Posted by Kendra Pink on October 29, 2015

Kendra Pink is a recent graduate of the Caring Economy Advocates Program. Kendra is certified as a Caring Economy Conversation Leader in Portland, OR.

My company, Knowledge Universe, is the nation’s largest private provide of early childhood education. We also partner closely with employers in implementing family care solutions to enhance their benefit programs and talent strategies. We know these programs have an effect on the bottom line of their business, because taking care of people, employees, is taking care of business. As our partner, Stanford’s Senior Director of Worklife Strategy Phyllis Stewart Pires says “…work-life issues are relevant to everyone—from department heads and students to parents and non-parents. If you want to manage a great team, then these ideas can be game-changing. If you want to innovate, they’re important for you, too.”

We are also heavily invested in partnering with governments federally and in 42 states to further the impact that policy has on investments in childcare before age 5. We know these formative years have a huge impact on developing brains and life trajectory, and so we are also the only national provider that works with local and federal agencies in making high-quality care available to all families, regardless of income.

On Oct 26, 2015, I hosted 30 business leaders across the country to introduce them to the idea of the Center for Partnership Studies’ Partnership/Domination continuum with a particular emphasis on how to create a caring company aligned with Partnership values. As we evaluated statistics on their workforce, such as the fact that in 2012, 25% of moms were returning to work less than 2 weeks after giving birth, we discussed how they were practicing Partnership principles in their policies and whether they supported families, individuals, and the environment. We also looked at case studies of leading businesses, such as Microsoft, and talked about the bottom line effects their policies and practices have in leading organizations and legislature to support more Partnership oriented policies.

The support was overwhelming, and the ways businesses, both large and small, are working strategically to attract and retain talent were unique. But the big take away was that the people that were running these companies, form owners to HR leaders, really care about their employees and want to do what is right.

My goal, in my Partnership work, is to create tools that businesses can use to help gauge their place on the continuum. From employees and clients to natural relationships, companies have a huge impact on individuals, communities, and policy. That impact can be negative or positive, and knowing the baseline is the first step to moving in the positive direction. Taking this baseline, I would then like to create training programs that address the different areas they can improve their partnerships, and focus on learning modules for a variety of individuals that have decision making roles within companies on how to lead those Partnership discussions and training programs within their own organizations.

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