Corporations have an enormous capacity – and responsibility – for helping and supporting the communities in which they’re based. Here, Liberty IT director of HR, Cathy Donnelly, gives us an insight into the work the tech company is doing in its community.
Liberty IT (LIT) employs more than 500 people at our offices in Belfast and Dublin and, as a responsible corporate citizen, we are committed to giving back to the people who work for us and the communities in which we operate.
Our corporate social responsibility strategy focuses – both internally and externally – on the environment; charity and volunteering; education; and health and wellbeing.
Internally, the Green Scene is committed to managing and reducing our impact on the environment. In the past year, the Green Scene committee has introduced ‘Binnovation’, which provides separate recycling, food and general waste bins at several locations on every floor.
Our LIT Balance committee focuses on employee health and wellbeing, and takes a really holistic approach to physical, mental and financial health, providing sleep clinics, healthy breakfasts, fortnightly fruit drops, Pilates classes and financial health workshops to employees.
LIT Balance also partners with the charity committee to encourage teams to enter local sporting events, including marathons, charity cycles, bake-offs and cake sales.
We also have a number of external partners whom we support on a fundraising and volunteering basis.
In 2016, the Dublin office supported LauraLynn Children’s Hospice, raising almost €7,000 from fundraising initiatives including bake sales and sporting events. This equated to around 250 hours of respite care for a life-limited child and their family. The team also gave employees time off work for a day to volunteer at the hospice.
Claire Sheils, corporate fundraiser at LauraLynn, said of the team: “You did amazing fundraising for us over the year, from challenges like the mini marathon, Clontarf half-marathon and rock ‘n’ roll half-marathon, to the many bake sales, dress-up days, quizzes and other events you ran in the office. And you came out to help us with our Christmas decorating, turning LauraLynn into a magical Christmas wonderland for the families to enjoy over many weeks. You were an absolute pleasure to work with and we know it took commitment as you all have extremely busy jobs in there.”
The team has just launched a partnership with Temple Street Hospital, and is planning to raise funds through events such as the Great Irish Bake, Techies4TempleStreet and Trick or Treat for Temple Street. The funds raised will go towards the Lifesaving Equipment Appeal, which funds crucial purchases of equipment for the hospital.
Through Business in the Community’s Skills at Work programme, Liberty IT is partnering with Pobalscoil Iosolde for the second year. The partnership sees us working with fifth-year LCVP students to foster the next generation of IT talent by encouraging students to consider IT as a career choice. This is done by introducing them to the world of IT and giving them an insight into the workplace.
The students are required to write reports on the activities they take part in and what they have learned as a result. These include:
- Career Speed Networking with second-year students, introducing IT careers in security and software engineering.
- Liberty IT class-takeover of fifth-year LCVP. This was casual in format, with a Q&A and a demo of a Raspberry Pi-driven Magic 8-Ball.
- Student visit to Liberty IT offices, which saw 11 students and their teacher attending coding workshops in the morning and careers-focused sessions in the afternoon.
- Mock interviews for fifth-year students to prepare them for the world of work.
We have also recently signed up to support the Women ReBoot programme, which is being run through Software Skillnet. This programme is aimed at reintroducing women to the IT workplace.
Felim O’Donnell, operations director at Liberty IT, said: “Corporate and social responsibility is at the heart of Liberty Mutual, and it is something we take a lot of pride in within Liberty IT. It is great to be able to mix a little fun in the office, and to do something different from our normal daily roles that can have a real impact for people in Dublin.”
Cathy Donnelly is director of human resources for Liberty IT, and has overall responsibility for the company’s people agenda, including recruitment, talent management and employee relations, across its Belfast and Dublin offices. Donnelly joined Liberty IT in August 2012. Prior to this, she spent six years with Ikea in a number of roles and was head of HR with a successful hotel and bar chain in Northern Ireland. She is mum to twins Marcus and Daisy and, in her spare time, enjoys socialising with family or curled up in a quiet corner with a good book.