The Power of Active Citizenship
It all started in the 1920s with a runaway horse and a carriage accident. Nearly 100 years later, Selective Insurance Group, Inc. still embodies the values of its founder, D.L.B. Smith, who said: “… I will not let this Company lose the human touch, which has been largely responsible for its success.”
“This [sentiment] naturally extends to our care for employees and the efforts we take in supporting our neighbors in the community,” Cyndi Bennett, executive vice president, chief human resources officer at Selective, said.
Being supportive of its neighbors translates into a robust philanthropy program. Over the past decade, Selective Insurance Group Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Branchville, New Jersey-headquartered company, donated more than $4.6 million to charitable organizations across the country. Since 1997, Selective Insurance Group Foundation has provided more than $460,000 in funding oncology initiatives at Carol G. Simon Cancer Center to their most recent gifts at Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute and Goryeb Children’s Hospital, a part of the Growing Forward Campaign.
Project Independence (a relief fund for Morristown Medical Center patients who are often unable to work due to illness) is another priority for them.
Selective’s management team promotes civic responsibility by providing compensable volunteer days to encourage employees to be active citizens. During the pandemic, one employee with medical training treated COVID-19 patients in a homeless shelter; another made 3-D-printed face masks and delivered them to front-line caregivers.
Here’s a look at Bennett’s day:
7:00am: The Vernon, New Jersey-resident catches up on the headlines with Bloomberg: Business News in the shower. “I’ve had speakers installed all over my house,” she said. “On the weekends, I switch over to ’60s and ’70s music.”
8:00am to Noon: Bennett meets with team members to support the organization’s talent strategy, including diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Employee Resource Groups, such as Working Caregiver, PRIDE Alliance and Black Employee Resource Group, help strengthen work-life balance and increase job satisfaction.
Noon to 1:00pm: “Once a week, I buy lunch for an employee,” she said. “I enjoy sitting with them and hearing their personal stories.”
1:00 to 5:00pm: Bennett leads meetings on strengthening employee development efforts. “As a Hispanic female, I am grateful for mentors who have helped me to succeed,” she said. “Selective is in the process of helping underrepresented employees rise to first-level management positions. I believe that everyone – no matter what their level or background – has tremendous potential.”
5:00 to 8:00pm: A benefit for this busy executive and grandmother of five is that her retired husband, Jack, loves to cook. “I get home around 8:00pm for dinner,” she said. “We look forward to this time of day to catch up and unwind.”