“Silence and invisibility go hand in hand with powerlessness.” Audre Lorde
Leading the Charge for Corporate Social Responsibility
Jeff Rangel believes that great things happen when passion and purpose align.
Merging the two to help make the world a safer, better place is one of the key drivers of his work as Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Palo Alto Networks.
Rangel is leading the company’s push to boost its environmental, social impact and governance efforts by engaging employees and helping them understand why they are a crucial part of the mission.
Since coming to Palo Alto in 2018 — and watching its workforce grow from 5,000 to 10,000 people — Rangel has not only leveraged the company’s vast employee base and its ability to work as a cohesive team, he’s also been able to take advantage of the parallels between its dedication to keeping cyberspace secure and its passion for social responsibility.
“Our leadership understands there is an intersection between our business mission and corporate responsibility goals,” said Rangel, who holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. “Our employees also appreciate it and want us to do this work.”
That work ranges from cybersecurity education initiatives to environmental stewardship, with events and programs that are also aimed at educating and involving the communities where Palo Alto team members live and work.
“Our mission is to protect our digital way of life and our vision is of a more secure world,” he said. “Those are higher purpose ambitions, and we can directly connect the social and environmental work we’re doing with that, because if you don’t protect the planet, you can’t have a world that is safe and secure.”
Rangel’s own journey to the forefront of CSR began from a traditional role in human resources and has grown over the past 20 years. What started with a basic desire to be part of “something bigger than myself” has grown into a career and a calling.
“In the past, most HR roles were like being a hall monitor or the policy police,” he said. “But I knew there was a way to tell stories that had a purpose, and I wanted to address that higher purpose with leaders, stakeholders and employees. At Palo Alto Networks, we’re not policy police, we’re disruptors and collaborators.”
Rangel is doing just that with his colleagues in Palo Alto Networks..
“A CR practitioner’s dream is being able to connect their business mission to their CSR mission,” he said. “It comes down to tying together the messages of respecting our planet, uplifting our communities and advancing our industry as core to our success.”
The CSR and social impact campaigns Rangel oversees at Palo Alto are aligned closely with the company’s pillars and directly connect to its vital cybersecurity work. But it goes beyond that.
“It’s not just what we produce as a company, but how we produce it and how we behave,” he said.
That view helps form the foundation for additional CSR programs that focus on other crucial issues, such as the environment, and showcase how employees can make a bigger CSR impact wherever they live.
“From that standpoint, we can all work together to reduce our carbon footprints,” Rangel said. “We can do a lot individually and also as a business as we look at our climate commitments and using renewable energy to reduce our emissions.”
The wide range of areas encompassed by CSR and ESG are vital to any thriving business today, and it’s important that companies are engaged from the top down – as Palo Alto Networks is and will continue to be going forward.
“It is a cliché, but it does take a village,” Rangel said. “It requires all of us somehow to lean in and for all 10,000 of us to be engaged in the effort.”
The payoff for leaning in is immense and runs the gamut from social responsibility to business success.
“Our efforts are part of our business objectives,” said Rangel. “We want to be the best company ever, and the best companies operate with integrity. The best companies care about others.”
This is the first in a series of articles that profile the people and the missions behind the CSR and ESG initiatives at Palo Alto Networks. Want to know more about how you can help Palo Alto Networks grow its social responsibility and environmental impact? Check out https://www.paloaltonetworks.com/about-us/corporate-responsibility