5 Minutes with Susan McPherson

(Photo: Susan McPherson, third from the left, at SMW NYC 2012)

Next up in our Advisory Board interview series is Susan McPherson, Senior Vice President and Director of Global Marketing at Fenton Communications:

1. What is you or your organization’s greatest success with social media to date?

With Fenton’s support, I’ve had the opportunity to launch and grow #CSRchat, a biweekly Twitter chat that focuses on a range of corporate social responsibility issues. Over the last two years, I’ve facilitated conversations with a growing group of extremely intelligent and engaged people who come to the CSR field from a variety of perspectives. Special guests have ranged from Microsoft’s Citizenship Team to reporting guru Elaine Cohen to the Inteland Cisco CSR teams to the Director of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. It’s amazing to see this community come together twice a month and take a deep dive into important questions, issues, and solutions that drive the CSR field forward. The more rewarding part is when I’m at conferences and events, I get the chance to meet #CSRchat participants in person—and they already feel like old friends.

2. What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the emerging technology and/or new media space right now?

There are so many exciting things happening in the technology space, but I’m partial to innovations that use new media to create social change. Social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and corporations are doing amazing things to improve the lives of communities across the globe. For an example, check out 10×10, a groundbreaking global campaign that uses documentary film, photos, blogs, videos, books, social media, and strategic partnerships to deliver a single message: educating girls in developing nations will change the world. With Intel as a founding partner, 10×10 really exemplifies a storytelling-driven campaign that strategically integrates relevant media channels, relationships, and events—all with the purpose of changing the world.

3. What speaker or event are you most looking forward to at SMW NYC?

Fenton is co-hosting “Giving Gangnam Style,” an interactive ideathon with 92Y, Mashable, and the UN Foundation centered around #GivingTuesday, the new national day of giving that launched last fall. The success of the inaugural Giving Tuesday proved that social is transforming how people give and that it’s turning everyday citizens into philanthropists. At this event, we’ll invite participants to share ideas and announce plans for how to participate in Giving Tuesday 2013. Based on the current attendee list, I truly cannot wait to see what the audience comes up with. It promises to be an inspiring and unique event. Another event I’m particularly excited about is “Money, News & Sex: Stories of Challenging Three Industries from Cindy Gallop, Jessica Jackley and Katie Orenstein.” I count all three as amazing friends who have paved tremendous paths for women everywhere.

4. What prompted you to join Social Media Week’s Advisory Board? What do you think is SMW’s greatest value add to the tech/media space?

I believe social media is a wonderful tool for facilitating connections, generating engagement, building communities, and inspiring change. But we all have to remember that it’s just a tool. Without offline engagement and relationships, social media loses a lot of its value. That’s what I think is so great about Social Media Week. It celebrates what’s so great about social media, but brings us all physically together to do so, creating a unique space where offline and online engagement fuse together, and paving the way for true innovation.

5. What is the most creative way you’ve seen social media used?

It’s not the most recent, but I LOVE Tipp-Ex’s YouTube Tippexperience. Essentially, you watch a YouTube video titled “A Hunter Shoots a Bear.” The hunter in the video then reaches for the Tipp-Ex white-out tape (sitting in an ad to the right of the frame), crosses out “shoots,” and invites you to choose your own verb. Depending on what you choose (from “kisses” to “punches” to “eats”), the video will change accordingly. So cool and shareable. Check it out and try it for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/user/tippexperience

Susan McPherson is a serial connector, passionate cause marketer, writer and corporate responsibility expert. As SVP/Director of Global Marketing at Fenton Communications, she focuses on creating visibility for the firm running its CSR practice. She’s a regular writer and contributor for the Harvard Business Review, Triple Pundit and Forbes and has 20+ years experience in marketing, public relations, sustainability communications. Prior to joining Fenton, McPherson was vice president, CSR services at PR Newswire. McPherson serves on the board of Bpeace, an organization dedicated to assisting women in regions of conflict and post-conflict start businesses and Earth 2 Hub, a London-based innovative media platform for science and technology. She also is a member of Echoing Green’s Social Investment Council and Social Media Week’s New York Advisory Council. Additionally, she serves as an adviser to the non-profits: Girls Who Code, Plant A Fish, She’s The First, The Adventure Project and The OpEd Project. Recently, McPherson was selected as a Vital Voices global corporate ambassador.