Sustainable Brands 2017, Detroit - Charles' thoughts
By Charles Antis, Founder and CEO, Antis Roofing and Waterproofing
In May, I attended the annual 2017 Sustainable Brands conference in Detroit. By far the largest conference on corporate social responsibility (CSR), it was a real benchmark moment for me. Alongside business titans like Cisco, Yahoo, and others, I had the chance to talk about Antis Roofing and the everyday blue collar folks who make up our family.
In the past, community improvement meant non-profit work,but recently, companies have taken up creative giving models. From the very beginning, it was critically important to me that Antis Roofing reflect my personal values. This conference provided me with an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come as a company and the ways in which traditional sector businesses, which are often sidelined from the conversation, can play a unique role in community improvement.
I took part in two panels at the conference and was fearful that as a small business man, I couldn’t reach C-suite executives when it came to CSR. Until I realized that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to acting sustainably or doing good. Our company is small enough to take risks, to learn from our past experiences, and to work with our strategists to constantly improve our model. I came away from the panels humbled by the scale of the CSR endeavors backed by bigger companies but with a strong sense of validation of our model and the continued value of smaller, local companies.
Beyond an opportunity to tell the story of Antis and our mighty team of employees, I am thrilled that global conferences like Sustainable Brands are leading conversations around technology and the changing job market. A major CSR priority for me remains providing job and financial security to contract employees, who often become victims of crummy business models. Further, as skilled-laborers, many contract and traditional sector employees are especially vulnerable to technology-driven job replacement. This panel gave me an opportunity to place blue collar Americans at the forefront of consciousness and share our model with others. Hopefully, our peers will take up the baton.The highlight of the conference was when a person at one of the sessions who didn’t feel that purpose could be integrated into every company or every job came up to me at the end of the conference and asked me to be his mentor!