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CEO Blog

Making a difference

Hisham Farouk Hisham Farouk

As the business environment changes and the economy grows, it is important to make a difference not only within our professions, homes and within our businesses but also to make a difference within the communities in which we live and work. 

I have previously discussed the importance of being socially responsible, but how can we make a difference and what are we doing to make a commitment to change? 

We believe that no value is added by rubber stamping an opinion on the financial matters of a business alone, a deep engagement at a business and social level is needed in order to ensure that we play an active role in developing individual’s technical and professional skills as well as supporting the wider economy. Making a difference is at the heart of what we do. Our mission is to make a difference to our clients, our colleagues, our profession and our communities.

Locally, we encourage and take part in a number of initiatives which support the community and the economy. We support the community by raising money for local charities by running marathons and delivering seminars at Universities to the future leaders of tomorrow. Equally, we support business leaders by mentoring future CFOs who have the ability to make a difference to the economy and business environment in which we work. 

Likewise, we support various environmental initiatives such as cleaning natural reserves and ensuring our environment continues to remain protected. I am an advocate of supporting the community and take the time to mentor future leaders who I hope can go onto one day make a difference to our wider economy but equally continue to make a difference to society. 

In 2015, we will be running the Dubai Marathon (10km) for a chosen local charity to ensure we not only aim to achieve a great result for ourselves but also work together to make a difference. Whilst training for this challenge and promoting a healthier lifestyle for our people, this will also allow us to raise money to make a charitable donation to continue making a difference at every step. 

Globally, we support a number of charities. One of the ways in which we do this is through our international business report, whereby we donate $5 to UNICEF for every questionnaire completed. The US$5 donation is a key driver for business leaders to undertake the survey.

In today's fast-moving business environment, time pressures on senior executives are ever increasing so the direct link to an internationally-recognized charity makes a real difference to the success of the project, and, more importantly, helps to save children’s lives. Grant Thornton International has donated almost US$400,000 to UNICEF over the past five years through the IBR (international business report) report alone (not taking into account any other donations which have been made).

Corporate social responsibility should be engrained within the heart of any business and shouldn’t be seen or used as a marketing tactic. What we do as an organization to make a difference to the community will only allow it to serve us for generations to come.

As leaders we set the precedent for our teams and lead the way to change for our clients, people and communities, therefore each leader should endorse, support and actively get involved to ensure corporate social responsibility continues to make a difference, now and in the future. As once famously stated “each one of us can make a difference but together we can make change”.