Chamber beefs up board of BCLC with Microsoft bigwig

Increased interest in corporate social responsibility has prompted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's to significantly expand the board of its Business Civic Leadership Center. Akhtar Badshah, Microsoft Corporation’s senior director of global community affairs will serve as chairman of the board for the 2010-2011 and will be joined by nine other executives from a range of companies including Intel, Best Buy and Chevron.

The BCLC is the division of the Chamber that focuses on helping companies positively impact their local communities and the environment. Spokeswoman Katie Loovis said the center has been around for a decade but has grown recently, doubling in size to eight full-time employees over the past two years.

“A lot of companies are getting more and more into this space,” Loovis said. “I think there’s a real trend here.”

The BCLC focuses on three main areas: global economic development, domestic or community economic development and disaster response. Among its other efforts the center is involved in long-term response to the disasters in Haiti and Chile as well as the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Loovis said Badshah has been heading up the center’s global development program for the last year in addition to his duties at Microsoft. That makes him a natural leader for the board, which charts the center’s strategic vision and advises employees on what they should be focusing on.

“Today there is both a great opportunity and a great need for businesses to partner with government and community organizations to address social and economic issues,” said Badshah. “BCLC plays a very important role in helping corporations to think about how they can use their resources to make a positive impact in a responsible manner.“

The other nine new members of the board are listed below:

  • Gary Fisher, General Manager, Corporate Public Policy, Chevron Corporation
  • Rose Jackson Flenorl, Manager of Social Responsibility, FedEx
  • Michael Jacobson, Director, Corporate Responsibility Office, Intel
  • Rick Martella, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, ARAMARK
  • Shannon Meyer, President & CEO, Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce
  • Bo Miller, Director for Corporate Citizenship, The Dow Chemical Company
  • Paula Prahl, Vice President of Industry and Public Affairs, Best Buy Company, Inc.
  • Eileen Sweeney, Director of Corporate and Foundation Philanthropic Relations, Motorola Foundation
  • Rhonda Mims, Senior Vice President, Office of Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs, ING North America Insurance Corporation