A journey to discover the people who change our world.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Business of Community- Who is Tina Roche?



Tina Roche loves lots of things; art, advocacy, business, children, family, humanity. She has let those passions guide and direct her decisions in life. They have led her to do many things including becoming the treasurer of Amnesty International Ireland, a mother of one, a foster mum of three, the lead fundraiser for the Millennium Wing of the National Art Gallery of Ireland, and currently the CEO for both Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) and The Community Foundation for Ireland.

On the walls of BICI is their mission statement, posted proudly to remind all those involved of the track they are on.



With the Community Foundation of Ireland, Tina’s aim is to channel €100m over the next 10 years to community based organisations in the country which are promoting issues such as social inclusion and civic leadership.
Tina’s main influence comes from her father. He was a man of great integrity and was constantly involved in community activities. Tina was also the eldest of 6, and grew up minding her siblings, and frequently her neighbour’s kids. Running ‘messages’ for the neighbours was part of her upbringing.

Her father was heavily involved in setting up St. James’ Street Credit Union and by the age of 17, Tina was a regular volunteer. However, she didn’t see it as volunteering- just part of everyday life.

To Tina, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is so much more than simply community involvement; it is about how businesses conduct themselves as a whole. ‘It is about it is about getting your staff motivated about things that they like’, she elaborates, ‘imagine if you work for a business which is inspiring. Instead of just producing a drug, it was about curing AIDS- a business which is about the health of a nation, not just about making money for shareholders’.

Tina also sees the value of breaking down into simple actions and gave some practical examples of how we can change work behaviour. ‘Mobile phones and chargers’, she comments, ‘everybody keeps their charger at work, plugged into the wall and on. It is used for 5 percent of the time, and 95 percent it draws power for no reason. So just pull it out and turn it off. Also, things like pens are always half used. Very rarely do you actually discover that you have finished a pen!’

So to Tina, it is small, accumulative actions, which can lead to greater and greater things, and each person, whether in a corporation or not, has responsibility for their individual actions.

Upon leaving my meeting with Tina, she gave me a big hug and some chocolates. Absolutely lovely!

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