Over the last year and a half, stories of resiliency have emerged all around us. Entire industries were transformed overnight…for better or for worse. Absence of in-person interactions, supply chain disruptions, and changing consumer behaviour were just a few “make or break” challenges faced by many in this country and beyond. But when we think about the organizations most affected by the pandemic, resilience describes not only the way many “bounced back,” but the ability to push forward and see what’s next.
We profiled three resilient Canadian business leaders from very different industries on a special compilation episode of the Disruptors podcast.
Here are three learnings from their pandemic experiences:
1. Reshaping: Digital offerings in the arts can reach new audiences outside of Canada
Strict lockdown measures and the cancellation of in-person events hit the performing arts industry particularly hard. When the pandemic hit, Ontario’s annual Stratford Festival had rehearsals for its 15 plays well underway, and had been planning to officially open a new $100 million theatre. Instead, it had to pivot from traditional in-person theatre offerings to focus on an online content library. As of this past June, over two million people from more than 80 countries have accessed this content and digital has remained a large part of its strategy.
“The future is not only what it’s been in the past since five centuries B.C.—which is live performance and people coming together—the future will be enhanced with a different perspective, a new perspective that is also digital and can be spread right around the world,” said Antoni Cimolino, the Stratford Festival’s artistic director.
2. Rebounding: Ecommerce is only going to become more imperative into the recovery
Covid shone a bright spotlight on the ability to buy and sell nearly everything online, and converted many in-person shoppers to online shoppers overnight. In the rush, small businesses with no online presence were simply left behind. These small enterprises are crucial to the Canadian economy – representing 42% of GDP and 48% of new jobs, as outlined in our report, “Small Business, Big Pivot“.
According to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey, only 20% of small businesses were selling online pre-pandemic and 8% started selling online since. One of these business owners is Andrew Feenstra, owner of Halifax bike shop Cyclesmith. Feenstra digitally transformed his store during Covid—and reimagined what it meant to be a retailer. He cites preparation with a pre-existing ecommerce presence as a key factor to managing during the pandemic and encourages other small business owners to do the same. “I’m a bike shop guy, not an Amazon guy. So understanding how people buy online and how the purchasing is done is so different than in an in-store situation,” Feenstra said. “Ultimately, it’s all about preparation.”
3. Resolute: Stay true to your company mission and purpose in times of crisis
Kelly Schmitt, the CEO of charitable technology company Benevity is trying to “infuse a culture of goodness into the world”—a core value that helped steer the company, and the charities it connects, through the pandemic. With all of the current societal and economic issues around the world, people are looking more to their companies to help solve these issues, and that’s where Benevity comes in.
“When we think of a culture of goodness, it’s just the desire of people to really integrate their goodness or their purpose with their work lives. They’re not two separate things anymore,” Schmitt said.
“What we do and how we help companies and their people do good has just become even more relevant.”
Speaker 1 [00:00:02] Hey, it’s Theresa. So what is resilience anyway? I think many of us had to redefine that word in the past year, we realized that it wasn’t so much about getting through a rough patch, but instead navigating a never ending series of peaks and valleys, twists and turns, but mostly valleys in physics. Resilience describes the ability of an elastic material such as rubber or animal tissue to absorb energy, particularly from a blow and release that energy as the material springs back to its original shape. But when we think about the people and organizations that suffered body blows during covid resilience describes the way many figured out not only how to bounce back, but what new shapes to take. These resilient ones figured out a new way of doing business, of reaching new customers, of keeping the organizations afloat. And more importantly, they’ve prepared themselves for a post pandemic future. This is Disruptors, an RBC podcast, I’m Trinh Theresa Do. On today’s episode, we revisit a few of our favourite stories of resilience from the past year. Among them, a bicycle shop owner in Halifax who learn how to sell online and find a better way of packing boxes, and also a Calgary based startup that’s helping companies engage in charitable giving and, quote, infuse a culture of goodness into the world, something that was sorely needed during these trying times. But first, the inspiring story of the Stratford Festival. North America is the largest classical repertory theater company now in its seventh decade of operations. For the second summer in a row, Stratford has had to dramatically curtail its programing. It’s directing most of its performances online, although by the end of August, twenty twenty one, some limited in-person shows are expected on the shores of the Avon River. When we spoke with Stratford’s dynamic artistic director, Anthony Cimolini, last December, the future was less certain. There was trademark confidence and vision for success remained just as clear.
