELLOW?

We expect the fellow to be a self-starter who takes initiative and is passionate about creating social change. I value curiosity, authenticity, and a strong work ethic. I also hope the fellow will take the opportunity to get to know every member of our team. Fenton is full of interesting, well-connected, passionate people who are dedicated to changing the world. We expect that the fellow will take advantage of this opportunity to build his or her network by supporting other members of the team and truly getting to know everyone on staff.

WHAT MAKES YOUR STARTUP UNIQUE?

Fenton is an industry pioneer—the first communications agency to focus solely on advancing social change. Although we’ve been around for thirty years, we are constantly evolving and finding new ways to help our clients—nonprofits, corporations, and foundations—create social change.

ANY LINKS TO/ ABOUT YOUR COMPANY?

Our website:
http://www.fenton.com/

SmartPlanet profile on Susan:
http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/report/sustainability-that-sustains-the-bottom-line/1236

Social Innovation Initiatives of 2012 piece:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanmcpherson/2012/12/17/the-most-dynamic-social-innovation-initiatives-of-2012/