The Importance of Giving back to the Community as an Entrepreneur

The following article features Zeeshan Hayat, an award-winning healthcare entrepreneur (BIV’s Forty Under 40 Award 2014, BIV’s BC CEO Awards 2018, and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® Awards Finalist 2016/2018) and his perspective on the importance of giving back to the community.

“As the school year ends for my three kids, I’ve taken some time to think about community: what it means to my children, as young people striving to make a meaningful difference in the ways they are able; what it means to my incredible team, who have done such a great job of building community right in our own office; and what it means to me, as entrepreneurs.

Like many of you, this last year has been just as busy as the ones before it. The business continues to grow, new brands are being developed, and my kids are getting older (by the second, it often feels like!). Yet among all of this, the idea of doing good for our community – my community – has endured.

At Prizm Media, our efforts to give back are focused on a few areas: homelessness, addiction, and mental health. As someone working in the healthcare space, I get to see every day the impact that the right medical product or service can have on someone’s quality of life, to give them that lift they need to keep fighting their battle. By supporting causes that benefit those going through an incredibly difficult struggle, I hope that we are able to provide that same “lift”.

My co-founder also likes to remind me of the importance of making sure future generations feel both capable and empowered to start their own businesses – not unlike we did almost two decades ago.

 

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Doing good is good – and everyone knows that. But why? Let me tell you what I think:

It Helps Others

At it’s most fundamental level – giving back helps people. There are so many incredible causes out there – whether it is health, children, arts, environment, or animals – and supporting any of them do something special to help someone else. It’s an indescribable feeling to know you’ve made a difference in the life of someone who needed it.

It’s how we ensure that we remain united as a community, and that we are building a society that we are proud to hand off to our children. It’s also a way for us to step up.

It’s important, and it helps people.

It Sets An Example

As a business owner and a parent, I’m more and more conscious of the way I am communicating: am I helping people feel empowered? Am I positioning myself to be accessible for questions or feedback? Am I making enough time to just be present? There’s no easy answers – and I think that most parents or manager would agree.

One area I do feel strongly about is that giving back – and doing good – is one of the best ways I’m able to set a good example for my employees. Nothing is more motivating than to see my team come together to make a difference for others, and to see their own passion for giving back start to develop. It’s the best feeling to see them brainstorm ways to grow your company’s philanthropy and put those pieces into action. For our team, it’s been a really special way for our team to connect together, and I would recommend it to any business owner looking for a team building opportunity.

I feel that because my team understands why these causes are important to me, they also understand me better as a leader. As a result, I am able to manage more effectively and there is a deeper level of respect throughout our culture as a whole.

As a father, I am always proud to see the ways in which my children have given back to their own community – be it their school, their sports team, or their neighbourhood. It would be the greatest honour to know that that behaviour was, in some small part, influenced by the ways in which we as a family have decided to do good for our community.

Which brings me to my last point…

Good Creates More Good

I recognize that the team I have today may very well not be the team that I have forever. I also recognize that my kids are (despite my best efforts) going to grow up and forge their own paths. For my staff, I hope that they take away the importance of giving back – especially giving back through your workplace – into their future roles, and help cultivate an environment of caring wherever they go.

For my kids, I hope they remember the following simple lesson: Doing good is good. It helps people. It sets an example. Good creates more good.”