Speaker 2 [00:02:27] 2020 was incredibly challenging. We were beginning rehearsals and and well underway actually for many of the programs or doing 15 plays, introducing a new hundred million dollar theater. And we were stopped in their tracks. Our mission is to connect with people, to bring people together over great works of art and share them with a live audience. And suddenly, the one thing that we were built to do we couldn’t do the economic impact was huge. It was a 20 million dollar hit and staying connected with audiences was vital. And so we had fortunately been recording the plays. On our stages are Shakespeare productions, especially because we wanted to create a Canadian library of these great plays with this wonderful company. And so we have been doing that for many years. And for a while we question whether we should I mean, it was a million dollars for every one of these recordings, but I felt it was important to conquer geography. It was important to conquer time, to preserve these performances and to spread them around the world. So we created a film festival which unrolled over 12 weeks, and it was sent around the world. We showed 12 different films and we clustered them around the ideas that we were examining during this time of isolation. And it was seen by one point two million people around the world and about forty four percent of that one point two million people were from non English speaking countries. So India was our biggest market. And after that, Germany. And it spread the word of the Stratford Festival right around the world.
Speaker 1 [00:04:01] Stratford also launched its own online platform in twenty twenty Stratford at home, charging ten dollars a month for access to a wide variety of films and events. By June, twenty twenty one, more than two million people from more than 80 countries have used Stratford’s online work or attended one of its watch parties. Some people initially worried that going digital might dilute the Stratford brand. But Anthony told us that having a multi-platform strategy is something that will ensure the festival’s ongoing success.
Speaker 2 [00:04:33] We realized that producing work online digital production will be vital to the future. I think we’re all realizing that that, of course, the secret to theater is being there in person with others. And that’s what really makes it magical, that sense of immediacy where anything could happen. But I think in the future that’s going to have to be enhanced with access to all sorts of additional performers, understandings, ways of working through the digital medium. And we’re doing more and more work commissioning artists to explore what that means and new and exciting ways. So the future is not only what it’s been in the past since five centuries, B.C., which is live performance and people coming together, the future will be enhanced with a different perspective, a new perspective that is also digital and can be spread right around the world. One could have been worried that for a live performance venue to suddenly be spreading things digitally around the world would undermine your core business or wouldn’t appeal to your audience. And instead, we found new audiences. We come many people who’d never been to the festival before from around the world. I mean, we’ve always had an international audience. About thirty four per cent of our audience comes from outside of Canada. But now the pickup in South America and across Asia was extraordinary. And I think that it has introduced people around the world to this Canadian treasure. The response has been fantastic. I don’t think it’s everybody’s cup of tea. But from so many people during this lockdown, this time of isolation, it was a way of staying connected with these incredible plays and these words. And our first broadcast was King Lear with Colin Feuer. And who would have thought that in a time of Penda? Something like King Lear would give people solace, would give them comfort, but the communications we receive from people make this devastating play reconnected them to humanity, to the fact that things can get worse. I know that doesn’t sound comforting, but this great place says, hang on, guys, you are something worth something valuable to the world. And things could get worse before they get better. But ultimately, we will in some fashion come through this, maybe not all of us individually, but the contributions that we have made to our families through our work through are the the creations that we made in art, especially. We’ll survive. It will be a future. Shakespeare, of course, lived through the plague. There was a period of time from sixty five to sixty nine when the theaters were only open for about four months. And he understood and that’s actually when he wrote King Lear, he understood that there are times when we’ve got to just hang on to each other and and get through. And this is one of those times
Speaker 1 [00:07:30] strategist’s at home has been showcased in the festival’s Shakespearean films and original content. But now it’s also featuring content from other arts organizations across Canada, organizations that are looking for new platforms on which to share their original content. For Anthony, all decisions made in the past, both by the festival itself and the town that bears its name, give them hope for what the future holds.
