‘Be Not Afraid’ to Make a Difference

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May 15, 2018 By: JT Pinther Category: SHH News

Even spending a moment checking into the Code42 headquarters in Downtown Minneapolis, you can tell this information security company is on the front end of technology by having a slick automated check-in system, almost like you’ve stepped briefly into a spaceship or the future. Talking to a few employees at Code42, however, is what truly shows they are thinking about the future and their impact within it.

“We may not be curing cancer at Code42,” Vice President of Corporate Marketing Gerri Dyrek said, “but we’re protecting companies that are.”

But it’s not the data security software we spent time with Code42 to learn more about; it’s their company core values, which serve as much more than catchy mottos.

Code42 is cultivating a culture of giving back. Even Code42’s annual performance reviews take into account their core value of ‘doing it right,’ in other words, how they do their work, not just that they get their work done. How employees give back and work with integrity is a large part of how they are assessed.

Part of Code42’s culture includes a program called Code42 Cares, and a new Foundation is in the works. “It’s who we are, it’s what we do,” said Tom O’Brien, Business Process Manager and Chair of Code42 Cares. He told us that all full-time employees get two days of paid volunteer time off to use during the year, and Code42 Cares is a team that encourages employees to use that time. “The team is built to help facilitate, organize and provide communication, but not to tell people where or why they should give back.”

Tom has been at Code42 for just shy of two years, and he said even when Code42 Cares was just starting, it was instrumental in his decision to work there. “That was one of those things that was intriguing—this company makes a point to give back, and it’s not just for pomp and circumstance—we really want to make the world a better place.” The Cares program has grown even more visible in his time at Code42.

Justine Launert, Director of People, said the company did a survey to see what causes mattered most to employees, and the top three were hunger equity, tech equity and environment. And it shows when you look at the map of all the organizations Code42 employees volunteered with in 2017. Because employees can choose whatever causes are meaningful to them, the interests range widely from tiny nonprofits to national initiatives. “There’s a group of people who went and cleaned up a hiking trail in the mountains,” Justine said. “We have an employee that is donating time to build prosthetic hands.”

code42 prosthetic hand

With the culture of autonomous but supported volunteering, the 475 Code42 employees in Minneapolis have brought forward some creative ways to give back to their community, including a 24-hour gaming marathon that was covered on two local news channels, raising money and awareness for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

code42 gaming event

With all the options Code42 employees have for giving back, we are honored that Second Harvest Heartland is among them.

Last year, Code42 donated 68% more volunteer hours to Second Harvest Heartland than in 2016. Not only that, but one volunteer group that visited us broke our record for most pounds packed (more than 53,000 pounds!) for their group size.

What advice does Code42 have for companies looking to start a program like Code42 Cares?

Be not afraid.

“It can be overwhelming,” Tom said. “There are so many opportunities to give back, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Our goal is to leave the world a better place. Don’t be afraid to start. You can’t leave the world a better place in one swing.”

Justine added that working with Second Harvest Heartland has made an overwhelming process even just a little easier. “The beauty of the volunteer experience Second Harvest Heartland provides for us is that we can sign up so easily,” Justine said. “We’ve had employees going to Second Harvest Heartland for years, so we heard about the cause through them. You’ve been a convenient and meaningful partner!”


Thank you so much to Code42 for all you do to make a difference, both at Second Harvest Heartland and the dozens of other causes your employees care about.

Want to find a fun and meaningful way to get your company involved with Second Harvest Heartland? We can help. Visit our employee engagement opportunities page for more information, or contact Julie Greene, Corporate Engagement Specialist, at jgreene@2harvest.org or 651.403.6063.


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