Schneider Electrics Chris Leong champions social equality

Schneider Electric's Chris Leong champions social equality

 February 16, 2022

Schneider Electric is committed to building a culture of giving, encouragement, and support, with fighting for social equality part of its shared purpose.

Here, Chris Leong, Schneider Electric’s Chief Marketing Officer, shares her career motivations and how Schneider Electric sets out to achieve social equality.

A diverse career journey

Chris Leong still vividly remembers growing up in the backwaters of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with no electricity or running water.

"My after-school routine consisted of queuing at the only drinking water supply pipe in our village, where I nudged up against neighbors to collect water in containers for my family’s cooking and drinking needs. I then strapped these to the back of my bicycle and peddled my way back home. And for washing and cleaning, I got water from the well," explains Chris.

"Right before sunset, I continued my routine by lighting up a good old kerosene lamp to bring light to the house for my family, for dinner time and doing homework! Five decades later, call it fate, I’ve gone from no access to electricity as a child to being the CMO of the world’s leading energy management company.

"I guess you could argue it got pretty personal when it comes to fighting for equality – from access to energy, education, healthcare, and economic progress, and regardless of gender, nationality, or whether you come from emerging or developed markets," comments Chris.

According to the United Nations, COVID-19 is likely to reverse progress made in reducing income inequality since the financial crisis in 2008 and two billion people still do not have access to reliable energy. 

Schneider Electric fights the good fight 

Schneider Electric Social Equity

Fighting the good fight, especially for equality, is part of the shared purpose with Schneider Electric. "We empower all to make the most of our energy and resources because we believe access to energy and digital is a basic human right. That is what gets us going in the morning and motivates us to do our best work," comments Chris.

This is the exact philosophy behind the Schneider Electric Foundation – to support local communities and individuals but also inspire the company's employees to make a difference by passionately giving back their time, energy, and skills.

The Schneider Foundation has carried out 100 initiatives in almost 40 countries, collaborated with 85 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and helped train 300,000 people in energy management. It is on track to deliver its commitment of ensuring access to clean, safe and reliable energy to 50 million people by 2050. Putting sustainability at the heart of the business can increase employee productivity by up to 13 per cent and reduce a company’s turnover rate by 50 per cent.

Fostering a culture of caring and giving 

"Our volunteering program supported by the Schneider Foundation aims to foster a culture of giving, encouragement, and support for causes that are close to our employees’ hearts. Our year-round commitment to give back to communities and causes, saw 8,000 employees around the world in 52 countries get together last year on Giving Tuesday, a worldwide initiative that encourages giving in all its forms," Chris explains.

Employees participated in volunteering activities of their choice, from collecting essentials for the homeless, helping to build sustainable housing, and training young people in underserved communities, while honoring the UN International Volunteer Day.

"It was inspiring to see the grassroots impact these community-based projects can have. And when we consider the positive impact they make, the results are even more impressive. So far, our employees have volunteered over 15,000 days, with the ambition to reach 50,000 by 2025. All driven by a shared purpose," comments Chris.

Sustainability commitments

Schneider Electric is proud of its many powerful examples from around the world. In Australia, the company's teams volunteered and donated laptops to Thornlie CoderDojo, which leads free, community-based programming clubs for young people. When everyone makes a sustainability commitment and brings it to life in all personal and business decisions, it goes a long way to ensure progress and sustainability for future generations.

"Our teams in Vietnam collected winter clothing and toiletries for the Blue Dragon Foundation, offering practical solutions to the daily problems that children and families face in poverty. Our Cameroon teams launched a four-month training program, providing learning sessions to young trainees on electrical topics," Chris adds.

Pragmatic approach to support

Schneider Electric Schneider Foundation

Chris acknowledges that there are many ways to support causes – and you can always take a pragmatic, step-by-step approach.

"Mid-through 2021, together with my team and the Schneider Foundation, we launched the Global Marketing Hearts initiative which enables our 1,500-strong marketing team to volunteer their expertise (from campaign development to digital marketing, web, PR and social media) to support NGOs," explains Chris. The volunteers have signed up to help good causes in North America, Middle East and Africa, South-East Asia and Europe, where they continue to make a difference.

"We often see sustainability through the lens of our daily lives – from reducing our air travel, investing in electric cars or ensuring that our home optimizes the energy used. When each of us makes a sustainability commitment and brings it to life in all our personal and business decisions, it goes a long way to ensure progress and sustainability for future generations," says Chris.

"As the world becomes more digital and borderless, our one and only Planet Earth is just a bigger village. And it truly takes a village to achieve greater equality," Chris concludes.


Are you inspired to fight the good fight with Schneider Electric?

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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