Speaker 2 [00:07:55] It’s funny to look back and to look at the decision points that were made, the decisions that were made that actually bore fruit and a lot of it in the years ahead. And it’s hard to know those. I mean, our expansion into creating like three hundred different special events where we get to understand what the what the work in our stages means to the world we live in today. The recording of these films and other related material was all about trying to better connect in new ways with those around us, with audiences. And we knew that instinct was right. We had no idea it would become so critically important in the time ahead. Sometimes the decisions we make about value segments, about who we are, how we’re going to express ourselves has a payoff in the years ahead we can never anticipate. You sometimes wonder why theater flourished in Stratford, Ontario, this railway town that made some really important decisions years ago. They decided to create a park system in the middle of town. And even when other railways want to move in and destroy that park system, they refused and that park system grew. And then when the railways were going to close here in Stratford in nineteen fifty three and the crazy idea of starting a theater festival for economic development came up. It flourished because of the beauty of the surroundings. No one would have known back in 1911 when there was a plebiscite in this town and they turned down jobs to keep their parkland, that they were actually making the decision about the quality of life they wanted in the future. They were making a decision that would be a lifeline for for them 50 years later, because if they had ruined that parklands, there’s no way we could have had a theater festival here. So sometimes those critical decisions that we make, those decisions about who we are, what we believe in, what we want for our children, have payoffs in the years ahead that aren’t just a nice to have, but actually critical to survival.
Speaker 1 [00:09:53] Next, we hop on a bike and ride our way down to the other side of the country for an update from Andrew Feenstra. Andrew is the owner of Halifax Bike Shops. Michael Smith, which sells everything from Bells to Baskets, extends to cargo bikes. Few things captured the imagination of Canadians, more in twenty twenty than the idea of escaping for wild isolation and exploring the outside world on two wheels. Problem was how to get those hot wheels when everyone else is trying to do the same thing. And at the same time as retail stores were closing their doors in many parts of the country for sale. Smith in business since nineteen eighty six, the first few months of covid meant big changes and how they went to market and new definitions of what it meant to be a bike shop. Here’s part of our conversation with Andrew from last December.
Speaker 2 [00:10:46] Twenty 20 was a very interesting year, very challenging. The big thing that we had to do was pivot and pivot changed the entire business or a bicycle shop in Halifax, brick and mortar. We went to almost 50 percent of our sales were done online for a few weeks. And that changed everything how we did our business. We never had a shipping area in our store. We now have three staff that are picking and packing orders and shipping them all across Canada. That is completely new roles and we have taken some of our existing sales staff that would normally help customers that are in the store to helping customers online. I’m a bike shop guy, not a Amazon guy. And understanding how people buy online, understanding how the purchasing is done is so different than in an in-store situation. So, you know, there’s a lot of training, a lot of adjustments on on running the business and investment. We had to invest a lot into our our website, our online platform and get everything all sorted. And a lot of this was done multiple years ago, but the top was just trickling before March and then it fell off wide open come March 15th, when everything was kind of a lock down and open for online basically, and curbside pickup that we that we had done and and to learn how to do it, we we copied other companies. Some of our staff had gone to other businesses and said, wow, they did an amazing job on their curbside pickup. How did they do that? Let’s copy it and learn from from some of the best in class.
Speaker 1 [00:12:17] The quick pivot online allowed Michael Smith to realize record revenues last year, but the success was not without its hiccups. The biggest challenge, it turns out, was learning how to ship boxes en masse.
