Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Corporate America Doing the Right Thing . . .One Life At A Time

I just love our CAEPV member companies – last week one of these companies went out of their way to help a victim of domestic violence who was not an employee but who had somehow managed to call their Employee Ethics Hotline for help. She found out that this particular company was one that supported domestic violence issues, and somehow found that Employee Ethics number.

As you can imagine, these calls go to internal human resources people. And they did not ignore this call. They made a report. And tried to figure out what to do. . .for a person who doesn't work for them.

So -- these amazing human resources people reached out to me and to others and together we figured out across the US how to get this victim of domestic violence the help she needed to get to herself safe and secure and to get her life back on track.

I hope you understand – this was NOT an employee. They did NOT have to do this. They just did it because they cared. They are amazing.

When people tell me that "Corporate America" stinks, I have the opportunity to talk with them about the "Corporate America" I get to work with here at the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence . . .the people who help move employees across the country, who help them get their names changed, who give them time off above and beyond what any law requires. . .just because it is the right thing to do.

And in this particular case, it was not even for an employee. It was for a "stranger" who called their Employee Ethics Hotline in need of help. And they answered. I hope the people who did that know how amazing they are! It is an honor to work with them each and every day.

I know that everyone can't get saved all the time, but it is pretty great to work with the people who represent "Corporate America" who are doing the right thing. . .one life at a time.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Domestic Violence - Never The Most Popular Table At The Workplace Wellness Fair

This week Dennis Butler (Vice President, Workplace Solutions at Liz Claiborne) and I had the opportunity to present together at the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) annual conference. There were well over 1,000 attendees at this event. But do you know how many attended the session on domestic violence and the workplace? Approximately 15 or 20.

Trust me, there was no other session even CLOSE to that topic, and it was very forward-thinking and bold of WERC to put the topic on the conference schedule. (Most topics were along the lines of “logistics, distribution networking, reasons to automate, transportation best practices, etc.”)

So you can imagine the 15 or 20 people who attended our session were pretty brave – and had pretty specific reasons for doing so. It is a very important reminder of why we do the work we do. . .we are still the uncomfortable and “unusual” topic. Of those in the room representing distribution companies, only three or four had workplace violence policies of any kind, and maybe one had a domestic violence in the workplace policy. I am hopeful that will be different after our presentation and the materials we provided.

This presentation and the “lack of attendance” was a great reminder of why CAEPV keeps on doing what it does . . . and why I do what I do. And I am so thankful for amazing people like Dennis Butler who are there to give the corporate perspective of why this is “Everybody’s Business”!

I was also very touched by one woman in particular I met at the conference in our session. She was supposed to attend with her friend, Cindy Bischof. But Cindy is no longer with us. She was killed on March 7 by her ex-boyfriend who violated a protection order and came to her workplace and shot her in the parking lot. I wrote about Cindy in this blog. Cindy is one of the reasons I do what I do – so employers learn what they can do to help so no one’s family or friends or co-workers go through the heartbreak that Cindy’s family and friends and colleagues are suffering. To learn more about Cindy, and what her family and friends are doing to try and make a difference, visit

As I told those at the WERC presentation, we are never the most popular table at the workplace wellness fair. It is uncomfortable to think about domestic violence, and it is uncomfortable to talk about it. But -- if you are someone ready to “step out of your comfort zone” as an employer and find out what you can do to address this issue in your workplace, check out our website at I promise you it will be worth it.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

S2 - Safer, Smarter Workplace Conference: Reaching Employers and EAPs to Impact Domestic Violence

If you've read this blog before, you know it is devoted to domestic violence and the workplace, and how employers can address the issue.

But what if, instead of going from employer to employer. . . you reached out to someone who reached a LOT of employers all at once? Someone like an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider? And what if EAPs across the country were well-versed in the issue and had great capacity to work hand-in hand with the employers they serve to address this issue?

That is the idea behind the S2 - Safer, Smarter Workplace conference -- it is the first national conference convening employers and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) providers to leverage their work preventing and responding to domestic violence and its impact on the workplace.

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence is organizing this invitation only national conference to take place on November 6-7, 2008 in San Francisco, California. Conference participants will:

-Hear from experts about best-in-class prevention and response programs
-Learn proven ways to use EAPs effectively in addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue -Participate with peers in creating a Blueprint for Action that will identify emerging themes in the national landscape and generate national response
-Develop a 30-day action plans customized for their companies or programs
-Engage in meaningful dialogue and collaboration before, during and after the S2 - Safer, Smarter Workplace conference to drive constructive and positive change in the workplace

The products of the conference will be shared on the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence website and will be made available to any employer, EAP provider, researcher or other party wishing to access any research, products, materials, or outputs from the conference.

Pre-conference Webinar
Reserved for invited conference attendees, this pre-conference Webinar is designed to fast-track conference attendees and help them have a more meaningful and results-oriented conference experience. In just two hours, Webinar attendees will:

-Discover what they can achieve by participating in the conference
-Engage in interactive dialogue with experts on why domestic violence is a workplace issue
-Begin to turn obstacles into opportunities through the Blueprint for Action, a plan to be developed during the conference that will identify emerging themes in the national landscape and generate national collaboration and response

Key Partners
The S2 - Safer, Smarter Workplace conference is presented by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. This conference is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with additional support provided by The Allstate Foundation, the Blue Shield of California Foundation and Health Care Service Corporation. The conference planning workgroup includes representatives from the following organizations: Chestnut Global Partners, CIGNA, Gap Inc, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Macy's West, Magellan Health Services, OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions.

We are very excited about the possibilities of this conference!

For more information, contact