Each November, Cornerstars around the world commemorate the founding of Cornerstone OnDemand with a week of training, looking back, dreaming big, volunteering and, of course, lots of celebrating! Having an expanding and increasingly global team, you can imagine our anniversary celebrations look different each year. But three things remain constant: bowling, Mexican food and giving back to local communities. Naturally, since Cornerstone’s first official meeting was held at a bowling alley in Santa Monica and ended with a celebration at El Cholo Mexican restaurant on November 8, 1999. And giving back has been central to our vision since day one – in fact, we were founded with a mission to educate the world through technology.
How Can I Make a Difference?
This year’s community-focused event shed light on the power each one of us has to make a difference in another’s life, empowering our team of more than 900 employees to seek opportunities to mentor others in areas in which they are passionate. Few speak to the power of the individual better than our keynote, John Prendergast, a well-known champion for human rights in Africa, former Director of African Affairs for the National Security Council, best-selling author and co-founder of the Enough Project, which seeks to end genocide and crimes against humanity.
John has also seen the power of mentorship by serving as a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters for over a decade. During his time with us, John shared ten building blocks for making change in the world, supporting each with incredible, inspirational stories from his experiences as a "Big" in Washington D.C. and trips around the globe working to bring change to areas of genocide. These stories from John’s life provided a great reminder for us all – helping others is worth the risk and commitment.
A Focus on Local Mentorship
After John laid the groundwork, our founder and CEO, Adam Miller, led a panel discussion about mentorship and opportunities to get involved with four nonprofit organizations making a difference in our home base of Los Angeles. Here are their stories:
Cornerstone is actively involved with Spark Los Angeles, and at 51 mentors this semester, we’re the largest corporate sponsor nationwide. Each week, students visit the Cornerstone offices and meet with their mentors to work on their projects, hang out, eat snacks in our kitchen and play foosball/ping pong. The "play" time is just as important as the project time—for many mentees, it’s the first time they have stepped into an office and seen that work can be interesting, challenging and fun. In Los Angeles, students involved with Spark have a 92 percent graduation rate/likelihood to graduate, versus 62 percent nationwide.
Fun fact: The model of bussing students to their mentors’ company started with Cornerstone. After seeing higher engagement and participation rates among mentors, this has now been implemented by Spark nationwide as "the Cornerstone model."
Each of these four organizations has truly inspirational programs and services, so much so that we wanted to donate resources and time to support the work they’re doing to make an impact on pockets of our community where support is most needed. So we took it to a live vote and let our Cornerstars decide how we would donate— giving each of our Cornerstars $50 to split between these organizations however they desired, for a total donation of $50,000—not including the donations that several employees committed of their time and money to give back to each of these organizations.
This year’s community event was a welcomed reminder to continue to be active participants in helping others for good, both in our backyard and around the globe. I’m reminded again of one of John Prendergast’s simple encouragements: "Any human being, with all their faults and warts, can make a difference in another person’s life. Take a risk, and make a commitment." Challenge accepted.
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