Speaker 2 [00:12:30] Last November, we did nine boxes. This November, we did three hundred boxes shipping out and so doing it by hand does not work anymore. If we can save 30 seconds on every box that all of a sudden adds up to four hours of someone’s day, that is not spending time on that type of thing. So it’s really making it now. Now that we’ve seen where it can be and where it’s going, we now have a bit of a vision on that and then we can start to make those efficiencies. We’re actually changing the lay up of our basement. So it’s much easier for when the items come in and where the items go out working with Canada Post on their pickup schedules and things to make it quicker. And so we don’t have so many boxes sitting around waiting for pickup in our basement. So those things are going to get picked up faster and everything just becomes more efficient.
Speaker 1 [00:13:21] When we caught up with Andrew this June, he reported that online sales had settled at twenty percent of the total after a pandemic high of 50 percent in early twenty twenty before covid online sales amounted to just three to four percent. The shift led Andrew to invest in new software to ensure his website is better integrated with both the in-store point of sale system as well as Canada Post Cycle. Smith’s main shipping partner. Looking back, Andrew said that covid-19 pushed his business strategy ahead by four years in just fourteen short months. And we talked in December. And you highlighted one key lesson from his pandemic experience.
Speaker 2 [00:14:01] Ultimately, it’s all about preparation. You know, there’s there’s a few things that you learn as a kid and Boy Scouts is be prepared and that’s everything that is. Our success for this year is being prepared for it. Not that we could have known what Colvard was going to do, but we were certainly prepared for it in multiple years. So companies that all said, oh, get online, get your you can’t go and all that kind of stuff. We did that a few years ago, but it was such a small part of our business. But we were ready for it. That was probably the biggest thing that we’ve learned and going into each year, we always prepare for the next year. And that’s really where most other companies can learn, is literally be prepared and be prepared for the unknown, and then you’re going to be much, much better off for your own success.
Speaker 1 [00:14:45] Coming up after the break, we revisit a conversation that my co-host, John Stackhouse, had with Kelly Schmidt, the CEO of Calgary based software company Boniadi. They chatted about how the charitable sector learned to reach new donors in different and surprising ways during covid. So stay right there. You’re listening to Disruptors and RBC podcast. I’m Teresa Do. I hope you’re enjoying this encore presentation. If you like what you’re hearing, I’d encourage you to check out some of the conversations John and I have had with Canada’s top business leaders and innovators over the past year. One standout is John’s provocative chat on intellectual property and the future of Canadian innovation with Jim Balsillie, the former CEO of Research in Motion and the chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators. You can find past episodes of disruptors at RBC, dotcom disruptors or wherever you get your podcasts. Now, here’s John Stackhouse.
Speaker 3 [00:15:55] Canada’s philanthropic sector is the second largest on the planet. When you measure it on a per capita basis, we’re behind only the Netherlands and it contributes an estimated 151 billion dollars to our economy every year, or at least it did in 2018. Of course, last year was different from coast to coast to coast. Most charity walks, runs and rides had to go virtual or be canceled altogether. Even the bells associated with those iconic red kettles jingled a little less loudly this past holiday season. But against that bleak backdrop, we’ve seen some surprising, perhaps even prophetic, successes take the case of Brevetti. It’s a fast growing company based out of Calgary that’s trying to reinvent philanthropy. And it just reached unicorn status, giving it a value of more than a billion dollars. It’s my pleasure now to introduce Benevity’s newly announced incoming CEO, Kelly Schmidt. Kelly, congratulations and welcome to Disruptors.
Speaker 4 [00:16:58] Thank you, John, and thank you for having me join today.
Speaker 3 [00:17:00] Maybe I can start with some background on Benevity. Many of our listeners probably don’t know it or maybe have only heard about it in passing. Tell us a bit about the company.
