Adobe welcomes Michelle Yates, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility

We are delighted to welcome Michelle Crozier Yates to Adobe as the new Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Executive Director of the Adobe Foundation. Michelle spent the last ten years at Warner Bros. Entertainment in Southern California where she was Director, and subsequently Vice President, of Corporate Responsibility. During that time, Michelle developed, implemented and oversaw the company’s corporate responsibility program at what is the world’s largest film and television studio. Michelle has a BA in International Relations from Tufts University, and an MBA in International Business & Corporate Responsibility from the London Business School.

Michelle Yates headshot

Michelle joins us at a special time of the year. This month is Community Action Month, Adobe’s annual community involvement initiative where employees at sites all over the world show how they embody our “Involved” core value. Employees have the opportunity to participate in more than 70 different volunteer initiatives including sorting food at the local food bank, building playhouses for children, or assembling toiletry kits for families in need. We know that just a little bit of our time can have a big impact in local communities. Although volunteering happens year round at Adobe, employees look forward to Community Action Month as a great way for teams across the company to dedicate some time away from work to come together to share the Adobe spirit of generosity and volunteerism. Last year, more than 1,200 Adobe volunteers gave more than 4,000 hours to local communities across the globe. Adobe has a proud tradition of supporting our communities through volunteerism and we’re looking forward to even more employee involvement this year.

Curious about her background and why she decided to make the move from Warner Bros. to Adobe, we interviewed Michelle. Here is Michelle’s story:

Many companies have a Corporate Social Responsibility program, what makes Adobe’s unique?

Adobe’s CSR program is unique due to the commitment from leadership, some standout initiatives such as the Adobe Foundation’s outreach program, Adobe Youth Voices, and a sustainable facilities strategy. But fundamentally the core values of the company are truly embodied in an engaged employee population and responsible corporate citizenship.

Having been at Warner Bros. for 10 years, what intrigued you to join Adobe?

I was approached by recruitment at Adobe and although I wasn’t looking for a new position, once I researched Adobe as a company and their CSR work specifically, I was very impressed with everyone I met with and with the company’s commitment to building their CSR program and profile. It seemed like a great new challenge and opportunity, and I love the culture here.

Looking at the many CSR initiatives that you’ve been involved with throughout your career, which one are you most proud of? Why?

Looking back, I am really proud to have created and implemented the Warner Bros.’ Impact worldwide employee giving program, which combined the giving of time and funds and has become the signature outreach and employee engagement program. Since the launch, employee participation has grown every week and hit 35% in the first year, well surpassing the targets. Millions of dollars have been contributed to community based organizations around the world and thousands of hours volunteered, and employees have really embraced it. Programs like that contribute to overall employee recruitment, retention, engagement and loyalty, in addition to the benefits in the community.

What career advice would you give to someone who’s interested in pursuing a career in the CSR field?

CSR is an inter-disciplinary field, and to lead a CSR team or program, it’s important to be somewhat of a generalist, but one who has done a deep dive in many areas of CSR at some point in your career. So for example, spend some time working with community organizations (from the corporate, nonprofit, or civic side), grappling with challenging supply chain issues such as human rights and resource use, gaining a deep understanding of the many facets of environmental sustainability, building and improving employee engagement programs, practicing strategic philanthropy, formally engaging with shareholders and other stakeholder groups….the list goes on. But learn every area over time.

On the personal front, can you tell us something interesting about yourself that others may not necessarily know about you?

I have been an avid snowboarder for more than 20 years, having converted from skiing after my first ride. I actually broke my arm on that very first day, but kept going back (and breaking a few more bones doing snowboardcross along the way!) because I just find it to be such an exhilarating experience. I’ve become a lot more cautious now that I’m a parent, but I’m the first one on the lift on a nice powder day 🙂

Visit the Community Action Month album on Facebook for photos of our Adobe employees in action! Check back throughout the month for updates.

Also visit the Adobe Corporate Social Responsibility Facebook page to get the latest news on all of our CSR efforts.