Laura Gallagher, AIG

Laura Gallagher

Making a Better World

Editors’ Note

Laura Gallagher joined AIG in 2009, where she has also served as Director of Corporate Philanthropy, Community Engagement Manager, and Learning & Development Project Manager. In 2018, she accepted the Ignite Impact Award from the Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals. She earned an M.A. in educational media from New York University and a B.A. in inclusive education and psychology from Syracuse University.

Company Brief

American International Group, Inc. (aig.com) is a leading global insurance organization. Building on 100 years of experience, today AIG member companies provide a wide range of property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement products, and other financial services to customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. These diverse offerings include products and services that help businesses and individuals protect their assets, manage risks and provide for retirement security.

Will you discuss AIG’s focus on purpose and its commitment to corporate citizenship?

I have been with the company for nine years, and we are celebrating our Centennial this year, so this is an exciting time to be here. Having had an opportunity to look at the history of the company, it’s clear that citizenship is infused into AIG’s culture. I feel very lucky to be part of an organization where this has always been part of who we are, as reflected in how willing we are to use our deep expertise for business benefit in ways that also help society as a whole.

Every day, our colleagues around the globe put purpose into action by volunteering to help others, by participating in their local Employee Resource Groups, which are groups of employees who come together based on a shared interest in a specific dimension of diversity, and by otherwise working toward the greater good.

With so many areas of need, is it important to focus on specific areas where you can make the most impact and do those areas need to align with AIG’s business?

As much as possible, we align our philanthropic efforts with our business, because that is where our core competencies are and, as a result, where we can really contribute to making a better world.

Through this approach, our programs and partnerships result in meaningful employee engagement opportunities that ultimately better our business, brand and the communities where we work, live and serve our customers.

How important are partnerships in driving impact?

Throughout the history of AIG, partnerships have been our priority. We partner with our clients, our brokers and with nonprofit organizations that have the expertise to make change in society for good.

Through both our monetary support of nonprofit organizations and our employee volunteerism, we work with leading experts who guide us to where the need is the greatest and where we can make the most impact. We are extremely proud to support nonprofit partners on the local and global level, and to customize those partnerships to best suit the needs of local AIG offices and surrounding communities.

AIG’s leadership supports and communicates the importance of our Corporate Citizenship programs and partnerships, and they can be counted upon to personally participate.

Our Volunteer Time Off and Matching Grants Programs are excellent ways for our employees to support our partnerships. We offer two days off per year for employees to volunteer with any qualifying nonprofit organization or school, and AIG’s Global Volunteer Manager also develops phenomenal programming for employees to volunteer with their colleagues.

In addition to volunteer time off, we have a generous Matching Grants Program that matches employee donations to qualifying nonprofit partners of their choice two-to-one, up to $10,000 for each employee per calendar year.

How important are metrics when it comes to AIG’s citizenship efforts, and is it challenging to put metrics in place in this kind of work?

Metrics are very important. While it does take more effort up front, integrating metrics into Citizenship programs guarantees that all stakeholders know what the goals are right away – so that there are no surprises midway through a program or partnership.

The thoughtful metrics we put in place are developed in collaboration with our nonprofit partners because we want to make sure that we’re supporting their goals as well.

Those metrics help track the impact of our programs. They are essential for telling our story to our clients, investors, current and future employees, and the communities we serve.

Is it well understood today that a company’s philanthropic and community efforts can also be good for its business results?

I believe it is. When I speak with my peers at other companies, this is a focus for them as well.

At AIG, we use our business expertise to support nonprofit partners. For instance, we have an excellent legal pro bono program. Our legal team is wholeheartedly engaged in using their expertise to help nonprofit organizations. We’ve expanded this concept and now the corporate communications team advises nonprofits that need marketing and communications assistance. As a result, opportunities have been made available for employees to build their own skill sets – all while helping others and positively representing AIG’s brand.

We see many of our leaders encouraging people to use their expertise to support nonprofit partners as well, so it’s naturally aligned with our business.

We also provide a wide variety of philanthropic opportunities that also support business results.

With AIG’s global footprint, how critical is communication internally in engaging employees and informing them about these CSR efforts?

Communicating about AIG’s Citizenship efforts is one of the most important things we do. We have taken the time to better communicate this information internally from the day people start at AIG and throughout their careers here. We want to communicate about opportunities to get involved and recognize participation, in addition to communicating externally about the collective impact our employees have made.

Our Citizenship team has created a number of toolkits and communications that can be utilized around the world, and they are flexible enough to meet local needs according to customs and cultures.

As we attract new talent, we have a great story to tell about the culture of the company and that Citizenship is a fundamental part of our DNA.

AIG is a company people want to work for because, in addition to being an exceptional insurer, we also have an excellent corporate culture in which employees can take great pride.