Q&A with Mallory Zickfeld, SVCF Associate Manager, Corporate Responsibility; the first piece in a new SVCF staff spotlight series.
SVCF Associate Manager
Q: Hi Mallory! We’re excited to have you on the team! Tell us a little bit about your self! Where are you from?
A: I grew up in Los Angeles and recently moved back to the Bay Area. I love to run, cook and spend time with my niece and nephews.
Q: How long have you been at SVCF?
A: I joined Silicon Valley Community Foundation in June 2018, one month after graduating with a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California.
Q: Why did you want to work in corporate responsibility?
A: I chose corporate social responsibility as a career because of the positive impacts that corporations can have locally and globally. While earning my MSW, I studied challenges facing society both within the United States and internationally and learned how corporations can work with nonprofits to make a lasting positive impact on our world, beyond the products they sell.
Q: What stood out to you about SVCF specifically?
A: I was interested in working at SVCF because the organization has powerful effects on communities through its donor advised funds, its strategic grantmaking, and its ability to engage some of the world’s most influential corporations in creating lasting change. As a social worker who is passionate about positive change, working at SVCF is proving to be a perfect fit for me.
Q: What was the interview process like?
A: During the interview process and when I began working at SVCF, the foundation was in the midst of an internal crisis that was heavily covered by media and ultimately led to the departure of three senior executives. I was aware of the organization’s poor Glassdoor ratings and criticism aimed both at its business model and its workplace culture. Despite these criticisms, I decided that SVCF was a place I wanted to work based on two factors: the organization’s impressive work in the social sector and the dedication of SVCF employees. The people I interviewed with, like Rebecca Nalder, Director of Corporate Responsibility, are extremely passionate about their work and about having a positive impact in the community, and that was apparent to me throughout the interview process.
Q: Once you were offered the job and accepted, how were the first few months?
A: During my first months at SVCF, I’ve seen firsthand that employees remain passionate about their work, the organization continues to have meaningful community impact, and the foundation is committed to improving its culture. Although the organization was forced to critically re-examine its priorities, I believe it will be stronger because of this experience.
Q: What have you learned so far on the job?
A: During my first few months at the community foundation, some of my favorite client work has focused on maximizing social impact by fostering volunteerism and reinforcing community development globally. One example is a recent project with a Bay Area technology company where SVCF helped organize a volunteer day of service for 60,000 employees nationally and internationally. The goal of this project was to inspire employees to take part in service work as well as give back to the local communities where the company is located. Since the volunteer day was largely employee led, it was exciting to see employees take the tools that were given to them and lead their coworkers in a service project.
Q: How has SVCF been working to address some of the challenges you mentioned earlier?
A: SVCF has created an internal Culture Task Force-- a group of employees from all levels and departments within the organization -- that is working to address the issues that came to light in recent months. Their work includes reviewing organizational policies, reevaluating our core values, and creating a more inclusive work environment. Staff members were also empowered to voice their opinions about what qualities they wanted to see in our new CEO and offer feedback before the search began.
Q: From your perspective, how does the future of SVCF look?
A: These positive changes at SVCF make it apparent to me that I made the right decision in joining the organization, and I know that I joined at the right time. I am excited to be a part of SVCF’s evolution and help shape it for the future. I am also looking forward to upcoming projects the corporate responsibility department is taking on and I’m excited to work with new and different clients and to help them grow their grantmaking and corporate responsibility programs.