After a quick debrief from their Global Ambassador, the ten AppNexians got straight to work: Scrutinizing day-old salads and sandwiches donated from dozens of local grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries; peeling their way through hundred-pound bags of potatoes – all with the goal of preparing enough meals to feed 300 hungry New Yorkers, the first dozen of whom were already beginning to form a line outside the Bowery Mission.
It wasn’t the kind of thing you’d normally see during a regular business day at AppNexus: SVPs and interns, alike, gathered together in the small kitchen of a New York nonprofit that first got its start in 1879 (the same year Thomas Edison patented his first light bulb), providing a vital service for those most in need.
Then again, AppNexus Impact Week isn’t meant to be business as usual. Over the course of five days, hundreds of AppNexians – located in 15 offices spanning five different continents – devoted one of their workdays to making life better for their local community. Whether that means serving food for the needy in New York, building Habitat for Humanity housing in Boulder, Colorado, cleaning the River Thames in London, caring for and educating disadvantaged children in São Paulo or ladling out bowls of soup in Singapore – it’s all part of the same, overall effort: To help community partners thrive, to raise awareness and engagement around important social issues in cities and towns where AppNexus offices are located and to make a strong case for lasting social change, where it’s needed.
Which brings us back, full circle to New York – and to our final story.
For the last day of AppNexus’ New York Impact Week, more than one hundred middle-school kids made their way over from East Harlem to AppNexus’ Global Headquarters at West 23rd Street. After settling into groups of ten in the 4th Floor Razzle Space, each group was presented with the same challenge: To imagine – if only for a moment – that they were senior executives at a famous sportswear company, and needed to come up with a brand-new basketball sneaker.
Not only was each team responsible for designing its own version of the sneaker, it was also responsible for finding the right audience to market the sneaker to, as well as for choosing an ideal celebrity to spearhead the marketing campaign. Finally, it was up to each team to pitch its marketing campaign to the collective audience gathered in the Razzle Dazzle space. The members of the winning team would each receive a gift certificate to Amazon.
It was all part of an AppNexus-sponsored partnership with SuitUp, a New York nonprofit that teaches children from disadvantaged income brackets about the possibility of pursuing a meaningful career in business. By opening their eyes to how business gets conducted in a real corporate setting, SuitUp strives to make kids aware of the wealth of potential opportunities that lie in store for them, only 50-some blocks away from the neighborhood they’ve grown up in.
Despite it being the first company-wide initiative of its kind, AppNexus Impact Week was a resounding success from coast to coast – and continent to continent. In the words of Prena Eloualyd, an AppNexus Sales Account Manager in New York, “It just felt nice stepping out of the office for a whole day, meeting people face to face that I’d never meet otherwise, and then helping them out… Maybe I’ve found a new calling.”
Given AppNexus’ history of sponsoring local community initiatives, the time seemed right to combine those efforts into a company-wide movement. Even as our company continues to grow in global presence, our commitment to enriching the world through social change continues to develop apace.