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Purpose 360 episode 131

Thinking in Quarter Centuries with New York Life


Legacy companies are still around today for a reason: they’ve developed exceptional products or services, nurtured their workforce, and committed to serving their communities. Take New York Life: at 177 years, the company and its Foundation have a long history of supporting family legacies and leading on the issue of child bereavement.

Recent events, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasized the importance of this work. It also highlighted how underserved communities are disproportionately impacted by many issues, including loss. Already committed to providing financial security, protection, and peace of mind, New York Life created a new pillar focused on social justice to address and drive access to generational wealth.

We invited Heather Nesle, President of New York Life Foundation and Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, to share how the Foundation launched its new pillar and continues to drive impact for families around the country.

Listen for more insights on:

  • How a legacy company maintains and develops philanthropic focus areas to remain relevant and impactful.
  • How to engage employees and stakeholders in difficult or sensitive topics.
  • Training your workforce to be advocates for issues that matter to your company and stakeholders.
  • Advice on how to approach social impact work when you’re creating a new campaign, starting a new project, or launching a new pillar.

Resources + Links:

  • (00:00) – Welcome to Purpose 360
  • (00:13) – New York Life
  • (02:20) – Heather Nesle
  • (04:05) – Heather’s Role
  • (05:07) – Focus and Alignment
  • (06:41) – Pillars of Their Focus
  • (08:23) – Kai’s Journey
  • (10:14) – Defending Against Naysayers
  • (11:53) – Agent Training
  • (14:02) – Agent Experience
  • (15:28) – New Third Pillar
  • (17:53) – Supporting Generational Wealth
  • (18:49) – Billion Dollar Commitment and First Loss Protection
  • (20:20) – Mixing the Pillars
  • (23:11) – Being a Pleasure to Work With
  • (24:21) – ESG
  • (26:03) – Benchmarking
  • (28:44) – Power of Focus
  • (30:27) – Volunteerism
  • (32:39) – Last Thoughts
  • (34:03) – Wrap Up

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Business is an unlikely hero: a force for good working to solve society's most pressing challenges, while boosting bottom line. This is social purpose at work. And it's a dynamic journey.

Purpose 360 is a masterclass in unlocking the potential of social purpose to ignite business and social impact. We illuminate the growing impacts of purpose, from engaging employees and fostering deeper consumer loyalty to inspiring product innovation and increasing market share.