By Ellen McGirt
Updated: October 18, 2017 2:55 PM ET

Quick greetings from Baltimore, where I was invited to speak on a media panel at BBCon, a tech convention specifically for professionals operating in the social good arena. With me was Matt Petronzio, Social Good Editor from Mashable and Stacy Palmer the Editor of Chronicle of Philanthropy, and our conversation was moderated by Susan McPherson, angel investor and CEO of McPherson Strategies. As always happens, we started as strangers and left as friends committed to each other’s success.

I should really do more panels.

The discussion was an opportunity to talk about how non-profits and other organizations can understand how media operates in a rapidly changing world, and how they can better leverage traditional and social media to help support their mission. The big takeaway was transparency: Explain more about what you’re doing and how you’re measuring success, share relevant data early and often, and get creative about telling your own stories, particularly when it helps to teach journalists and the public about the complexities of your work.

You can see a shorter version of what we talked about here.

It was also a chance for me to share the commitment that Fortune has made in the last few years to document and, more importantly, shape, how corporations are re-thinking their impact on a world in crisis. Establishing a beat on race and inclusion is clearly an important element.

But in my panel preparation, I re-read the working report generated by attendees of the Vatican Global Forum, an event co-hosted by Fortune and TIME in 2016, that brought major business leaders together to answer a call from the Pope to find ways to address inequality and uplift the poor.

“Our world today is marked by great unrest,” Pope Francis said when presented with the report. “Inequality between peoples continues to rise, and many communities are impacted directly by war and poverty, or the migration and displacement which flow from them…. Your very presence here today is a sign of such hope, because it shows that you recognize the issues before us and the imperative to act decisively.”

And then I re-read our latest “Change the World” list of companies that are “doing well by doing good.” And revisited our reporting for The CEO Initiative, an important convening held last month for the CEOs of companies committed to addressing major social issues as part of their core business strategies. The work is starting to take shape.

I came away newly inspired. Not that long ago, “social good” would have been a niche and temporary beat for business journalists, typically focused on marketing and fundraising for causes. Now, it’s increasingly part of the mainstream conversation and always-on business operations. While I hesitated to call this moment a tipping point, it feels like something important has shifted. Competitors are now radically collaborative, even to the point of sitting around a table, to collectively fine-tune strategies to address workforce development, global health, climate change and race, among many other things. If it’s a sign of things to come, then I’m ready to declare it the new business as usual.

But maybe I’m biased.


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