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June Sugiyama

June Sugiyama


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TRENDSETTERS: Vodafone's June Sugiyama Discusses Empowering Women and Girls through Technology

The Internationalist Trendsetters is written by Deborah Malone, founder of The Internationalist.

June Sugiyama has served as the Director of the Vodafone Americas Foundation for over 20 years. During that time, she has seen an extraordinary evolution of initiatives, as well as changes in consumer and corporate attitudes toward ventures that advance the use of technology for social good.  As International Women's Day approaches on Monday, she talks about why the Vodafone Americas Foundation now focuses entirely on empowering women and girls through technology.  

Through its legacy of experience with technology for social impact, the foundation has found its work enriches lives beyond the single woman and girl. Supporting technology that opens opportunities for women can create long-term social and economic benefits in every sector—especially when by connecting with an ecosystem of partners. For example, women and girls spend 90% of their earned income on their families. By giving women and girls the opportunity to find financial independence or build their own career, the Vodafone Americas Foundation can also directly affect their family members, as well as elevate women's voices and create positive and sustainable change within their communities around the world.

To hear more from June Sugiyama, tune in to our Trendsetters podcast as she talks about how "giving back" is being driving by customer expectations, the ideals of a younger generation, corporate directives, and a growing recognition that many needs throughout the world cannot always be served by governments.. CLICK HERE.

In our conversation, we discuss the following:

  • The origins of Vodafone's network of 26 individual, locally driven foundations.
  • How the notion of "corporate philanthropy" has changed over the years to create a stronger connection between the for-profit and non-profit worlds.
  • How Vodafone's projects help women and girls throughout the world, including via a partnership with MIT Solve. 
  • Ways in which CSR dovetails with new definitions of business in our era of Stakeholder Capitalism.
  • How the Foundation supports Vodafone employee interests. 
  • The greatest concerns and satisfactions of a leader in corporate social responsibility and social impact.
  • What's next for the Vodafone Americas Foundation?

June Sugiyama is responsible for leading and providing strategic direction for Vodafone's corporate foundation in the United States. As part of her role, she supports projects that advance the use of technology for social good by assessing community and nonprofit needs. She also created the Foundation's Wireless Innovation Project, a competition designed to seek the best wireless technology solutions to address critical global issues. The competition has identified cutting-edge innovations in digital health monitoring, diagnosis, data collection, financial literacy, and economic development. 

In addition, she helps support the incubation of social innovation start-ups; stimulate and nurture technology funding by developing funder and nonprofit education programs; and searches for innovative ways to harness mobile data for nonprofits to serve the community. June Sugiyama has also launched several programs and a new platform for employee engagement to better connect and serve employees and their communities.