Speaker 4 [00:17:10] Sure. But is the category creator and market leader in a space that we call corporate purpose technology. So over six hundred and fifty companies, including RBC, use our platform to power their corporate goodness programs and engage with nonprofits. So whether that’s employee giving and company matching, community investment or grant making, volunteering, prosocial actions, you know, in our history we’ve facilitated over six billion dollars of donations and thirty four million hours of volunteering to over 300000 nonprofits around the world.
Speaker 3 [00:17:45] So a lot of numbers there to digest, Kelly. But before we get deeper into those numbers, I want to ask you about that so-called culture of goodness, which I think was a phrase coined by your founder, Brian Townville, who just handed over the CEO mantle to you. What does that mean?
Speaker 4 [00:18:01] Yeah, so culture of goodness, with all of the societal and economic issues around the world, people are looking more to their companies to help solve these issues. And so when we think of a culture of goodness, it’s just the desire of people to really integrate their goodness or their purpose with their work lives. They’re not two separate things anymore. And companies that promote these purposes and culture of goodness actually are more successful in attracting and retaining talent as well.
Speaker 3 [00:18:27] It’s interesting how much charity has changed in a short time. There used to be an expression I gave at the office, which was a way of deflecting from someone knocking at your door, asking, asking for money. But now, I guess with work from home, the office is everywhere. But our connection with charity is also everywhere. We want to give, but we also want to connect. How has been every kind of rethinking, reimagining charity in light of all that technology is changing?
Speaker 4 [00:18:53] Yeah, I mean, really, our platform was designed to democratize, if you will, giving and volunteering, and it allows employees to support the causes that they’re passionate about in the way that they want to. So it’s not just once a year arm twisting exercise for the charities that the company says are important, but it’s also your time. It’s opening it up to the causes that you think are important. It’s tracking prosocial actions such as getting groceries for a neighbor. Those are all of the things that the platform is enabling. And it’s interesting what you said earlier about giving in Canada, declining in twenty twenty, because we actually saw on our platform that in Canada, companies and their people stepped up and donations increased over 70 percent year over year in twenty, twenty two.
Speaker 3 [00:19:39] What’s going on there? Because that’s a that’s a fascinating divergence that overall there are some indications of philanthropic giving going down and yet you’re seeing that’s a massive increase. Why the difference?
Speaker 4 [00:19:50] Yeah, we tend to not use the word philanthropy too often at benefits because it is often associated with high net worth giving anybody is really a micro donation platform and it was designed as such. And so without considering the company match that might be provided, the average donation size on our platform is in the neighborhood of fifty dollars, yet over two point three billion was donated through the platform in twenty twenty. And so we’re seeing that close to 75 percent of companies have some form of program that supports their people, are doing good and rewards them for it. We saw many companies step up with matching campaigns all the way from one to one to five to one to deal with covid and racial equality movement and other issues in twenty twenty. And that drove a lot of giving momentum.
Speaker 3 [00:20:39] And how how is the Colvard crisis changing? I’m tempted to use the word philanthropy, but you’ve just suggested that may be an inappropriate word. How has Colvard changed opportunities around social good?
Speaker 4 [00:20:50] From my lens, I would say covid accelerated a lot of the trends that were already there. And so food security, precarious employment and housing, mental health. You know, many people were right on the edge with these issues before and just barely holding it together. And covid was the final straw or maybe the third strike and the impact of it was disproportionate on the charitable sector. So there was a time in twenty twenty, if you were a hospital or a food bank, you were getting more donations than you maybe knew what to do with. Yet if you ran a youth center or a science center or a place that was a hub of activity, that where you had to close your doors completely due to covid, your donations probably dried up and you were figuring out how to keep the lights on without selling off the furniture. And so a lot of the trends were already there. But I think the thing that’s going to persist is that many of these organizations to survive, they had to become online overnight. And so, as you said, there’s been no charity galas, no golf tournaments, the fundraising activity that they used to do just completely. Dried up, and I think this hybrid model of in-person plus online is probably going to be really powerful going forward, not just for how we all work, could do our jobs, but also for the charitable sector. If I think about the science center in Calgary here I’m on the board of, you know, now we can bring in experts from around the world online versus our online presence, just maybe being a Facebook page. And so it’s a good opportunity, I think, for the sector to experiment and find new ways of doing things and new ways to attract new donors and to grow.
