Verizon’s Shared Success: Creating Long-Term Business and
On September 24, 2012, Rose Stuckey Kirk came to the University of Maryland’s
Robert H. Smith School of Business to speak about the role of business in creating
long-term sustainable growth. The event was sponsored by the Smith School’s Center
for Social Value Creation and attracted a diverse audience of students (undergraduate,
MBA, PhD), faculty and administrators.
Kirk, a former journalist, has been in the telecommunications industry for about
30 years and currently leads Verizon's philanthropic strategy as president of the
Verizon Foundation – the fifteenth largest corporate foundation in the U.S. She
has held numerous leadership positions including vice president of sales operations
for Verizon Wireless, vice president of corporate employee communications and vice
president of partner sales and customer service for Verizon’s small to medium business
She talked about Verizon’s strategy of “shared success,” her views on the current
attitudes of citizens toward business and the financial crisis, and how this up-and-coming
generation is in a position to make a big impact on the future of business.
"We are delighted to welcome Rose to the Smith School,” said Melissa Carrier,
assistant dean of global programs and social value creation. "Creating long-term
value for business and society is one of the critical components of business leadership
in the 21st century. And students today are increasingly interested in finding work
that aligns with their personal values.” Carrier continued, “The Robert H. Smith
School of Business is recognized as being at the forefront of social and environmental
innovation, and find it to be extremely beneficial to connect students and faculty
with companies like Verizon who are taking the lead in this space."
During her visit, Kirk described how Verizon views societal challenges as opportunities
for business innovation. Verizon’s shared success strategy is about using the company’s
broadband and wireless technology to develop solutions that improve the quality
of health care and energy efficiency, creating value for shareholders and for society.
As part of the interactive discussion, Kirk asked the audience, “How is it that
on the one hand, American business is touted as the engine for future economic growth,
while at the same time it is condemned as the villain who created the mess? Numerous
polls tell us that Americans believe both things at the same time. What do our fellow
People want jobs and a better life for their children and “for the first time
in decades, they do not think that is possible,” said Kirk. “And they want to be
treated fairly — as employees, as investors and as consumers.”
She stressed the need for the next generation of business leaders to focus on
long-term, shared value creation. “It was the short-term risk-taking, and extravagant
profit-taking of the few that wiped out the long-term value for the many,” she said.
“This is what broke America’s compact with business.”
Verizon operates high speed, wired and wireless networks that help connect 140
countries around the world. Verizon employs nearly 200,000 people and has invested
more than $90 billion in the past five years. “This is the largest investment by
a company in this country and second only to Exxon in the world,” she explained.
“We believe in long-term value creation. It’s what we do.”
Kirk said that Verizon’s credo is simple: “We are good corporate citizens and
we share our success with the community to make the world in which we work better
than it was yesterday.” Just as Verizon has a commitment to excellence in customer
service, technical and financial performance; it has an integrated, actionable plan
for shared success.
Over the past year, Verizon’s corporate responsibility council adopted this model:
“we will use the power of our technology and our people to focus on solutions and
This focus area has a well-defined plan behind it, a timeframe and a measurable
goal to judge success, she said. “Our job is to integrate both the approach and
the ethic throughout the business. We believe that it is both in our business interest
and our communities’ interests to work toward transformative solutions in health
care and education and energy efficiency,” said Kirk.
“I began this talk by saying that we are facing a once in a generation opportunity
to start anew. I believe that you are that generation.” She ended with some advice
to the students on how they can affect change now, and by doing so, be the leaders
of that new generation:
Kirk took questions from the audience and the event was followed by an “Ice Cream
Social for Innovation” – an event hosted by college campuses across the country
on September 24 to celebrate innovative and entrepreneurial focused programs at
About the Center for Social Value Creation
The Center for Social Value Creation is primarily student focused and delivers
hands-on learning opportunities through Smith’s Social Innovation Fellows program,
consulting projects, programmatic and extracurricular activities, its connections
with industry leaders, and events such as the annual Social Enterprise Symposium.
The center also invests in the creation of new courses and content integration of
existing courses at the graduate and undergraduate level, and funds faculty research
in the areas of corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Launched in
2009, the center’s mission is to create a better world through business principles,
and to prepare Smith students as business leaders able to advance economic prosperity
and social change. For more information, call 301.405.9454, or visit
About the Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader
in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the
University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate,
full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive
education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The
school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning
locations in North America and Asia.
- Alissa Arford, Office of Marketing Communications