Today’s episode is different from our usual interviews.
We sat down with Jason Altman, Regional Vice President of Enterprise Holdings, to talk about how the company moves corporate social responsibility forward to the community.
Jason shares his unique experiences and examples of how their organization is involved in doing social good.
Check out the episode below.
Kenny: Hey, welcome back, friends. This is Kenny Jahng, host of Generosity Labs podcast, where we talk about stewardship, giving and non-profit funding for churches as well as ministries. One of the things that we typically do is talk to pastors and other church leaders. Today, I’m excited because we’re going to pivot a little bit on the conversation. I brought on today as a guest, Jason Altman from Enterprise Holdings, an organization in the marketplace so, that we can get a look on the inside of how corporate America and the marketplace is really looking at social good about volunteerism and other things related. So, welcome to the show today, Jason. Great to have you here today.
Jason: Hey, thanks Kenny. Thanks so much for having me.
Kenny: So right off the bat, let’s talk about, who you are, what you do, what’s your role at Enterprise Holdings? So, give us the 30-second rundown of Enterprise Holdings and your role there at the company.
Jason: Well, Enterprise Holdings provides a complete transportation solutions to large organizations right down to individuals. You probably know us best from enterprise rent-a-car or a car rental division. We’ve got an enterprise, national and LMO. I’m the regional vice president over central New Jersey in Staten Island. So, I’ve got responsibility for other stores and individuals that serve those markets.
Kenny: Nice. And, one of the things that I think people don’t understand is that, you are more than just car rentals, right? As the transport systems. Why don’t we just talk about that first, just for a second. What are some of the other things that you guys do? And then, also, the profile of the company itself is a little bit different. It’s not a public company, right?
Jason: No, it’s privately held. So your first question, when I say complete transportation solutions, we’ve got a leasing division, fleet services. Gosh, we’ve got a car-share, you know, ride share. We’ve got a bunch of different divisions of the organization up to and including a retail car sales. We actually sell our cars if you’re in the market.
Kenny: You guys are one of the largest re-sellers of cars in the country, right? That’s a little bit unknown fact. A hidden gem, basically. And then your structure, you are not a public company. You are private companies still, even though it’s a behemoth of the brands that you own. It’s quite amazing that you’re still private.
Jason: Yeah. Privately held. One very committed family out of St Louis, Missouri.
Kenny: That’s one of the things for me, my radar went off a little bit because it is one of those stories that because it’s private because it’s family-driven then culture and values usually come into play in a business setting. Is that something that you can share with us? What’s the uniqueness of that which has helped enterprise flourish from that perspective?
Jason: Yeah. The company was certainly founded on a set of values and the larger we got becoming this behemoth, this you say, you know, ownership got concerned that we were straying from those values. So they established a set of criteria which really measures the operators against the degree to which they live and exhibit those values. And a lot of that involves supporting the communities. We serve to do good. But there’s certainly operations and other things, but a great deal of it has to do with corporate social responsibility.
Kenny: Yeah. So that’s the Buzzword I want to talk about today because many people assume that these giant corporations are just about profit and there’s these other, I think, there’s a subset that’s growing. Some of it just out of authenticity and some of it purely copycat, right? That this phrase CSR, corporate social responsibility is becoming a little bit like how recycling or fair trade or all these other things have become commonplace and now embedded in many corporate cultures. Corporate social responsibility is one of them being local, being invested in the communities that you serve and that you’re present in. How do you define that and what does that mean for you as an executive? How are you living out that corporate social responsibility?
Jason: It’s in your soul, right? It can’t be a buzzword. Like anything in our business, it needs to be a strategic, well-thought out and most importantly, well-executed. So, in my business, well, Enterprise globally partners with the United Way Worldwide and I sit on the board of the United Way of Ocean and Monmouth counties and this gives and creates a wonderful portfolio of giving and volunteering opportunities for my team. We’re finding Kenny that our current and potential employees that this really resonates with them. Working for a company that affords them the opportunity to support their communities to feel more connected to them is really, really important. So, we have your lead campaigns, we have events, we monitor, we measure, the company invest. There’s a matching that takes place.
