ACCP is excited to wrap up our 2023 Talking Purpose feature with Tina Lee, Director, Head of Social Impact & Sustainability at Dropbox.
How did you get your start in corporate citizenship?
I think I had a bit of a nontraditional background in getting involved in the corporate citizenship landscape before joining Dropbox’s social impact team in 2019. I’ve had an extensive background in nonprofits, especially in international development, technology, and philanthropy.
At NetHope, I worked with many large non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on their digital transformation journeys, which meant designing and supporting cross-sectoral partnerships with a lot of potential for impact for all stakeholders.
My involvement in the intersection of technology and social good was my start, and I was hooked. I saw first-hand how to partner and collaborate with private sector companies through their corporate philanthropic efforts, product, and social impact teams. Some good partnerships and some didn’t work out very well. But I loved being in that space, and it was also an exciting time to be in as it was transpiring into something bigger. Many other technology companies like Google and Facebook followed in the footsteps of Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel’s corporate citizenship efforts. My direct experience working with and in nonprofits provided valuable insight into fostering deeper stakeholder partnerships.
The field is evolving rapidly. What are the most important skills and knowledge corporate social impact professionals need to stay ahead of the curve and be successful in the future?
It’s important to stay on top of the issues and evolving landscape; lean on professional networks, memberships, and convenings where you can learn best practices. Find time to take educational courses that will help deepen your knowledge and even prepare you for roles that you’re not currently in (e.g., Corporate board roles)
What is one specific piece of advice you received that has served you well in your professional journey?
Networking – building your professional network is super valuable as you grow your career. Nurture your relationships along the way and create your own “board of directors” from people you’ve worked with, partnered with, and even just met.
Considering the current landscape corporate social impact professionals are working in, what are the essential things you suggest for them to make a priority?
Identify ways to integrate CSR with ESG; the ESG/sustainability space is fast-moving and growing, and there are a lot of overlaps and opportunities to expand the corporate social impact professional’s skillset and experience—a great opportunity to level up in this field.
One fun/personal question – who’s someone you admire and why?
Oh, this is a hard question, as I have a lot of people I admire! But if I have to choose one, Melinda Gates. Her approach to equity, impact, and empowerment – she’s been a steadfast force of nature, and I’m a huge admirer!
Thank you again to Tina Lee, and I look forward to continuing the Talking Purpose feature in January!