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Purpose Pays Off at American Express with Timothy McClimon

Not many consumers know that American Express pioneered modern cause marketing. In 1983, the company launched a breakthrough campaign to support the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. (Even fewer know that American Express launched its very first employee giving campaign in 1885!)

Since then, the company has continued to evolve as an outstanding corporate citizen. To talk about American Express’s initiatives, we spoke with Timothy McClimon, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility and President, American Express Foundation.

Listen for Tim’s insights, including:

  • How philanthropy, citizenship, and purpose have evolved over the company’s century-plus history
  • Why the company is committed to being a low-carbon organization, and how it’s working to protect the environment
  • How the company’s pioneering support of the Statue of Liberty—dating back to 1885—has evolved into a long-term commitment to preserving historical places
  • How American Express transformed its iconic Green Card to raise awareness for the ocean plastics crisis
  • Why employee volunteering and giving are essential to the company’s purpose efforts, and how they make American Express an employer of choice

Links & Notes

  • 00:00 – Welcome to Purpose 360 • Tim McClimon — American Express
  • 03:47 – AmEx’s Evolution in Its Commitment to Society
  • 07:38 – Tim’s Start
  • 10:05 – Getting to the Focus and Innovating
  • 12:24 – The Numbers
  • 15:11 – Leadership Academy
  • 21:04 – Preserving Special Places
  • 24:17 – Dine Small
  • 30:11 – Small Business Saturday
  • 35:39 – Partnering With Others
  • 37:58 – In the Know
  • 41:44 – Sustainability Efforts
  • 46:02 – Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
  • 51:42 – Virtual Volunteerism
  • 53:25 – Measurement
  • 56:22 – Three Key Insights
  • 59:47 – Wrapping 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.