Interview with a Rising Star: CSR & Brand

Tanya Jeong, AbbVie

The Rising Star Award is presented each year to an emerging leader in corporate citizenship whose work creates significant social and/or business impact. The Rising Star for 2020 is Tanya Jeong, Associate Director, Global Philanthropy at AbbVie.

Tanya leads AbbVie’s global volunteerism program and is a program officer for the AbbVie Foundation. She also is the technology software lead for the AbbVie employee engagement platform, AbbVie Gives Back. Most recently, Tanya has been a key leader in developing AbbVie’s response to COVID-19 and racial justice efforts. Tanya inspires, influences, and impacts those around her.

Tanya joined ACCP for a live interview in August, and today she shares insights on building her brand within the corporate social responsibility (CSR) field.

How did you make a name for yourself in a large company?

One of the things I find important in a large company is to really listen to your audience’s needs. We are fortunate as CSR individuals to have access to employees at all levels at the company from the very top to those who are on the front lines. It’s important to incorporate feedback from all sides into adjusting those programs.

When we first started Week of Possibilities, one of the most important things we did was a series of individual debrief sessions afterwards with stakeholders at every level – communicators, nonprofits, employees, team captains. I literally spent a month debriefing! But it was worth it. When people see the programs improve and that you listened to feedback, it elevates the program and also your personal brand because you are willing to listen and adjust.

How do you leverage your personal brand to find success and opportunities?

For me, I think it’s incredibly important in a company to manage up. I think if you can make your boss look good, they can really become your best advocates even when you leave or take on a different role.

How do you continue to build and evolve your personal brand in the field?

I think one of the reasons why I am so drawn to volunteerism is that I’ve never been great at networking small talk. I know that is an important life skill and I’m working on it, but some of the people that I am most connected with are from “going through the fire together” on a project. There’s something powerful about having the same mission and building camaraderie on the way.

One of the ways I find helps build my personal brand is being available for brainstorming with my peers. It’s critical to see programs from multiple angles and so connecting with peers and diving deep into what they want to achieve has always been a joy for me. The beautiful thing about the CSR world is the collaborative nature that we are driving good for the community and our companies, but we are not necessarily in direct competition.

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