EVP at Sage
Overseeing the Sage Foundation
About Debbie Wall
Debbie Wall leads the global programme of corporate philanthropy including diversity and inclusion delivered by Sage. Sage Foundation’s focus is ensuring young people, women and military veterans are work ready, have access to high quality education and are aware of the opportunities surrounding entrepreneurialism.
Debbie especially enjoys the opportunity Sage Foundation has to incubate pilot programmes, with a view to solving social issues including preparing young people for work in AI (www.joinfuturemakers.com), giving women the chance to return to the work force via the Sage Pathways programme and providing military veterans the tools needed to become successful entrepreneurs via the Military Peter Jones Tycoon Programme.
Debbie Wall joins Alberto Lidji to discuss corporate philanthropy, supporting local communities across 23 countries and launching a corporate foundation from scratch.
Debbie sheds light on how Sage – a business solutions company and accounting software developer – launched the Sage Foundation five years ago. She was instrumental in launching the foundation which, today, entices more than 13,000 Sage colleagues to volunteer their time (last year, they volunteered an aggregate of 31,000 days), works with 300 charities at any given time, and supports local communities through grants, resources and innovative initiatives.
Debbie notes that philanthropy and volunteering are a great way to create happiness and her passion is unmistakable. We hear how the Sage Foundation focuses on young people, women and military veterans and engages around work-readiness, education and entrepreneurialism.
Each Sage colleague is granted 5 days per year to volunteer for a charitable cause close to their heart. This can take many forms and today, with the pandemic and COVID-19 impacting the world, they’re doing a great deal of remote volunteering – such as online mentoring, helping children to read or even working with wildlife charities by reviewing live cams and assessing animals’ migration routes.
Moreover, at the Sage Foundation they’re helping charities better manage their finances in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic – for instance, by helping charities be more effective with their cash-flow and by facilitating knowledge-sharing between organisations.
They’ve also launched the FutureMakers initiative, which is aimed at teaching young people aged between 11 and 18 about artificial intelligence (AI) and considering the likely impact AI could have on their future careers. In addition to volunteering and grants, the Sage Foundation also helps with resource by discounting their cloud-based software and supporting charities in their local markets.
Debbie shares her experience of what it was like to launch the Sage Foundation from scratch, how she advocated for this philanthropic initiative to sit at the very top of the Sage corporate structure and also gives insight into the work required to introduce the notion of a foundation and volunteering to the firm’s 13,000-strong workforce and, ultimately, ensuring everyone is strongly engaged with philanthropy.
Debbie’s key takeaway for listeners: “Action speaks louder than words. Get on and do it!”
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