Kenny: Is there like a corporate foundation or something like that?
Jason: Absolutely. With the United Way in particular is a wonderful mechanism. It’s almost corporate social responsibility in a box, right? If you’re an executive out there and this resonates with you, right? You understand it, appreciate it. It’s not a buzzword. We need a strategy that these folks, we, can help with that. I mean they are a committed collaborative, doing a great work. And frankly, they could use a hand. We could use that.
Kenny: And so, one of the things that you talked about is that I think in our pre-interview chat, you were talking about how Enterprise is one of the largest recruiters of a specific demographic. Can you share a little bit about that?
Jason: Yeah. What we are, in fact, one of the largest recruiters of college graduates.
Kenny: And this portion is a recruiting benefit that is mentioned upfront. Is that what you’re saying?That this comes up consistently, that people who are looking for jobs are not just looking for same dental benefits or a parking spot or whatever, that they are actually evaluating their opportunities as to how and what are the opportunities that you guys are doing in the community as well.
Jason: Absolutely. When we interview a candidate and say, “Do you have any questions for us?” Increasingly, they’re asking about, “Hey, what are you doing in the communities? How can I, as an employee, get involved in that?” And, it resonates. It really does. It has become a big part of our recruiting strategy.
Kenny: Now. So, your company and your personal time is now invested in this United Way of Monmouth county. Is that correct?
Jason: Monmouth and Ocean county.
Kenny: Monmouth and Ocean county United Way. What are some of the things that you’re seeing that organization is doing really well, that the community itself would be missing if they were removed from the equation?
Jason: Yeah, that’s a great question. First of all, just unique to the United Way. They do a wonderful job at collaborating, bringing in organizations whether from the business world or non-profit. It’s interesting. Guys like me who are involved in a non-profit sector quite a bit and it’s a crowded space. There’s a lot of people competing for attention to the same dollars. And what’s unique about the United Way is how, in spite of all that, they will collaborate. So, by way of example, and this speaks to your second question, when hurricane Sandy hit.
Kenny: Yes, that was a huge, huge impact on our state.
Jason: Right? And, our CEO, Tim Hern went to another non-profit now Fulfill, its called and said, “Listen, we’re doing work at a financial service center, but we need you to take over the tech support so that I can concentrate my time, energy and effort and long-term recovery.”, right? Which is where the United Way needs to be. We need to stand in that gap. And, you know, he brought in another organization to do that. And I thought, that was a brave thing to do, was the right thing to do. And that partnership between Fulfill and the United Way of Ocean and Monmouth county exists even today at the financial service center.
Kenny: That’s a very unique strategic approach to a non-profit social service work, right?
Jason: Yeah. I certainly thought so. And there’s a lot of examples of this. It’s really mobilizing and bringing all the resource you can to bear on some of the issues that face Monmouth and Ocean county. So, it’s making a real difference.
Kenny: Now, United Way, great brand name, great exposure, a lot of awareness. I’m sure there’s a lot of brand recall as what we say in the communications marketing space. Does that organization that you volunteer with have trouble or not trouble but, are there still a huge efforts for a reason, volunteer troops and also financial support or are people lined up outside the door and because everyone knows that people are writing checks left and right without much heavy lifting on the internal side.
Jason: Yeah, it’s a great question and right. It’s certainly a well recognized brand but localized and so, I can certainly speak to the United Way of Ocean and Monmouth county. But listen, there’s a lot of people supporting it. We’re appreciative of all that help and support, but frankly, we do need more. I’d love to see a more corporate involvement in it and we’ve certainly seen an evolution in corporate social responsibility. We talked about it a little bit before.
Kenny: And that corporate social responsibility, is it only just, “Hey, we’re going to partner with you”, I mean, I’m just going to write the checks or is there more to it?