Speaker 3 [00:22:17] I’m glad you use the word hybrid, because that’s a word that’s come up on a number of episodes through the crisis. We’ve come to call it the the hybrid hustle, which is what a lot of businesses need to to think about as they think towards the recovery. Whether you’re in retail or entertainment or finance, you’ve got to be online everywhere all the time, but also in person building and deepening the relevance. Kelly, I’d love to get your thoughts on one charity that’s been digital from the start and what we can learn from its experience during the pandemic.
Speaker 2 [00:22:52] I’m Todd Minocin. I’m the country director for Movember, Canada. It pays to invest in your in your digital infrastructure. We’ve been an online charity since two thousand and ten, basically. And having that platform ready and available for people to participate was a huge part of how we got there this year. We were in a position to kind of look at how to make incremental improvements to some of our technology that resulted in massive returns on on how it worked for people. The other thing that I think we really learned this year was that Canadians were ready to move to mobile for philanthropy. Our sense is when you’ve been sitting at home for eight or nine months, working on your laptop and ordering your life supplies on your phone beside you, making that switch to philanthropy on their phone with something we really noticed this year and felt like it was a significant difference in giving.
Speaker 3 [00:23:46] It’s interesting to hear Todd explain it that way, because we’ve become so comfortable with medical appointments, grocery delivery, conference calls, all on our phone, often on the same device, sometimes at the same time. But as Todd said, you’ve got to invest in the digital infrastructure and in the technology. I sense a lot of charities think they can just put up a webpage or have a site. And that’s their effort for
Speaker 4 [00:24:10] digital destination sites, as you describe them, typically aren’t overly successful because the challenge is how do you get people to your site? Right. You know, in a platform like ours, you can have access to 10 million users instantly. But the mobile piece is interesting. That was actually a part of our offering that we rolled out about a year ago. And so you can do all of your good on your phone. And when we think about the future and where it’s going, certainly we started by using corporations as the aggregator of people. But we want people to think of pulling out the inevitable app on their phone when they think of doing good in all aspects of their lives. And so their family circles, their friends circles, their sports teams, their kids schools, their churches. It’s not much of a stretch to think that you just pull out your mobile phone and track your good as as it happens. And as you move through those circles.
Speaker 3 [00:25:01] Another charity that turn to tech during the pandemic is one actually that I have deep personal connection with. I met our next guest more than a decade ago when he just lost his son and was exploring ideas around what to do about youth mental health. We spoke for a couple of hours and it was it was profound. It was a moving conversation that is with me still. He did far more than I thought possible, showing the incredible power of purpose and passion. He saw no choice but to do it. And now he’s been forced to reinvent fundraising again.
Speaker 5 [00:25:35] My name is Eric Wendler. I’m the founder and executive director of Jaga National Youth Mental Health Charity. We’re fortunate that our staff of forty eight happened to be mostly young people, so they’re pretty savvy, adapted quite well to the challenges of pivoting to digital. The beauty of it was we had already anticipated shifting a lot more of our work to digital, and we see it now as a real compliment to when things return to normal. And we have our are in person.
Speaker 3 [00:26:03] As many of our listeners will know, one of Juggs biggest annual fundraisers is the Jocke ride. But instead of a massive one day in-person event, Rodders took part virtually last year using apps like Swift and Strava. And Eric was thrilled to report they actually raised more money than they had anticipated.
Speaker 5 [00:26:22] So the target for twenty twenty was twelve hundred and fifty riders to raise a million dollars for Jack. Doug, on top of that we receive about two hundred thousand in sponsorships for sponsorships. Never left us. And we were shocked that we actually ended up with over twelve hundred and fifty riders, about 7500 donations, and instead of a million raised, we raised a million, three tenth. So we exceeded our target by
Speaker 2 [00:26:48] about 30 percent.
