In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we went one-on-one with Jeanne Cashman, marketing manager for Walmart and Sam’s Club at the Hershey Company. Hershey’s is sponsoring the first-ever Easter egg hunt benefiting the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter. Cashman shares with us Hershey’s involvement with the children’s shelter and gives us a peak into her own life. To learn more about the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter or about the Easter egg hunt please visit www.nwacs.org.
What made Hershey’s decide to support this benefit for the NWA Children’s Shelter?
After touring the NWA Children’s Shelter in December 2010, I was deeply moved by the work they do every day. Our Hershey team here in Bentonville agreed to make the shelter a top priority to support in 2011. I had the personal experience of witnessing the shelter’s caring for a newborn baby boy and how this support will make a tremendous positive impact. Although I had watched a video presentation about the shelter, there is nothing like actually experiencing the shelter’s reach by being there to see it affect the lives of families on a day-to-day basis. The experience touched my heart and reminded me of the day my husband and I adopted our daughter.
Is Hershey’s involved in eradicating child abuse on a national level, or is this something that you’ve taken on just in NWA?
The Hershey Company has a long history of making a difference in children’s lives. At the core of this legacy are many national and local programs that promote the well-being of children. When Milton Hershey and his wife discovered they couldn’t have children, they created the Hershey Industrial School for orphan boys. In 1918, Mr. Hershey transferred the bulk of his wealth, including his ownership in the Hershey Company, to the Hershey Trust to fund the operation of the School. Today, Milton Hershey School in Hershey, PA, is a cost-free, private home and school for boys and girls from families of low income and social need. It houses and educates nearly 2,000 children from more than 30 states. The school stands as a legacy of Mr. Hershey’s generosity and commitment to helping kids in need.
What other nonprofits does the company support locally, if any?
Locally we support American Heart Association, The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Boys and Girls Club and Cancer Challenge. From a company perspective, we support the United Way, Children’s Miracle Network, and Dress for Success. The Hershey Company also supports a range of nonprofit organizations by enabling our employees to contribute their time and money to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Big Brother Big Sisters. These programs are consistent with the company’s focus on supporting kids at risk, in communities where we have business operations and where our employees live and work.
Have you been to the new Children’s shelter?
I have visited the existing shelter and have seen the plans for the new shelter and cannot wait to visit on April 28th (Grand Opening Day).
What are your thoughts about the shelter?
The children of NWA are so deserving of this new home for kids who have been abandoned, neglected, or abused. It is wonderful that the Shelter will be able to help up to 48 children — a 50 percent increase over the current limit of 32 children. The new shelter also provides room to expand in the coming years.
What is the best part about your job?
Hershey Park! Seriously though, I do love chocolate, travelling, helping kids in need, the people I work with, and advertising and marketing – so my job at The Hershey Company is the perfect job for me. Most importantly, the people at Hershey are absolutely top notch and are the best part of my job. Not to mention the fact that part of every piece of Hershey’s candy we sell helps support children in need through the Milton Hershey School.
What nonprofit organizations are you involved with?
Milton Hershey School Project Fellowship, Fengxin Orphanage, AHA, CFF, Dress for Success, Young Life.
Any personal ties to a nonprofit organization? Why?
The United Way changed my life as a child, which is why I am committed to making a difference in children’s lives. The United Way’s programs have given me support and I want to be able to participate in giving others the same advantages and experience their joys.
What’s your favorite social media tool and why?
I try a variety of social media tools for my job to stay on top of emerging new media but I use Facebook the most to stay in touch with old friends.
What’s the best business advice anyone has ever told you?
Love what you do. Find what you are most passionate about in life and tailor your career to include that true love. Following that philosophy allows me to do my job better than I did it yesterday.
What is your definition of success?
In the words of Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I realize I cannot save the world but I can make a difference in my community with my time, referrals, resources, and donations. For me, it truly started when I stood in my daughter’s orphanage, looked with love in her eyes and we met for the first time. Success is working to change one life at a time.