CSR Interview of Srinivas Satya, Country President, Applied Materials India

India CSR Network talked to Srinivas Satya, Country President, Applied Materials on Corporate Social Responsibility. He says, “Corporate Social Responsibility at Applied Materials is based on our core value of Responsibility and Integrity and our commitment to making a positive social contribution in areas where our employees work and live.” Excerpts of an interview:

What is the significance of giving back to the society for Applied Materials?

At Applied Materials we are committed to improving the lives in the communities where we operate. We invest in programs that address basic human needs – including access to nutritious food, clean water, affordable housing – education, the arts, and the environment. Our contributions are enhanced by employee involvement, whether it is participating in company-sponsored volunteer activities or donating to nonprofits.

How do you try to include this aspect in the kind of initiatives that the company undertakes?

Corporate Social Responsibility at Applied Materials is based on our core value of Responsibility and Integrity and our commitment to making a positive social contribution in areas where our employees work and live. Through charitable grantmaking, we focus on four key areas – education, basic needs, arts & the environment. In addition, employees take up causes they are passionate about and/or participate in the initiatives driven by the company. In India, these activities include a Food Drive each November/December to raise funds for the SOS Children’s Village. We also manage a book drive and a regularly-scheduled blood donation drive, in which employees participate.

What are the activities that you have undertaken this year and what is the kind of employee involvement observed?

In India, we had a slew of fundraising activities this year – including potluck meals, an art auction and street food sales – to benefit our Food Drive – as well as book & blood donation drive. We also, for the first time, conducted a very successful stem cell donation drive. Though our partnership with United Way of Bengaluru, we have adopted 18 villages where we support student scholarships; basic education for children in the villages; women empowerment through micro finance, tailoring and tamarind seeding; and assistance with setting up rain water harvesting in 105 homes.

Who is the beneficiary for the initiative undertaken this year? How do you plan to forward the proceeds to the beneficiary?

SOS Children’s Village is the beneficiary for the Food Drive this year.  We invite the children and SOS management to receive a cheque from us during our All Hands Meeting attended by Applied executives and employees.

Does the program differentiate your brand from other companies? How are your initiatives different?

As a 50-year old company based in the U.S., Applied has been dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility for a very long time.  The commitment is incorporated into our values and is demonstrated through charitable grantmaking, and employee volunteerism and giving.  We believe that as a leader in business we have an obligation to be a leader in the community.

Does the program engage and inspire employees? If yes what is their involvement?

Our community investments and volunteer activities are rooted in Applied’s core value of making a positive contribution not only to our industry but to the communities where our employees work and live. Most of our employee engagement opportunities are in conjunction with funding to nonprofit organizations. We do at least one employee engagement activity a quarter at a large scale in India, and smaller activities through the year. Environment related activities, like the lake clean ups or building rain water trenches in the villages, see a lot of participation. Our Food Drive is entirely conceptualized and driven by our employees. The passion and enthusiasm you will see in our offices during the Food Drive really shows the love our employees have in improving the lives of these children.

Besides the calendared activities how else do you create tangible CSR opportunities for your employees to get involved throughout the year?

Employees are encouraged to take the initiative to become involved in CSR opportunities of personal interest to them.  For example, employees in our ‘toast masters club’ visit children (in their X, XI & XII grades) from our model village program in Bangarpet once a month, and teach them communication skills, interview skills among others.

How are you evolving and adapting the program on a continuous basis?  Since the initiative began 4- 5 years back what is the kind of transition that you have notice over these years.

We started the Food Drive in 2013 with a healthy competition between offices and floors. Since then, the Food Drive has grown into a passionate pursuit to help children and, as a result, employees come up with the most creative ideas to raise funds. This year, other than potluck meals, we had games, sporting events – like golf, TT and badminton – painting, and other competitions. The enthusiasm and creativity to outperform the competing teams have been great to witness.

How do you keep a track, measure and report the impact of the initiative?

Once we transfer the Food Drive funds to SOS Village, they have a methodology by which they track, measure and report out to us. We also from time to time visit the village and see for ourselves that the funds are utilized for the benefit of the children in the best way possible.

About Srinivas Satya:

Srinivas Satya is president and managing director of Applied Materials India Pvt. and an appointed vice president for Applied Materials, Inc. Srinivas leads an organization of more than 3000 employees with responsibility for revenue, strategy, execution and operations of the second largest organization in the company. He is also responsible for market development and customers in the region.

As head of Applied Materials India, Srinivas manages the performance, strategy and development of the company in the region, overseeing business and advocacy, operational and engineering activities to spur innovation and revenue growth. With India being one of the company’s major talent locations, he is focused on increasing technology and product development capabilities and leveraging regional competencies in engineering and IT to enable faster development. He also works closely with ecosystem partners and customers to achieve leadership in semiconductor, display and energy and environmental industries.

Srinivas has been with Applied for over 20 years and has held a variety of technical and customer-facing positions of increasing responsibility in various business units in semiconductor and energy business segments, as well as roles in Finance and Corporate Business Development, where he drove a number of successful acquisitions and external investments.

Srinivas is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and holds an MBA degree from the University of Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He received his bachelor of technology degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India, and his master of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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