First suggested by an employee at a meeting about corporate values, Google adopted its oft-quoted "Don't be evil" motto in 2001. Two decades later and not being evil isn't enough anymore. Tech companies are upping their commitment to doing good, and Twilio, the go-to platform for building voice, VoIP, and SMS apps, is making it official with the appointment of its first Chief Social Impact Officer.
Erin Reilly has been leading Twilio's social responsibility initiatives since 2016, and in her new role, she is working to transform how her organization uses tech to better the world. "Because Twilio powers so much of the text, video, and voice communications around the world, we have this unique opportunity to help drive scale for organizations that are saving lives every day."
She points to Twilio's collaboration with nonprofit organizations to make communication possible in crises like sexual assault, suicide, drug abuse, and natural disasters. Whether that's WhatsApp, video-calling, or text messaging, Twilio is helping these organizations make connections and build communities with those who need it most.
Twilio is also working towards ensuring its teams reflect the diversity of the people it serves. The cloud communications company has set an ambitious goal for its workforce composition – 50 percent women and 30 percent from under-represented populations. Reilly believes the formation of the leadership teams and boards guiding a company should also share these similarities with their customers.
On the topic of goals, Twilio believes the big and bolder – the better. The team may not always know how they’re going to get there but they know they’ll make it happen. “I see two benefits to setting bold goals,” Reilly said. “Bold goals are visionary – they motivate people by showing them where their day-to-day tasks lead. And they drive innovation, pushing us to try new things rather than to slightly tweak existing practices.”
The company's audacious new goal is to help a billion people a year within ten years. Twilio’s billion people is only the starting point, however. They focus on delving deeply into specific verticals to ensure making the most significant impact possible. For example, the company partnered with Path to create a customizable SMS to enable two-way communication as a means of reporting and tracking malaria outbreaks across Zambia's southern province.
In recent years, tech companies are making social responsibility a bigger priority. Leadership teams want to build organizations that contribute to a better world. Progressively, social good is becoming more than an abstract concept company's pay lip service to at their big events. It's transforming into real, actionable initiatives that create lasting social impact. Twilio's dedication to this cause will contribute to the culture of corporate good.