Jason: Oh, there’s so much more to it, especially with the United Way. So again, it’s a portfolio of giving, but also volunteering. So, we run a lot of team building type events with our guys and our friends at United Way will help with that. They will support that. They will attend all the events that they really mix it up with with our team. It makes our guys feel great about the work they’re doing. They are proud of it. And the really cool thing about the United Way is you could tell these guys really, really appreciate it. Nothing gets taken for granted. It’s a really neat thing to be a part of.
Kenny: I mean, there’s a reason why the United Way is the United Way. Its history that it’s embedded in communities, right? That I think structurally top down inside out, there must be something good that really is proper and the structure set up is really well. In today’s environment, there is so much competition for volunteers, for dollars, for staffing even in the non-profit world. And so, it’s really interesting to have your inside peek as to why and how this specific United Way in New Jersey is operating, et cetera. Is there anything else that you can share with us about the United Way in particular that you were involved in Monmouth and Ocean county?
Jason: We talked a little bit about a financial stability and the resource center at the Freehold mall. You know, recently, I had an opportunity to spend time with another group and one of the things that United Way is interested in working towards is helping kids through school readiness and reading proficiency. It may interest you to know Kenny, that sixty percent of kids in low income families don’t have access to children’s books. And listen, I’m a father of two, I know you’re a father, right? You almost can’t imagine a world where that exists, but it is happening right here. So, you know, through United Way with help from a lots of businesses, new individuals in the community, what we’re out there, getting these kids started on the right trajectory. But, it’s got to start early, it’s got to continue and we’re going to need some help. That’s just another example of the great work that we’re doing.
Kenny: Well, so one of the things that we ask our guests that come into the show is, “Hey, look, if you had a magic wand and you could wave it and do something really on your own personal wishlist for this non-profit, what would it be? What’s the one thing that these guys of United Way of Monmouth and Ocean county are doing really well that you want to turbo charge? Or what other parts of that program that you’ve seen? What would you like to see happen in 2018?
Jason: Well, to be honest with you, I just like more people to get involved. And, that level of involvement can vary. Check us out, commit to learning just a little bit more about the organization of Monmoth and Ocean County, the work that we’re doing. I think you’ll be moved. I think it’s just learning more will serve as a call to action and no action is too small. Listen, if you want to, put a CSR program together, similar to what I do with my organization, we are happy to help with that. If you want to make a personal donation that no matter how slight it is, everything’s gratefully received, but I’d start and settle with just learn more about what, what we’ve got going on.
Kenny: That’s a fantastic call-to-action. Jason, thank you so much for being with us today. One of the reasons we brought you on is to really see and hear you articulate just the authenticity that you have on the corporate side, but also understand from the non-profit side of the people and the partners on the street doing the heavy lifting of the work in the social service agencies like the United Way of Monmouth and Ocean county. And just seeing their approach to things I think is,it afforded as a view today that we typically don’t have. So, I really appreciate that. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that with us today.
Jason: My pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity.
Kenny: And one last thing. If people want to get in touch with you after the hearing about this topic that we’ve talked about called corporate social responsibility, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Jason: Well, sure. You can go to the United Way of Monmouth and Ocean county website, or you can contact me directly. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Either way. We’d love to hear from you and happy to help.
Kenny: Well, thanks again for coming on the show and thank you to our listeners here for taking the time to sit down with us and listen to a little bit different of a pivot of the conversations that we typically have. One of the things that is I think great about hearing Jason and his perspective from Enterprise Holdings and involvement at United Way is that this is something that we need to be paying attention to and this is something that more and more of our culture and marketplace, especially as we’ve talked on this show many times about the next generation moving up in leadership across all the sectors of our society and culture. This is something that we really need to be paying attention to, so really appreciate you’re dropping some comments below or reaching out to us on our website, generositylabs.org. Thank you so much again for paying attention to this worthy topic for us today. One of the things that we appreciate you, is also funding us up and leaving a rating and review on iTunes, Stitcher radio, or the Tunein network for this podcast so that other people can be invited into this conversation. ‘Til next time, I’m Kenny Jahng, host of the Generosity Labs podcast. Thank you so much for being with us. Be Good and be generous this season.