A RAPIDLY-GROWING international financial services company who have a base in Marbella is on a mission to promote corporate social responsibility as it expands its operations.
The Woodbrook Group, led by its Irish CEO Michael Doherty, has offices in nine countries across Europe and Asia, and is on the cusp of further significant growth as it looks to extend its influence into Latin America and the Middle East.
Woodbrook is domiciled in Cyprus and is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
Aside from advocating the highest standards in corporate governance, Woodbrook also strongly believes in giving back to the communities where the company is based.
In Cyprus, it plays a lead supporting role to Charisma, an innovative charity that provides artistic services to ‘charismatic individuals with special needs’. The non-profit charity, established in 2016, enables children and adults with special needs to develop and display their talents and give them the confidence to emerge from the shadow of social alienation.
Woodbrook provides support in three different ways: direct financial support, by playing an active role on the charity’s committee to help it achieve its goals and by promoting its work directly in their sales offices to clients, suppliers and their own employees.
This innovative mix of financial and hands-on support is an approach the company is looking to replicate by supporting charities in other territories as it expands its global operations.
Woodbrook’s CEO Michael Doherty and the company’s Group Director of Operations, Senan McGonigle, have many years’ experience working with non-profit organisations. Both men have children who are wheelchair users, and Senan was previously co-founder of the Association of Irish Powerchair Football, a sport for people with disabilities whose only ability is to use a powered wheelchair.
Senan said: “From my own personal and professional experience, giving back to the community benefits everyone, including the company. Building trust and developing strategic partnerships in the communities we operate in is essential to secure long-term sustainability, it fosters staff loyalty and helps to attract new talent while making a positive impact on society.”
Michael Doherty added: “Almost all of us like to help others, but in our work and daily lives we are not presented with the opportunity to do this. Through our relationship with Charisma we let our clients and staff know about the charity and the extremely valuable work that it does, and how they might be able to help if so inclined.”
The Woodbrook CEO said the company’s approach to corporate social responsibility directly correlates with its ethos to help its clients improve their own living standards.
He added: “A common theme with our clients is planning for the future of their children, usually by saving for future education fees. Obviously this works if your children have the mental ability to go to college. But what if your child is disabled – mental or physical or both? How do you help them in the future?”
One of the goals of Charisma is to develop assisted living units with a support centre to allow people with disability to live independently from their families, albeit with the necessary support. Where this is not fully possible, the centres allow much-needed respite breaks for families of those with disabilities to have some time to spend together.
Aside from its work with wheelchair users, Woodbrook also actively promotes environmental awareness in its offices around the world and with its suppliers. The company also privately supports and encourages staff in their own charitable activities.
Woodbrook is keen to promote the benefits of corporate social responsibility and is encouraged to see more companies embrace the idea of giving back to their local communities.
Michael Doherty said: “Charity work is individual and personal. Our own ethos is influenced, of course, partly by my own and Senan’s personal experiences, but all our staff have shown the same willingness to help whenever they’ve been made aware of opportunities. We’re not doing this to be better that others – it’s a corporate ethos, but very much grounded in the goodness of people. Just give them an opportunity.”