Mike Pepperman, Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Relations, LG Electronics, leads corporate social responsibility and community relations at LG Electronics USA. In this role, Mike is responsible for LG’s social impact platforms, cause marketing programs, community relations partnerships and employee engagement efforts.
What will you be talking about at SB’18 Vancouver?
Mike Pepperman: We’re launching a new initiative, “Life’s Good – Experience Happiness”. It’s focused on bringing sustainable happiness skills to youth across the US. We wanted some focus and clarity; we’ve done a lot of philanthropy, and we wanted to bring some strategy to it, so we talked to many LG consumers, employees, and senior leadership to identify what LG really means to each of them, and it kept coming back to our “life’s good” tag line, about trust, fun, and being innovative. As we dove into the idea of happiness, we discovered there’s a science of social-emotional well-being, over 70 years of research on this.
What is the most exciting thing you’re working on?
MP: It’s this platform. When I got the opportunity to work on it, I couldn’t say no, I was really drawn to it… Two out of three teenagers in the US today are stressed, anxious, and many of them don’t have skill set to handle it. So we worked with UC Berkeley’s Greater Good science center to pull together six “sustainable happiness skills”. Then we looked for partners delivering these skills to kids in US. We found, and are now funding, three nonprofits that do this: Inner Explorer, Project Happiness, and Discovery Education. We’re helping these organizations bring these skills to kids directly… During the Wednesday lunch at Sustainable Brands, we’re hosting a workshop where we’ll introduce the platform, and introduce the six sustainable happiness skills, and we’ll have exercises where attendees will be able to practice these skills in person, with experts from Berkeley’s Greater Good science center and Inner Explorer.
What was your Personal Path to Sustainability?
MP: I have been a marketer for most of my career. In the course of this, I’ve worked to include “cause-marketing” or philanthropy in my programs. I spent ten years as volunteer firefighter, which gave me a ton of purpose and connection to community.
If you could travel back in time what would you tell your 20-year-old self?
MP: Based off of my most recent career trajectory, I’d tell myself to not to stress over it, but look for opportunities to build more purpose into the work I do. … I had the opportunity to be more influential in bringing purpose to marketing, but I didn’t necessarily have my eyes open to see that opportunity was there.
What has been your proudest moment in Sustainability?
MP: Really, it’s been this launch of the LG Experience Happiness platform. We started from scratch about a year and a half ago, and now that we’ve got it set up and have been working with the three partners now, we’re reaching approximately 300,000 kids to help set them up with these skills.
If you had a magic wand and could completely solve one sustainability problem, what would it be?
MP: I’ll keep it on the theme of the platform. I really see youth stress as a root cause of many problems we have dividing our culture in the US today, such as the opioid epidemic, teen suicide, etc… So if I could wave a wand and solve an issue, it would be to provide every kid in the world the skills to cope with the stresses they face. And to understand that true happiness is this balance of both positive and negative experiences–true sustainable happiness isn’t about being constantly happy, it’s about consistently recognizing that life’s good even though it’s hard sometimes.