Profile - Holiday Tribute

Interview With Mark Ziskind, COO Of CSE

Marks ZiskindThe staff at Top 40 firm Caliendo Savio Enterprises (CSE) (asi/155807) did its best to bring holiday cheer with an email outreach program. The company took gift-giving to a new level by making charitable donations in the names of select customers, suppliers and friends.

“The primary goal of the program was in the spirit of the season to give back to the community and engage others in the decision process,” says Mark Ziskind, COO of CSE. “While we operate charitable donation sites for clients, this is the first time we’ve done this as a holiday initiative.”

The distributor donated to four charities that have significance to its employees. In total, $10,000 was donated to the Ronald McDonald House, the Hunger Task Force Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Humane Society and the Froedert Hospital Cancer Center.

Read on to learn how CSE made the program a success.

Q: How did CSE come up with the idea to donate in people’s names?
A: Giving back to the community is a core value at CSE, and we collaboratively developed this idea among the management team. We wanted to do something this holiday season that was different and would strike an emotional chord.

Q: How has CSE been affected by the charities involved in the program?
A: Our 2014 holiday program was directed toward organizations that are near and dear to our employees’ hearts. For example, take our CEO Tom Savio. His daughter is a nurse at Children’s Hospital working in the Pediatric Cardiology ward. She sees first-hand the benefits – children healing because they’re surrounded by their families. The Ronald McDonald House helps lessen the burden for millions of families each and every year. The Froedert Hospital Cancer Center has treated my wife along with other employee family members.

Q: What logistics were needed to make the program work?
A: The holiday emails that CSE sent were executed through the combined efforts of our teams. The creative department designed the text and graphics of the email that recipients would receive. They also designed the Web page that recipients would be linked to in order to select a charity. The marketing department worked with the sales teams to collect recipient names and emails. The IT team created a Google Site which used a Google Forms feature to allow recipients to select a charity, and have their choice associated with their name and email address.

Q: How did CSE decide what people to reach out to?
A: We really wanted to focus on clients, prospects, supplier partners and other friends.

Q: What’s been the response of people to the donation program?
A: The number of comments we received regarding peoples’ love for animals, that they volunteer at a food bank, or that they know someone whose family stayed at the Ronald McDonald truly reaffirmed the importance of CSE’s commitment to the community. One of the most heartwarming comments was from a fast food client who said: “I know McDonald’s is a competitor of ours, but I still chose the Ronald McDonald House because it is a really good organization that truly helps families during trying times.”

Q: What other ways does CSE support the community throughout the year?
A: At CSE, we feel it’s important to give back to our community. We do this in many ways: by providing our employees the flexibility to coach youth sports and be involved in Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and other groups; participating in and sponsoring charity runs and walks; supporting client fundraising events; holding blood drives and food drives; and through an annual Christmas giving tree where we buy presents and donate money to local needy families.

Q: What are the business benefits of giving to charities?
A: The ongoing benefits are that employees are proud to work for a company that gives back to the community. Plus, supporting charitable work is the right thing to do. We believe everyone – companies and individuals – have an obligation to be involved their communities.