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The Corporate Social Strategy Initiative (formerly Virtuous Organizations Initiative) thrives because of our collaborative approach and shared vision. Every cohort member, conference attendee, and business affiliate has participated in our work as an important contributor. This work is facilitated by the efforts of our founding executive team.

Senior Business Analyst
Cicero Group
Associate Professor
Romney Institute of Public Service and Ethics
Brigham Young University
Social Impact Project Director | Adjunct Faculty
Ballard Center for Social Impact
Brigham Young University
Director of Leadership Development and Support
The HadaNou Collective

Meet the Cohorts

Each cohort played a different role in the creation of Corporate Social Strategy Initiative. Through the efforts of each member, we have hosted conferences, created a codified crisis response database, and established a digital presence. We look forward to making additional progress as we engage with future cohorts.

Cohort 1: Fall 2018

The pilot class, consisting of MPA and MBA students, worked to identify and articulate nine core principles of a virtuous organization that ultimately served as chapters for a book draft. These chapters were written by the students and then distributed to 50 social impact thought leaders, from companies like Goldman Sachs, Cotopaxi, OC Tanner, Rakuten, and Google Fiber. These practitioners then came to campus for a half day event, where they asked questions and gave feedback to the students about the content of their chapters and real-world implementation.

Cohort 2: Winter 2019

The second class, consisting of undergraduate and graduate students, included a lecture series and a lab. The lecture series was led by Drs. Eva Witesman  and David Kryscynski, drawing from their respective expertise in evidence-based innovation and business strategy. The class used the lab time to refine understanding of key definitions and then used those definitions to conduct and code interviews with more than 50 local companies regarding their corporate social responsibility practices, and to write analyses of 15 global companies.

Cohort 3: Fall 2019

The third class involved lectures led by four high profile consultants sharing how they frame their work in nonprofit, government, and corporate consulting settings. Students shaped material from those lectures into their own project-based consulting approaches, and worked with employees from three local companies representing branding, personal wellness, and software industries. The students created, developed, and tested assessment and consultation tools while providing active consultation to the partner businesses. The projects focused on internal diversity and inclusion initiatives, aligning corporate social responsibility with signature strengths, and embedding mission consciousness in marketing.

Cohort 4: Winter 2020

The fourth class focused on designing two convenings: one for business leaders and one for students. The first group planned a gathering of Utah leaders to have a conversation on corporations and social change, mixing in academics, business executives, social responsibility leaders, and the Virtuous Organizations team. When COVID19 changed the plans for convening, the group quickly pivoted to creating a database that tracked 600 company responses to the pandemic. The second group of students used human-centered design principles to shape a university-wide conference for future young professionals. Attendees would understand and utilize personal signature strengths to pursue careers that provide a stable income and meet broader societal meaning and purpose. This team moved the conference planning into a future conference toolkit to be utilized by others.

Cohort 5: Fall 2020

The fifth class focused on creating a digital presence for the Virtuous Organizations Initiative and making content publically available. This involved the development of a social media strategy, partner outreach program, website, 40+ articles, and a CVO brand.

Cohort 6: Winter 2021

Cohort 7: Fall 2021

Foundational Readings