Comcast is committed to giving back to the communities we serve, and our employees can always be counted on to lend a helping hand during corporate-sponsored volunteer events. For many, though, that’s only a part of how they make a difference.
Christian Russell, Manager of Comcast Experience in our Berlin, CT office, is one of those employees who not only gets actively involved in leading and participating in Comcast community initiatives, but who also lives this practice during his time outside of work. We spoke to Christian to share more about his passion for community service.
Q. What do you do here at Comcast and how long have you been with the company?
A. I’m the Manager of Customer Experience for Comcast’s Western New England region. We’re actively listening and continually working on what matters most to our customers. In my role, I’m responsible for coordinating our region’s efforts to improve our tools, technology, and processes as we continue to enhance the customer experience. In April, I’ll have been with Comcast for 11 years, having previously held roles on our sales and coaching teams.
Q. Tell us about the Black Employee Network (BEN) and how you got involved.
A. BEN is an employee resource group that focuses on providing all employees, particularly people of color, a platform to enhance their professional careers and develop relationships. I joined and immediately volunteered to support the group’s activities last year and currently serve as the lead for Communications, Events, and Community Service. I believe strongly in our chapter’s vision statement, especially in the premise that “Our members will be a strong and positive representation of all professionals, particularly those of color, both here at Comcast and within the communities we serve.”
Q. What has BEN done to support the community?
A. Celebrated each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. In observance of this year’s holiday, a number of our members and I volunteered at Wexler-Grant Community School in New Haven during their annual service event where they provide information on services available to area residents. To help bridge the digital divide we provided information about Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, a broadband adoption program for low-income households, and we assisted several people with submitting their applications for the program online. It was great to see the excitement of those we helped and, especially, the lucky recipient of a Dell Chromebook that we donated for the organization’s raffle.
Q. What other volunteering are you currently doing/have you done?
A. In my time with the company, I’ve volunteered as a mentor for the Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters Beyond School Walls program, a work-based mentorship program with New Britain elementary school students that matches 3rd and 4th graders with Comcast volunteers. I’ve also been a regular participant in Comcast Cares Day, our company’s national day of volunteerism, where employees join with their families, friends and community partners to beautify sites in our service area. In 2016, I served as a site leader at a project at Lincoln-Bassett Community School in New Haven, Connecticut where we hosted over 400 volunteers who painted, landscaped, cleaned and organized at the school.
Outside of Comcast, I’m a member of both a Masonic Lodge and Shrine Temple, whose lineage is traced to the founding of the Prince Hall Masonic Order in Boston, MA in 1784. Prince Hall Freemasonry is the oldest and largest predominantly African-American fraternity in the nation. Our fraternal, social, and charitable organizations are responsible for the unselfish giving of goods and services on both the local and national level. Each year, we provide scholarships to local students and engage in numerous local volunteer activities. On a national scale, recipients of our charitable giving also include the NAACP, the Legal Defense Fund, the Urban League, and United Negro College Fund, along with annual grants to several hospitals throughout the United States for medical and other research projects. We also award substantial grants to colleges annually to supplement the education of economically deprived youth, along with programs of financial aid to fight drugs, crime and delinquency.