Speaker 3 [00:26:49] That’s really impressive. And when I hear the stories of the Jack Ride or the earlier example of of Movember, Canada, I think of digital relevance. And Kelly, I wonder how other charities can build digital relevance, which has increasingly become essential to success.
Speaker 4 [00:27:06] Yeah, I mean, many charities became online video first organizations basically overnight, even if they didn’t have a head start as some of these examples. And frankly, they can’t really fulfill their mandates unless they do that. And so now is certainly the time to experiment. The resistance to change is really low and and the cost to experiment has gone down. And so, as you said before, you know, when there’s a will, there’s a way we didn’t think visiting our doctors on zoomer by phone was was ever going to happen. And then overnight that changed. And so it’s probably going to be in person and online going forward. And, you know, depending on the organization and what they’re trying to do, there’s different ways to engage with their donors and to also find new donors through platforms such as anybody.
Speaker 3 [00:27:52] Kelly, how how do you see over the next while technology continuing to remove constraints for for charities and for those of us who want to both give and connect with social good?
Speaker 4 [00:28:04] Yeah, I mean, you’re not just restricted by borders anymore, that’s for sure. Well, that’s probably one of the biggest benefits there, John. We actually see a lot of cross-border donations facilitated through our platform, whether it’s to support Australian wildfires or the racial equality movement in the US. You know what a platform allows this for these causes to feature their content and for us to publish specific campaigns to support them. And we’ve got the benefit, I guess, of having aggregated about ten million users in our platform, that it would take probably a lot of money and a lot of time for causes to reach that many people all at once. When an event like this happens or when help is needed, it’s always.
Speaker 3 [00:28:45] A challenging time in the social good space, but it sounds like an incredibly exciting time to Kelly, where does he go from here, especially as we move out of crisis, into recovery?
Speaker 1 [00:28:57] You know,
Speaker 4 [00:28:57] I think, unfortunately, twenty, twenty one is going to be a pretty tough year as well. We’re certainly not out of the woods yet. There’s some positive signs on the vaccine front. But a lot of what we’ve seen and what we’ve learned in twenty twenty, you know, including around sort of this hybrid online in person model, it’s just unlikely to change. We’re unlikely to go back to a world where all of us sit in offices from eight a.m. to five p.m. every day as well. It’s just the world has changed. So we just think that what we do and how we help companies and their people do good has just become even more relevant. And so we’re just we’re going to be doing more of the same. Plus, we’re going to be focusing on engaging more internationally headquartered companies. We’ve been mainly focused on North America and as I said earlier, trying to engage people in different aspects of their lives. So not just their corporate life, but in their personal circles as well.
Speaker 1 [00:29:49] That was John Stackhouse in conversation with Benevides CEO Kelly Schmidt this past January, by mid-June, benefits reported having processed more than 800 million dollars in donations so far this year, with covid-19 relief in India brevity’s top cause, making up more than 10 percent of all donations. I’m Theresa Do. Thanks for joining us for this look back at some of our favorite stories of resilience from the past year. I hope you’ll join us next time for another special summer episode when we revisit the pressing issue of youth mental health. Talk to you soon.
Speaker 6 [00:30:31] Disruptors, an RBC podcast is created by the RBC Thought Leadership Group and does not constitute a recommendation for any organization, product or service. It’s produced and recorded by JAR audio. For more disruptors content, like or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts or visit rbc dot com slash disruptors.
Jennifer Marron produces "Disruptors, an RBC podcast". Prior to joining RBC, Jennifer spent five years as Community Manager at MaRS Discovery District and cultivated a large network of industry leaders, entrepreneurs and partners to support the Canadian startup ecosystem. Her writing has appeared in The National Post, Financial Post, Techvibes, IT Business, CWTA Magazine and Procter & Gamble’s magazine, Rouge. Follow her on Twitter @J_Marron.
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